When was the last time you took a hard look at your prospect list and cleaned it up? As business owners we have to be eternal optimists otherwise we would never make it through some weeks let alone some days. As part of our day, we are constantly looking for new prospects, making sales pitches, following up and essentially going through the whole sales cycle as we try to generate revenue for our businesses. Of course, this is on top of all the other hats that we are wearing.
As we go through this process we accumulate a list of the most promising prospective clients based on the buying signals we received during our meetings with the hope that they will turn into paying clients. Needless to say this list of prospects continues to grow the longer we’re in business and with it, comes a false sense of comfort. I say a false sense of comfort because we lull ourselves into believing that all these prospects will convert to customers if we stay at it long enough and continue trying to contact them. And why not, the following statistics are often referenced and state that 80% sales are made on the 5th-12th contact.
- 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 on the 5th-12th contact
Unfortunately many interpret “contact” to mean the same as “attempted to contact”, there’s a big difference! In this context “contact” means to have a two-way conversation or correspondence with the prospect and not just leaving numerous unreturned voicemail messages or unanswered emails. So if you’re not getting any response or acknowledgement from your efforts your perseverance is most likely a waste of your time.
So to avoid thinking that you have a boat load of legitimate prospects, that may, should or are going to buy, I suggest you cull the list on a monthly basis to only those that you are really having some form of dialogue. Those that don’t make the cut, go on a separate list to be contacted someday when you really don’t have anything else to do.
The downside of this activity is that you’re going to realize that you have far less in the sales hopper than you thought. The goods news is that it just may just scare you enough to rejuvenate your prospecting activities to fill up your pipeline.
Copyright © Greg Weatherdon 2011
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