There certainly is a lot banter these days about how many contacts a salesperson must make in order to secure an appointment. We all know it takes more than 2 or 3 calls, but how many does it really take and why?
- Consider the prospect. Who do you know who isn’t crazy busy or focused on a project within their company that makes you the last thing on their mind right now? One contact is useless.
- When you make the second contact in a short period of time, it feels like you are beginning to be a pest, right? But the reality is most people won’t have even noticed yet.
- OK, so now you are calling for the third time. Doesn’t THAT feel a little weird? What do you say at this point? How creative can you be at making your message sound different than the last two calls you made in the past week? Here’s an idea: approach from another angle. Why not send an email with your Valid Business Reason for the appointment? You did craft one for this prospect, didn’t you? I mean, you did enough research on this prospect to know they should move you up on their priority list, right?
- Contact number four (and most salespeople have given up before this). Just give you someone else to call, right? This is wearing you out! Guess what? The prospect is now just beginning to note who you are. What seems frustrating to you is likely to be a bit of progress, so don’t give up! You have reached out on LinkedIn by now and asked them to be part of their network or asked a connection of yours to introduce you, right?
- A fifth call? Yuck. Wait, why not send along something of value to the prospect, like some research about trends in their business category, or some observations you made about their business from their website or business social media postings, or some evidence of how you have solved business problems for other clients.
- What? Still no appointment? Write a note and put in the mail. Yes, you know the US Mail. Remember those blue boxes? They still exist, and very few people send hand-written notes these days.
- Do you have to call again? Yes. Be fresh in your approach, but repeat the Valid Business Reason that would make them want to see you sooner rather than later, and tell them why you feel so strongly about how you can help their business in particular. That is why you are persisting at this level.
- Wow. Seven contacts? Research shows that the majority of appointments are set after five or six contacts but that the majority of salespeople give up after two. We have run a unit of our business that sets appointments for clients, and after breaking though to get an appointment after five, six, or seven contacts what we hear most often is “Thank you for being so persistent. I have been swamped lately!”
How many contacts will you make?