When do you quit contacting your prospect?
It has often been said that the difference between success and failure is often found in how far you are willing to go. Most often the most successful sales people are not the brightest, fastest or most polished. Most often they are simply those individuals who keep going after everyone else has decided to quit.
Sometimes it is not easy to know when to quit. It is easy to assume that since a prospect has not returned your call or has reached out to you as promised that they may not be interested in your offers. Research dictates that this may not be the case. In fact, when surveyed a group of prospects that were difficult to reach and meet with, but later purchased, identified the following 5 reasons for the break in contact:
1. Just got busy and forgot
2. Overloaded with other information and forgot
3. Lost information to continue the contact
4. Didn’t recognize the need at the time
5. Wanted to compare a few options before making a commitment and needed time
Of the above reasons I found it interesting to note that not one of the responses stated they were not interested or prepared to purchase the solution presented to them.
It is easy to get lost among all of the things a person is responsible for from day to day. Generally the reason a prospect may have lost contact is not because they aren’t interested – it’s because life gets us busy. When a sales person neglects to follow up they are losing money and sales that could have been theirs.
The following research reveals some interesting opportunities on contacting prospects that could give you an advantage:
48% of sales people never follow up with a prospect
25% of sales people make a second contact and stop
12% of sales people only make three contacts and stop
Only 10% of Sales people make more than three contacts
2% of sales are made on the first contact
3% of sales are made on the second contact
5% of sales are made on the third contact
10% of sales are on the fourth contact
80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact
While you are planning your week and interacting with prospects make a plan on how many future contacts you will have with them. Be sure to make this plan specific and clear as to when you will reach out to them and how. This isn’t necessarily a plan you need to share with the prospect, but sometimes it is a good idea to ask permission to touch base with them in the near future. Even when they seem disinterested it is worth scheduling or considering future visits. Most prospects won’t turn away the opportunity for updates, information or tools regarding your products or services that might be useful for them.
In my personal experience I have found that regular contact is a strong way to establish yourself as a credible expert and trusted resource. When the prospect is ready to make a decision or to purchase they will think of those who they feel are the trusted experts in what they’re looking for first.
HINT from The Sales Trainer: Regular contact doesn’t always mean that you have to pitch, present or sell. It should be about adding value and may be followed up by a call to action. I find most effectively the call to action should be something that allows the prospect to experience value in your product, service or information firsthand.
Challenge: I challenge you to take a look at the prospects that are currently in your sales funnel and begin to map out how and when you will contact them. Make a plan to contact them at least 6 times before letting them slip off your ‘hot prospect’ list. Remember in the table above 80% of sales are made between the 5th and 12th contact.
INTERESTING THOUGHT: I have often asked sales people to share with me the list of the current prospects they are working with and then ask them how many contacts they have had with each individual. You’d be surprised how many people do not know how many specific contacts they have had with their prospects. If you get some clarity and then systematize your contacting you will begin to see more predictable results in your selling activities.