Follow Up or Fail, part 1

  • 2% of new business sales are made on the 1st contact
  • 3% of new business sales are made on the 2nd contact
  • 5% of new business sales are made on the 3rd contact
  • 10% of new business sales are made on the 4th contact
  • 80% of new business sales are made on or after the 5th  contact

I’m sure some of these salespeople actually suck, but in my 15 years of B-to-B sales experience, these numbers hold up for even the few good salespeople that are out there.  The main reason the B-to-B sales cycle takes so long is that trust takes time.

Business to business sales process is very different from a consumer walking into a Best Buy or a car dealership.  In both of these cases, they the prospective customer:

  1. Make the first move
  2. They interested in buying something
  3. They are typically buying a specific product, Samsung TV is a Samsung TV, a Nissan Altima is a Nissan Altima, the salesperson and the store are almost irrelevant.

Another key difference is that in B-to-B sales the purchaser is often spending someone else’s money.  We all dream of saying “its not my money”, but studies show that most people actually find spending other people’s money more stressful and are very concerned with the possibility of making a mistake.

So 80% of sales happen on or after the 5th call

However, and it is a big however:

  • 46% of reps give up after 1st attempt
  • 22% give up after 2nd attempt
  • 19% give up after 3rd attempt

This means 87% if salespeople are giving up before before 80% of customer are ready to by!

In part two of Follow Up or Fail, we’ll explore the why’s and dive into some specific strategies for building trust.


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