My last blog in August 2015 titled “Predictive Analytics and Sales” talked about defining who is most likely to buy before you start the marketing and sales process. Once complete, the next step is the actual search for prospects that you need to convert to customers.

It is well known that it takes anywhere from 7-14 sales touches to get an appointment, not to be confused with a “sale”.  A touch can be a call, email, direct mail, social media message or a conversation at an event.  A study conducted by Microsoft “shows that by the fourth touch, a full 89% of sales people have given up”.  A touch should also have a different message each time.  Leaving the same voicemail or sending the same email, while a touch, is not portraying any additional information to get the prospect interested in giving you an appointment.  A seldom used touch but one that is very effective is doing research on the prospect and sending them an article that pertains to their personal interests.

On average, only two percent of cold calls result in an appointment.  It takes approximately eight attempts to actually reach a prospect, and while voicemail counts as a touch it does not count as a reach.   It is important to make prior contact with the prospect, most commonly through email or social media before making a call. It is much easier to convert the call into an appointment if you have given the prospect information to refer to prior to the call.

In today’s marketplace, social media, when used correctly, can be an effective touch point.  You are 70 percent more likely to get an appointment with someone on an “unexpected sales call” if you are in a common LinkedIn group than if you aren’t.  If you are going to use social media platforms such as LinkedIn you should keep all content professional including your picture.  This means business attire with a business-type background as opposed to holding a drink at a picnic.

Sales is no easier or harder than any other job.  It all comes down to preparation, determination and constant touches.