I was asked this recently and had to think about it for a bit. There are plenty of things I wish I knew then based on what I know now, but I think the one that would have had the greatest impact and accelerated my growth the most would be A/B split testing. When I was 22 years old the only thing I knew or thought I could control was my effort. So, I just decided I would work harder than everyone else, make more phone calls, go on more meetings, attend more events and I did. My whole approach was activity based. I knew my equation cold. I needed to make 400 dials a week to get 8 meetings a month that generated 4 proposals that drove 2 pieces of closed business at an average deal size of $3500/month. It was exhausting but I had the drive and the energy to do it so I really didn’t think much about it. The problem was that even though I was working really hard, I wasn’t working very smart at all.

People always say work smart, not hard. I disagree. I think you need to do both. As I look back, if I had implemented A/B split testing into what I was doing I would have been able to do both. I was putting in the activity but not really learning much. The 400 dials I was making were with one generic elevator pitch that I “perfected” and just said over and over to as many people I could until I pretty much tripped over an opportunity. I still remember that elevator pitch today and could say it in my sleep. Knowing what I know now, I still would have made those 400 dials but instead of making them with one pitch, I would have come up with four different approaches/pitches and made 100 calls with each to find out which one yielded a higher conversion ratio. Four hundred dials a week, generating 8 meetings a month is a .5% conversion ratio. Think about it, if I had found one approach that yielded just a 1% conversion ratio instead of making 400 dials a week I could have made 200 a week and either gone home earlier or kept it at 400 and made it rain! (I’d recommend the latter).

A/B Split testing can be applied across the board with everything we do in sales. Another example would be dealing with gatekeepers. I don’t know the best way to deal with gatekeepers for anyone other than myself. My approach probably won’t work for a lot of people but by split testing different approaches you can figure out what works best for your. You can test this out immediately. Tomorrow morning, every time you speak with a gatekeeper be super nice to them, I mean overly nice. When they ask you who you’re calling for say “I’m calling for you. I just wanted to say hi and brighten up your day.” Then in the afternoon be super direct. When they ask who’s calling say “John! Put me through!” when they ask where are you calling from say “Boston! Put me through!” I’m not saying one of those approaches is better than another but what I am saying is that by split testing them you’ll figure out what works best for you.

Objection handling is another application for A/B Split testing. If I asked most reps to write down their top 5 objections most of them could. There are about 4 main objection handling techniques (feel, felt, found; reprioritization; clarification; justification). Write down an objection you get on a regular basis and come up with 2 different approaches on how to deal with it. The next ten times that objection comes up try the first approach, the following ten times use the other approach and see which one works better.

If we take a split test mentality to everything we do in sales, we will not only figure things out a lot faster but we will also make things a lot more interesting and tolerable. Think about it, if you make 50 dials in a day and get zero meetings, that’s a bad day right? Yup, I agree. But, if you make 50 dials in a day and make 25 dials with one approach and 25 dials with another and still get zero meetings that actually not a bad day in my opinion. You just figured out two approaches that don’t work. Tomorrow you can come in and try two more. Eventually you’ll figure out something that works.