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‘It’s a numbers game.’

‘It’s a numbers game, or a value game"?



When scaling a business or taking it through growth, I’m sure we can all think of times when we have sat around a table discussing the subject and one person pipes up and says – “It’s not difficult, just sell more – it’s a numbers game!!”


Thinking back to sales roles, the target was always concentrated on selling more. Why, then, are so many businesses still having to close their doors?


So… is it a numbers game? Or is it a value game?


If it WAS really a numbers game then the bigger army would always win, right? Giant corporations would never topple. And yet smaller armies regularly upset the odds, and giant companies disappear or fail to stay giant. Remember Kodak? Once upon a time they had the numbers – BIG numbers.


And if It IS a numbers game – why turn up? Surely the sports team with the biggest budget always wins? Headcount wins? But time and again they don’t. So it seems that ‘It’s a numbers game’ is like blowing on two dice and rolling them… and an Oxford MBA and a high school dropout can roll dice to equal effect. The last financial crisis was a great example of a number’s game. After short term gain, look how that ended up.

A number’s game is a shrug, a lack of strategy, a giveaway of responsibility to fate. And who wants that? Win or lose, who wants that?


When you play a value game… right from the start you’re looking to give something. Right from the start you’re helping the world to turn, by giving before you get. You play the game with an eye on being better at the game itself.


Like Michel Sablon. Michel Who?


Michel Sablon is the soccer coach who stopped Belgian youngsters from concentrating on winning at all costs, and instead overhauled the system to ensure they concentrated on being better players at the game itself. This involved, for a while, many beatings from other teams whilst the players steadily got better. With a clear remit they were never losers whilst on their journey, they were giving away short-term for mid-term. Now the world is littered with top class Belgian players, with many more coming through.


So to put it another way, in a simplistic example. Say you use the ‘numbers game’ and contact 20 potential clients furiously looking at the bottom line, on-boarding as many of those 20 clients as possible, maximising what’s there and then clinging to those clients regardless of how strong or not the actual relationship is. What’s wrong with that? Nothing. Nothing at all if you want that existence. This example would be the youth soccer team playing to win at all costs. And they’ll win games. Up to a certain level, when they’ll bottom out.


In a value game, again simplistically… if you contact the same 20 with an eye on VALUE, you will have ascertained where the value is as you will have measured and reported on who and what your ideal client looks like, the demographics, the psychographics, their geography, their likes and dislikes, leads to better engagement, better relationships, better imbedding, better everything. First of all, more of those 20 clients WILL NOT be in alignment with your vision or mission. I’m saying clearly here that you’ll lose games. A lot. Hopefully small. But when value kicks in, momentum kicks in too, and resonance, and then you win well. Maybe not big, but well. And if you keep it up you WILL eventually win big. And momentum keeps coming along for the ride. And you won’t bottom out.

Because here’s the thing – the bottom line numbers are just markers of the journey. They’re an end product. Why concentrate on them when you could concentrate on the thing that improves them? Numbers are simply an end result of doing every task to poor/acceptable/excellent effect – or to a numbers game/value game effect.

Both of the approaches outlined above take time, by the way, so the second way isn’t as big a giveaway as might be feared. The first probably gives ‘survival wins’ a little quicker – and not always – but the first doesn’t create momentum. It’s too busy looking for the next ‘survival win’.


Opt for the value game. Get better, do small things really well, give before you get. Win or lose you help the world to turn and somebody somewhere wins. Live by themes and not goals (still have goals, but the themes will get you there). Play the game that makes you dig deep inside and simply be better at it.


Play a Value Game...helps to cut the path to success

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