The #1 Thing I Would Tell My 22-Year-Old Self

March 21, 2018 John Barrows

A little while ago someone asked me – if there was one thing I could go back and tell your 22-year old self what would it be? The first thing that came to mind was to bet the farm on the 2004 Red Sox when they were down 0-3 to the Yankees in the ALCS. The second thing was to A/B split test everything you do.

I’ve written and spoken a lot about how we need to become more scientific with our approach to selling to learn, succeed and survive in sales. I believe this more every day as sales continues to evolve and technology continues to improve. Split testing different approaches allows us as sales professionals to figure out what works and continue to improve along the way. Here are some examples of how we can apply split testing to our day-to-day sales activities.


Identify a target and be as specific as possible based on certain qualification criteria (VP of Sales in the SaaS industry who use Salesforce). Run a list that has approximately 100 target contacts that fit that profile and includes phone and e-mail addresses. Develop two different value props/messages that focus on their priorities. Put those value props into two different e-mail or phone structures/templates/scripts. Send e-mails or make calls to 50 targets using one approach, then send e-mails or make calls to the other 50 with the other message and see which one yields a higher response rate. Pick a new segment of your target audience every day/week to do this with.

Getting through gatekeepers

In the morning, every time you get a gatekeeper on the phone, be super nice to them and try to make their day brighter. In the afternoon, be very direct and skip all the niceties. See which one yields a better response.

Objection handling

Write down the objection you get on a regular basis. Develop 2 different approaches on how to handle it. (Here are some examples of different objection handling techniques to use). The next 10 times the objection comes up, use one approach. For the next 10 times use another approach. Compare the results and see which one yields a better response. Once you’ve found an approach that works for that objection, write down the next most frequent objection you get and do the same thing.

By split testing everything you do you can objectively learn what works and what doesn’t and make measurable improvements on a daily basis.

Make It Happen!

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