Follow Up. The Real Hidden Enemy of Sales

It's clear from the data that follow-up is a major problem in sales. 


Top sales professionals outperform their low-performing counterparts by 10:1 and average salespeople by 2:1, yet 92% of sales professionals give up after just four calls. This is especially concerning when you consider that 80% of prospects say no four times before saying yes.


Furthermore, only 2% of sales happen at the first meeting, and it takes an average of eight cold calls to reach a prospect. This means that salespeople must be diligent and persistent in their follow-up efforts in order to close a sale. In fact, 50% of all sales happen after the fifth contact, but most sales reps give up after just two.


It's also important to build strong relationships with prospects in order to close more sales. Increasing customer retention by just 5% can boost profits by 25% to 90%, and 84% of buyers start their buying process from a referral. However, only 19% of customers trust salespeople, so it's crucial to listen to the needs of prospects and focus on relationship-building.


Another key factor in closing more sales is responding quickly to leads. The best time to contact a lead is within five minutes of their inquiry, and salespeople who try to reach leads within one hour are 7x more likely to have meaningful conversations. However, only 7% of salespeople respond within five minutes of a form submission.


On the prospect's side of things, buyers are bombarded with emails and often delete 48% of them within five minutes. However, targeting emails to a recipient's interests can achieve a 94% open rate, and texting after initial contact can create a 112%+ higher conversion rate.

Overall, the odds of making a sale can be challenging. The average salesperson generates just one appointment or referral from every 209 cold calls, and the average close rate for all industries is 19%. 


With these odds in mind, it's no wonder that so many salespeople give up on follow-up efforts. However, with persistence, consistent follow up and a focus on building strong relationships, sales professionals can increase their chances of success.