Closing More Sales, In Less Time, With Less Effort
How long does it take to close a sale? How many times do you have to call on someone before they buy? How persistent do you have to be? When should you move on? I don’t know the answers to these questions, because every sales situation is different.
But with better telephone techniques you can certainly do a better job of separating buyers from non-buyers, and by discovering a customer’s problem you can shorten the time it takes to close the sale.
I started thinking about this subject because of an article that was forwarded to me by John, an avid reader of my newsletter.
Here is how the article started:
“A study done by the Association of Sales Executives revealed that 81% of all sales happen on or after the fifth contact…”
I know that most salespeople waste a lot of their time chasing prospects that never buy, so I wanted to learn more about this study.
These questions came to mind:
- When was the study done?
- Who was the group conducting the study?
- How was it conducted?
- How did they come to these conclusions?
- Which businesses/industries were included?
- What kind of products/services were being sold?
- Were these experienced sales people or rookies?
The logical place to go for answers was Google. Much to my surprise, I couldn’t find an “Association of Sales Executives.”
After a bit of research, I came across an article from another study of sales results. This article was attributed to statistics “compiled by the Sales & Marketing Executives Club of Los Angeles.”
“Number of calls to close a sale:
2% close on the 1st call
3% close on the 2nd call
4% close on the 3rd call
10% close on the 4th call
81% close on the 5th call”
“Notice that only 19 percent of the sales were closed by the fourth call. The majority were closed during the fifth call.
“Is five the magic number? Not necessarily, but these statistics tell us that the longer we hang in, the better our chances are of closing the sale.”
But if you type “Sales & Marketing Executives Club of Los Angeles” into Google, only two results display, one of which is the above-mentioned article. For many years I had heard statistics similar to those just mentioned, but on the face of it I don’t know if they are correct or not. (Since I haven’t been able to confirm these studies, I would appreciate hearing from you, if you know the actual source of these statistics.)
These studies aside, my question is this:
What is the salesperson doing – or saying – on the first, second, third, or tenth call?
- What questions are being asked?
- Who is the salesperson speaking with?
- Who are the decision makers?
- Who are the decision influencers?
- What is the company’s decision making process?
More importantly, what are the customer’s problems?
- Is this a problem they want to solve?
- What is the quantifiable cost of this problem? Higher costs? Lost productivity? Wasted time?
- What happens if they do nothing?
- Why is the salesperson’s solution the correct one?
- Why should the customer do business with the salesperson’s
- company instead of another supplier or vendor?
Wasting Too Much Time
Getting back to those “studies” for a moment. Why is it that most salespeople are wasting so much time? I think it has to do with bad telephone skills. If their calls are ending with:
“Thanks for calling, but we don’t need any.” or
“We’re all taken care of.” or
“My brother in-law takes care of it.”
They aren’t asking the right questions. They aren’t discovering the customer’s problems.
- If a prospect has a problem, and
- It’s a problem they want to solve, and
- You offer a reasonable solution,
Why wouldn’t they do business with you?
That’s where the telephone comes in. When you’ve mastered the art of asking great questions – and know what answers you’re looking for – you can quickly discover whether or not your prospect has a problem.
If they do, you’ll certainly schedule a meeting to discuss their situation further. If they don’t, put them away – and maybe call at a future time – and get on the phone to look for a better prospect.
Calling on the same prospect over and over again – asking “Do you want to buy any Widgets?” – isn’t simply persistence. It’s the “I’m going to call on them till they buy or they die” sales methodology.
In the end, the issue isn’t the number of sales calls it takes to close a sale, It’s the quality of the opportunities that you OPEN that will determine your success.
Use the telephone more effectively and you’ll create more opportunities, spend more time with people who want to do business with you, close more sales, and become much more successful.
More Articles from our Mentor Jeffrey Mayer will be Posted next Month..
Jeffrey Mayer my Mentor helped business owners, corporate executives and sales professionals, set their priorities, get focused, and achieve their goals, so they can grow their business, get ahead in life, and live their dreams. This article is reprinted with permission from “Jeffrey Mayer’s Succeeding In Business Newsletter. Copyright© 2003, Jeffrey Mayer. All rights reserved. Updated versions of his Sales Tools can be found at: http://www.succeedinginbusiness.com/catalog.html