(And Our Favorite Dating Analogy)
How many dates do you go on before you get married? I would be willing to bet that 97% of the time, it takes more than just a few. We asked this question in an article written in 2015. It’s interesting because now more than ever, I am confident that the strategy of multiple call attempts (or multiple “dates”) works better than ever when making prospecting calls and ultimately, closing sales (or “getting married”).
Prospecting And Dating
The art of selling is a lot like dating, courtship, and ultimately marriage. It takes patience, persistence, and respect. It takes time.
- Patience – Be ready and willing to stay in touch with a target prospect until it becomes time for them to enter into the buying process
- Persistence – Be tactful and consistent with follow-up, leave voice mail messages if your call is not answered, send emails, and make more follow-up calls, all with the intent of staying at the front of your prospect’s mind when the time comes and they are ready for a conversation
- Respect – Time, space, and money are all things that people hold closely; respecting these three things is critical for any relationship to thrive. Be present and available, make sure your prospects know your intentions, but don’t overdo it to the point you drive them away from you
Many sales experts believe three percent of sales are made on the second contact, ten percent are made on the fourth contact, and eighty percent are made on the fifth or beyond contact. Note, these numbers may not be exact, but we believe they accurately reflect typical sales behavior.
In the business-to-business prospecting campaigns that Dunlap Marketing does, it is very common for us to make at least eight call attempts* before we start feeling the early indications of list saturation. The fact is, being tactfully persistent is required if you want to speak with the people who make decisions.
*As a footnote, in this example, list saturation does not suggest you are completely finished calling on a target list of prospects after eight tries. It simply suggests that you let the list rest for a period of time, then start working it again. After you let the list rest, be smart about how you apply the “respect” content mentioned above.
Only ten percent of salespeople make more than three contacts.
Forty-eight percent of salespeople never follow up with a prospect.
Again, these numbers are believed by many respected business leaders and I believe they reflect common salespeople behaviors.
Sticking With It
In Dunlap Marketing’s B2B prospecting experience, we have learned that just because someone is not easy to connect with, does not mean they are uninterested in what we’re calling about. The game of numbers works well in our favor if we call enough records enough times over a duration of time. When we stay on plan, we will accomplish our goals without wearing out our welcome. So, how many dates should a couple go on before getting married? Two? Four? Twelve? One hundred? You tell me! As a father of three daughters, I will take the higher number of options.