The Numbers Don’t Lie – They May Mislead, Though

Over the years, I’ve learned to be a number geek of sorts.  No, I wasn’t the one who loved math in high school.  In fact, I forced my way through Algebra I because it was a requirement to graduate.  In college, I believe the only reason I received a C- in Statistics is because the instructor felt pity on me and also knew a D would mean I would be back in her class.

Nevertheless, when I made the connection of numbers to money, I became a raving fan.  I have learned the art of analyzing data to find the hidden growth secrets in sales.  I’ve learned what it will take, with almost precise precision, to achieve certain sales numbers.

One of my favorites is a tool that analyzes critical rep data.  I take the raw numbers — both final outcomes as well as high value activities — and identify what a rep needs to focus on to make their financial goals happen.  When used effectively, it creates a clear roadmap that, if the rep follows it, will lead to consistent over-achievement and high income.

But I’ve also learned that the numbers can be misleading.  When you look at trends, you need to look at the short term as well as the long term trends.  While a rep may be hitting it out of the park, the most recent short term statistics may be yelling, “Look out below!”  If a rep has become addicted to their success at the expense of the ingredients that make up the success, they will be doomed for near term failure.

As managers, we can’t afford short term failures.  Yes, reps can have some up and down results, but our objective is to help guide them to make these occurences far and few between.

Be sure to inspect the numbers, but pull back the curtain.  Ask yourself, “What are the numbers hiding?”  “Are the numbers misleading me?”  Carefully monitoring yourself to make sure you don’t get sucked into glowing results rather than the ingredients, especially in the near term, is a recipe for disaster.

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