OK, so I’ve got your attention with a big claim, but already you are thinking, “this is a sales pitch and he’s trying to increase his conversions by 1 sale” Well, no it isn’t and no I’m not. The truth is that, as an accountant and a small business owner, the numbers here fascinated me, so I thought I’d share them with you. But before you reach for the calculator to verify my claim, let me take you through some of the theory.
The first impression rarely works!
While it probably is true that people form first impressions in seconds and that those early opinions can have a profound effect on the entire relationship after that – people rarely buy the ‘first time’. In fact, research has shown that in B2B (business to business) scenarios, 73% of buyers reject salespeople five times before they say ‘yes’. The same research revealed that 92% of salespeople give up before the 5th attempt. Each time they give up, they start a new cycle: in effect, looking for the 27% of the population who say ‘yes’ earlier.
The conclusion is that 8% of the nation’s most persistent salespeople have got 73% of the buyers all to themselves.
With those basic statistics in mind, let me prove my bold 3109% claim. If maths isn’t your thing then skip to the bottom and I’ll share a few persistence secrets. If it is, go and grab your calculator now.
The numbers really do add up…
Let’s assume there are 100 sales people and 100 customers (based on the numbers above):
- The 8 most persistent sales people share 73 customers between them. That means they get 9.125 customers each.
- The 92 impatient sales people share just 27 customers between them. That means they get 0.2934782 customers each.
- The percentages work out like this (9.125 divided by 0.2934782 times 100 equals 3109%)
- In real terms that equates to just over 31 new customers won by the persistent salesperson for every 1 that the impatient one win.
Persistence plus smart thinking always wins!
As with anything else in life it is no good just being a hard-nosed, obstinate and immovable object – you need to add some finesse and smart thinking to your persistence. Here are my top tips for making your hard work, as a salesperson, pay off:
- Expect that you are likely to get several ‘no’ responses first. That way you’ll never be too disappointed.
- Never leave a sales meeting without agreeing on the follow-up actions or next steps.
- Don’t be afraid to ask ‘why not?’ and ‘what if?’ ready for the next time.
- Be polite at all times and remember that lasting impressions (if not always first ones) do make a difference.
- Listen to what your customer (currently a prospect) is saying, ready for the next time!
- Most importantly, do what you say you are going to do. Actions speak volumes!
I realise that numbers like these (3109%) do not always translate to the real world, but I’ll tell you what I do know for certain. Even if I had the chance of selling to twice as many customers as my competitors I would dig in a little and be more persistent.