This article will focus on helping you determine how to get close to the ideal number of sales calls to close in your situation.
The ideal number of sales calls to close can be a difficult thing for a sales person to wrap their head around–so many factors go into that ‘ideal’, many specific to your product, industry, and personal style. As with any other part of the sales cycle, the pithy answer would be “as many as it takes to do it right”, but today we’re going for something a bit more helpful. We won’t focus on giving you a hard number–saying 1 or 15 with a loose justification wouldn’t help you. Instead, this article will focus on helping you determine where you stand, how many calls you’re wasting, and how to get close to the ideal number of sales calls to close in your situation.
To optimize the number of sales calls you make to close, you need as much data as you can reliably obtain. That means having your process down to a science, tracking metrics with some sort of software solution, and talking to others in your industry.
Once you have the data, you need to analyze it. The most important thing is to understand the ‘patterns’ behind different prospect types. If a prospect says this, it usually means I never close–if they have this problem, I’ll close with my second or third call. Learn to recognize the situations and you’ll learn to manipulate things to your benefit.
Most sales people aim to reduce their number of sales calls to close. It’s a natural way of thinking–efficiency with your sales calls means a better bottom line. True enough, to a point (we’ll cover the other side in a moment), so here are a few ways to cut down on the number of calls you need to close.
Talk to the decision makers. The sooner you’re in touch with the person who calls the shots, the few sales calls you’ll spend waiting to hear from someone up the chain. Of course, this also cuts into the ‘I need to talk to someone else’ stalling tactic–sure, the decision maker can always lie about needing to talk to someone else, and you’ll politely accept the fiction, but you’ll see it less often.
Get the prospect to invest early. The sooner you can get the prospect to expend money, time, or some other valuable resource on YOU and YOUR PRODUCT, the shorter the sales cycle will be and the fewer sales calls you’ll need to make.
Ask for the sale. It’s amazing how many sales people hesitate to ask a prospect to buy on their first few sales calls. If you don’t give the prospect the opportunity to buy, they can’t buy. The prospect should never, ever be waiting for YOU to let them buy.
Of course, cutting your sales calls as lean as possible doesn’t mean cutting relentlessly. There are times and situations where you want to extend the sales cycle. Here are a few things to consider before you streamline too much.
The final stage of the sales cycle is remorse–to some degree, a customer will always second-guess their purchases after the fact. The more you rush the cycle, the more likely you are to create a shallow sale that the customer regrets. Short sales cycles that eventually result in returned products, bad reviews, or simply a failure to return as a repeat customer are much worse for your bottom line than a few extra sales calls before you close.
The aggressive negotiator. Sometimes, you find yourself dealing with a prospect who wants your product, but intends to get more than you want to give them for less than you want to get. If you maintain adequate control of the sales process, this won’t be a problem, but that’s the highest level of sales–sometimes, you need to put up a barrier and slow a prospect down.
Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 11+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.