Tag Archives: sales call frequency

Sales Call Frequency – How Often is Too Often?

customerservice2People often ask, “How many sales calls can we make on a prospect before going over the line?”

Here are a few guidelines…

First, consider the following facts, which we shared last year in a related article – studies show that approximately 80% of those involved in business development approach prospects two or three times and then give up.

Now, consider the importance of these National Sales Executive Association stats regarding the importance of following up:

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

Next, consider the fact that sheer “frequency” does not guarantee success. Each contact must be “value-added” in order to properly impact our target prospects. This requires research, planning and good communication (probing and listening) skills. In addition, if we make better calls (i.e., better quality), then we will accomplish more during each call and won’t need to make as many calls to each prospect!

Considering this information simultaneously, the best answer to the call frequency question is that we “cross the line” when our calls have no value for the prospect or customer.

Business Development Contact Frequency?

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Sales call frequency…?

People often ask, “How many calls can we make on a prospect before calling too frequently or crossing the line?”

Here are a few guidelines…

First, consider the following facts, which we shared last year in a related article – studies show that approximately 80% of those involved in business development approach prospects two or three times and then give up.

Now, consider the importance of these National Sales Executive Association stats regarding the importance of persistent follow-up:

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

Next, consider the fact that sheer “frequency” does not guarantee success. Each contact must be “value-added” in order to properly impact your target audience or prospects. This requires research, planning and good communication (probing and listening) skills.

When Do We Cross the Line?
Considering this information simultaneously, the best answer to the call frequency question is that we “cross the line” when our calls have no value for the prospect or customer.

Remind Me

persistence2How often must we remind our customers of the value we bring to the table?

Is a once-per-year reminder sufficient? How about twice per year? Three times?

Most people agree that, ideally, they’d like to “remind” their customers many more times each year; in fact, they say they’d like to keep a reminder of some sort in front of their customers as frequently as possible.

This leads us to a couple of critical questions:

  1. How often should we remind our customers of the value we provide?
  2. How should we do it?

How Often is too Often…?

Questions about the ideal contact frequency are among the most frequently-asked. People are often concerned about coming across as too aggressive or, even worse, alienating their customers or prospects with information overload or too many sales calls.

Yet statistics show that most orders are received only after five-or-more contacts! So, how often is too often?

Generally speaking, sales calls and marketing messages become “over-done” when they fail to provide value to the customer or prospect (see related article on persistence).

This leads nicely to our second question how will we accomplish this value-added approach? How Should We Do It?

Here are three simple and proven best-practices that can help turn each contact into a value-added contact, and that can help us maintain a sufficient frequency of value-added contacts:

  1. Master the practice of pre-call planning. The most successful sales people plan their calls very carefully, based on research and record-keeping (i.e., effective use of a CRM or contact management system). Consequently, they are able to learn a great deal about their customers or prospects during each well-planned and well-executed call, and are able to use this information to make strategic decisions about the frequency and content of future contacts. Even better, use the written pre-call plan as a post-call review tool.
     
  2. Questions are the answer! Most of us tend to plan interactions or presentations by listing our “speaking points.” In other words, the things we plan to say. When planning and executing sales contacts, it’s best to put an equal amount of focus and thought into the things we will ask.

    Asking the right questions is how we learn about our customers’ needs, interests, priorities and challenges; it is how we determine what to do and say next; it is how we solidify true selling relationships.

    As a rule-of-thumb, try to craft questions that focus on what people are trying to accomplish rather than on what they “think they need.” In addition, asking good questions helps us to enhance our ability to listen, because it’s much easier to listen if we stop talking! Good listening also sends a strong implied message to our customers: we care!

  3. Develop a proactive style. This simply means that we end each interaction with a specifically-defined consequential next step a call to action in which we take the proactive position. This helps in several ways.
    • It sets the stage for a higher contact frequency
    • It shows the customer or prospect that we care and that we value their business
    • It often makes things easier for our customer, by helping them to get things done in a timely fashion
    • It shortens the selling cycle
    • It confirms our professionalism