Monday, March 7, 2011

How Many Contacts Does it Take to Make a Sale?

If you handle the marketing for a small business, here's a sales tip: It takes 5.

Specifically, 80% of sales come after 5 or more contacts with prospects, according to most of what I've read and experienced in business since 1996.

So, if you contact a prospect 4 times or less, you are leaving 80% of your revenue on the table.


Now, here some numbers ...

According to Tony Rubleski:

48% of sales people never follow up with a prospect
25% of sales people make a second contact and stop
12% of sales people only make three contacts and stop
Only 10% of sales people make more than three contacts

Now here’s the case for following up with prospects:

2% of sales are made on the first contact
3% of sales are made on the second contact
5% of sales are made on the third contact
10% of sales are made on the fourth contact
80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact

Rubleski offers several excellent ideas about how to follow up, including:
Use an eletter.
One of the simplest, cost effective and smartest ways to stay in touch with customers, key prospects, and referral partners is to create and use an eletter in your marketing efforts. If it’s done consistently, you’ll have an incredibly powerful database built up that you can communicate with on a regular basis. We use ConstantContact for simplicity and cost and it has been wonderful. We shoot to get an eletter our every two-weeks and it always generates interest, business and comments each time we send it out.

Special Events.
A special client appreciation event is a very smart marketing strategy to engage, educate, update and thank top customers, referral partners and key prospects. People love to network, have fun and learn more. It’s also a great way to meet prospects in a fun, relaxed setting where your best customers are speaking highly of what you’ve done to help or improve their life.

To get you thinking and jog your creativity into action, here are a few events I’ve seen businesses use with great effectiveness:

*A local law office hosts an annual barbecue party by invitation only with hundreds of people showing up year after year

*Two mortgage brokers partner with a local nursery, send out postcards to their database for a free flower in the spring and a free pumpkin giveaway in October and have hundreds of people show up at each event

*A local financial advisor hosts a client appreciation luncheon with a guest speaker on a timely topic and fills a room with his best clients and several prospects invited as special guests

*A local restaurant has a one-week, “roll-back the menu” promotion by using 1976 prices for select dinners to celebrate their anniversary and every one of their locations is packed to the rafters with existing and new customers taking advantage of the deal
I've written before about how to follow up with prospects:
Get a good CRM like SalesForce or GoldMine. Then use it to organize your communications with prospects and clients. It can pay you back in about 2-3 days ... but only if you use it.

I have never seen this fail since 1996. Heck, I quickly doubled sales twice for my first business by doing nothing more than using GoldMine to literally mine the gold from inbound emails and phone calls.
To learn more, check out the guide I created on followup marketing.

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