5 Ways to Use Numbers to Sell More

If I were to tell you that the # 1 Newspaper in America, The Wall Street Journal, first published in 1889, has a weekday circulation of 2.1million readers, what would be your conclusion? Good? Bad? Neutral?

Well it is hard to say because is out of context, right? Is it good or bad compare to what? What are we talking about? Money? Influence? Growth? What specifically?

But what if we are talking about “reach” for example?

And what if we compare the WSJ with the #1 Youtube Channel, Ray William Johnson, who started creating videos in 2008, and now has 5.6 million subscribers and more than 1.9 billion views?

Now we can start a conversation, because we created a context around the numbers.

Within a context, numbers can tell a great story, and as you may be aware, most sales and business presentations include numbers. Here are some common examples:

1.    Sales Revenues

2.    Profits

3.    ROI

4.    Savings

5.    Number of clients

6.    Market penetration

7.    Number of fans

8.    Number of likes

9.    Page views

10.  Click throughout rates

11.   Conversion rates

And the list goes on and on..

If you have been following InfluenceOlogy for sometime, you know how much we preach the use of stories in your sales presentation, marketing communication and leadership process. Even though we are storytelling advocates, we also understand that the use of numbers (market data) to any presentation is CRITICAL to it’s success. The trick is on HOW you transform these numbers into knowledge so that you and your audience can make effective decisions.

Here are some ideas for you to make the numbers you use in your next presentation relevant to your audience:

1) History: Show the history of the numbers.

‘In June 2012, 72 hours of video were uploaded to YouTube every minute (a). In March 2010, 24 hours of video (b) were uploaded every minute. Back in october 2008,  15 hours of video were uploaded every minute. As you may know, the first video ever uploaded on Youtube was in April 2005. What does that mean? It means that there is a rapidly adoption of video usage in our country and in the world”

2) Use an analogy that your audience may understand.

Example: “Every minute 72 hours of video (a) are uploaded to youtube. Is is equivalent of Hollywood releasing 362,000 movies every week, or 51,840 movie A DAY!!!

Why Sell Less When You Can Sell More? Click to Tweet

3) Tell the WHY behind the numbers.

Example: According to Comscore (c),  180,000,000 Americans watch 21.9 hours of video per month. That are several reasons why this number is so high:

  1. viewers can find and watch any video content online, anytime
  2. viewers watch a lot of videos on social media sites. For example, in June 2012  287,000,000 (c),  videos were watched on Facebook site alone
  3. The proliferation of mobile devices allow users to watch videos anywhere

4) Use within a story:

Example: I was talking to a Real Estate professional, and he told me that he is not using Video Marketing because “it is too hard to get people to watch my videos”, and he added “that is too much competition”. I told him that “there are 800,000,000 million unique (a) people on youtube alone every month watching 4 billion videos a day,  and yes, there is a lot of competition. If you don’t know how to optimize your videos or how to market your videos outside youtube, you will be in dangerous zone. Nonetheless, if you DO have a process on how to get your videos watched, it pays off handsomely”.

5) Audience participation. (when presenting live)

Example: Let’s say I am speaking to a group of 100 people. I would divide a line (does not have to be 100% perfect, it is more to make my point) where I would have 80% of the room standing up and 20% of the room sitting down. I would say something like this.
“I want every person from this row all the way to the left to stand up (they represent the 80%). The rest of you, please stay seated (they represent the 20%). According to Comscore (c), 84% of the US internet users watched online video in June 2012 (and you point to the people who are standing up). Only 16% of the US internet users (point to the people who are sitting down) have not watched online video.  This is what is happening in the marketplace today. How many of you would like to market your products and services with video to this audience  (point to the people standing up)?

6) “Which means”.

Example: When creating a presentation, always ask yourself “which means” after the number you are about to use. That quick strategy will help you make your numbers relevant to your audience.
One second of video has in average 24 frames. Which means that if you use video, your chance to connect emotionally with your audience is way higher written text and pictures. As Kevin Naltz said “If a picture is worth 1,000 words, one second of video is worth 24,000 words.”

7) Always give the source or your numbers.

To make this blog post shorter, I decided to mention the source at the end.

Youtube (a)

Youtube (b)

comscore (c)

I want to encourage you to use these ideas when presenting numbers to help your audience become more knowledgeable and make more informeddecisions.

Do you use numbers in your presentations? What is your strategy to make them relevant to your audience?

Please leave your answers here,



  1. Joe Sweeney on July 30, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Good stuff Roberto!

  2. Roberto Monaco on July 30, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    Thanks Joe. I am looking forward to our interview!

Leave a Comment