Many people in this series (and all of them this week) have shared too many gifts to list them all. That’s the case with both my parents.
While it took me a long time to catch up in understanding the many short cuts to life lessons my dad tried to give me, I’m hard-pressed now to point to one that isn’t true (although at 17, I’d have told you most were nonsense – which I guess is all part of growing up).

His lessons on generosity, focusing on what’s good for others, and approaching life with a positive attitude have shaped me profoundly.

So here’s a lesson that may seem small in comparison, but continues to provide tremendous value throughout my work life: understand and work the percentages when selling, no matter whether it’s selling a product, service, or concept.

Early on as my dad was making the transition from cutting hair in my grandfather’s barber shop to broadcasting, he sold life insurance part-time. A lesson he learned was 10:3:1, i.e. you had to make 10 calls to secure 3 appointments to close 1 sale.

If someone was willing to apply him or herself, work the equation, and stay motivated amid a 90% failure rate, they’d be successful. If they applied learnings and new techniques to improve the ratio, they could experience dramatic success. Get discouraged or shortcut the process by making too few calls, however, and they’d wind up washing out.

While the ratios may differ, the principle applies to so many facets of business and life. (Although, thank goodness I don’t have to generate 10 ideas to get 1 blog post!) Ask others or figure out the business building relationships on your own, but KNOW and apply them to make the ratios work for you in selling and persuading others to your point of view.

Thanks Dad for cluing me in early to both the life principles and the numbers behind success!

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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3 Responses to “The Tenth Day of Gifts – My Dad – The Numbers Approach to Sales”

  1. Mike Brown says:

    Here are a number of comments on this post from mikebrownspeaks.blogspot.com:

    Leslie said…
    “You are blessed (as many of us are) to have a dad who was hard working and a great teacher as well as a role model!” December 18, 2008 6:27 AM

    Brenda said…
    “I am sure there is a mutual admiration society going on with your family! You are blessed to have parents like you have and they are equally blessed to have you as their son!” December 18, 2008 6:51 AM

    Jan said…
    “I totally agree with Leslie and Brenda. And it is interesting how the blessings our parents give us come into clearer focus — with time and/or distance. Here’s to your dad and mom!” December 18, 2008 7:07 AM

    And Dad said…
    “Thanks Mike for the nice comments. Also thank God I increased on that call ratio as I got older and had more experience.

    It also helped early on that I realized that selling wasn’t taking advantage of people or businesses, but rather a method of helping them to solve a problem in their life or business.”


    December 18, 2008 11:20 AM

  2. Mike Brown says:

    BTW – The second photo is of my grandfather, Lawrence Brown, who ran the barber shop on Main Street in Hays.

    This picture was taken on our patio sometime in the early to mid 1970’s. It’s my favorite picture of him because in posed pictures, he’d never smile, even though he was such a gentle and wonderful person. His smile in this photo is what I love about it!



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