Small closes - Sales is a game of inches



Life’s a game of inches…

Is that an Al Pacino quote? Or a Vince Lombardi quote? Anyways, this will help you book more meetings and close more deals. Because sales is also a game of inches and inches make the champion.

The idea is that small efforts set us up for big success – they get us on the stage. The problem is, sales people always want to just get on the stage. Because our egos are constantly steering us there. Because egos don’t have patience and we love Hail Mary passes.

You want to know why? It’s because Hail Mary passes are exciting but inches aren’t. They’re not really eventful, they’re not fun and they’re boring.

The problem is that inches make the champion and when you start to add up all the inches. You’ll begin to really spend time on the stage. You’ll end up on stage more than you ever were before and it’s not because of Hail Marys. It’s because of inches.

I see it all the time. When sales people move too quickly from “point a” to “point b”. They lose all the learning that is uncovered from advancing from “point a” to “point b.” But over and over again, I see everyone just wanting to get to “point b”.


Firstly, it’s a great life lesson and it’s a great rule. Secondly, it applies directly to sales. More specifically, sales calls. And this is how…

An old team member of mine always used to quickly go in for the big home run “asks” – the Hail Marys. Sometimes it would work and sometimes it wouldn’t.

→ Check out my other sales tip titled – The setup and close. It’s a simple framework to help salespeople get more small wins throughout their calls.

Pretend an SDR / BDR started a cold call. On the call, they didn’t probe much and they didn’t support much and they just quickly moved to the “ask”. The ask was – “prospect a”, do you have a calendar handy (to book a demo with an Account Executive)? 

This is the problem.

If the SDR / BDR played the game of inches (small closes), instead of trying to get on stage or throwing a Hail Mary. And they moved the prospect through the call in an eloquent, pragmatic way.  If they had a real conversation and focused on the small closes throughout the cold call – the inches. If they asked the right questions at the right time and they added value throughout the call instead of just jumping right to the end with the big ask.

The SDR / BDR would have worthwhile handoff notes (this is the gold – the sauce). In addition, the prospect would feel more comfortable accepting a 2nd meeting with an Account Executive. And they would be more inclined to show up since they truly understand the value.

Please, stop throwing Hail Marys. Stop always trying to get on stage. It’s all about small closes.

Sales is a game of inches.

And as Al Pacino once said –

“Life’s a game of inches. The inches we need are all around us. And when we add up all the inches, that’s going to make the difference between winning and losing.”


“…inches make the champion.” – Vince Lombardi

Ryan's Sales Tips - Sales is a game of inches sales tip 1


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Talk soon — Ryan

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