The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

When Approaching Prospects You Probably Give Up Way Too Soon


So, what is the line between persistent and pest when it comes to securing appointments? Two calls? Three calls? Six? When have you crossed the line between getting noticed and risking arrest for stalking? Well, a national study published in the Harvard Business Review recommends at least six approaches. After six approaches is when 90% of appointments are set. So, how many salespeople make six approaches? About 4%. Yes, 4%. The majority of salespeople give up after two. To put that into perspective, making six contacts will give you a 70% increase in new appointments. Would that change your life?

So, why are so many approaches necessary? Think about your own life. Are you busy? Yes. If I am approaching you for an appointment, do you know about my company? Probably not. What do you know about me? Likely nothing, except you know I want to sell you something. What do you know about my track record in helping people like you? OK, so I have a job to do.  And, so do you. 

The numbers are very compelling but you also have to think about how to communicate your concern for indivduals as customers, the expertise you and your company bring to the table, and your problem-solving capabilities. We recommend you follow these steps: 

Day 1: Email a testimonial from a satisfied customer. Include your Valid Business Reason and the specific time you will be calling on Day 3.

Day 3: Call the prospect at the time you specified. If you get voicemail, say you have more interesting information to share that you will be sending over the next week. Send a copy of your Personal Marketing Resume (a summary of how you do business and quotes from your customers).

Day 6: Call again with an article or research you think will be interest the prospect. Send the email as soon as you hang up.

Day 7: Mail (yes, U.S. Mail!) a custom greeting card or personal letter asking the prospect to contact you.

Day 11: Email the prospect again with your Valid Business Reason and a success story. Say you will be calling the next day at a specific time.

Day 12: Call at the time you promised and leave a voicemail. Let the individual know if he or she doesn't respond soon, you will have to bring your ideas to others but would prefer to work with him or her because….

Day 16: (You’ll most likely have the appointment way before this) you could add some humor and reiterate you would not be calling unless you believed you could increase their bottom line. Suggest three times that the prospect could call you in the next few days and ask him or her to pick one. 

Does this make you feel like a pest? I bet not, but if it does, know that our clients follow this same process with success. When you do break through for an appointment, most prospects say, “Thank you for being so persistent. I have been totally immersed with another project, but I do want to talk.” 

Don’t give up too soon, and follow a process that will actually get you on the radar screen of a very busy prospect—just like you.

Sales Accelerator

Topics: Sales sales process