Whenever I am invited to speak about prospecting and lead generation I always get the same question. 'How many times should I follow up before I give up on a prospect?' It's usually followed by the statement; 'I don't want to annoy the person or seem to be pushy.' So what’s the answer? How many times should salespeople follow up before they give up?
How Many Times Should Salespeople Follow Up?
The answer to this question is quite simple. If it's a new prospect you should follow up until you either get a 'yes, I'm interested in doing business with you” or “no, I don't want to do business to you.' Remember, a no may just mean a 'no' at this particular time. In the future they may be in a different situation and open to your products or services.
A Follow Up Example
I once coached a salesperson whom I will call Paul. He decided he wanted to connect with a very well know multi-national retailer in hopes they would carry his product. He called the company 4 times and did not get anywhere. The point to remember is he was not able to find the person who could make a yes or no decision as to whether the retailer could sell his product. He spoke to 4 people that told him they were not the right person to connect with. But no one said, 'Go away'.
It quickly became a challenge for Paul. He continued to call a different person or department at the retailer. And he continued to find out who could not make a decision about the products he had to offer. Four calls soon became 10 calls, then 20, 30 and 40. Finally at 43 phone calls to the company he found the right person. And as it turned out, they were very interested in his products. After a few meetings and a presentation to the right person, he had a signed deal. The first order was valued at over $200,000.
Persistence Pays Off
Paul's persistence turned constant rejection, from people who did not have the authority to make a business decision into an initial order. In fact, his persistance helped his company land their biggest single account.
Should Paul have given up after 2-3 phone calls? Most other sales people would have abandoned the prospecting long before it got to 10 calls little own 43 calls. Paul believed in his product and the value it would provide to the retail chain.
Email Template to Start Stalled Prospects
The Statistics Show How Many Times Salespeople Should Follow Up
According to studies 50% of salespeople give up after the first call. In fact I'm willing to bet in many cases that's a very low estimate. And less than 5% of sales people make it beyond 5 attempts to connect with a prospect. Yet sales statistics studies show that it can take over 10 contact attempts before you will get any a success.
Every day I get calls from salespeople. Sometime they leave a voice mail, but 99% of the time they never follow up past that first contact. What a waste of their time.
If you have a viable business reason for contacting a prospect then you should keep calling. Make it your mandate to continue your follow up until you are either told they are not interested or they become a customer.
'Success doesn't come to you; you go to it.' ― T. Scott McLeod
For more propsecting ideas, download my free eBook, Attract New B2B Customers Fast and Effectively Using Outbound Lead Generation. It’s available for free from the B2B Sales Connections Free Download Centre.
“When you lead a struggling sales division from the brink of closing to over $7.4 million dollars in annual sales you can be confident, Robert knows how to engage customers and build sales.”