Why It Takes 5 Additional Sales Follow Ups To Close 80% Of Deals

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

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Sit back and just imagine for a moment just how easier your role as a salesperson would be if you could sell every time on the first meeting…

Hello! Come back to reality now! It’s a dream.

Sales follow up statistics

Did you know that only 2% of sales close at the first meeting?

This leaves a whopping 98% of sales that require follow up.

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2% Of deals close at the first meeting

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That actually makes sense when you think about it. The prospect needs to get to know you and you, them. They need to trust you and absorb all of the information that you are discussing.

Here’s another interesting piece of research from Scripted. Did you know that it takes an additional 5 follow ups to close 80% of the remaining deals? So that could be additional meetings, telephone calls, email communications, social messages or a combination of all of them.

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5 Follow ups are required to close 80% of deals

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Why you need a “5 NO” sales follow up process and policy

How many follow ups do you make before you give up?

Research from Scripted suggests that 44% of sales people give up after the first attempt. Hubspot states that on average the number of follow ups is 2.

This is good news for those of you that do follow up and have a system of doing so. Even if your product is not the best on the marketplace, the fact that you are following up means that you’re in the game to begin with by selling to prospects that are ignored by the rest.

Therefore, based on the research if you are giving up without at least attempting 5 follow ups then you are leaving a lot of money on the table.

I recommend that at the very least you have a “5 NO” policy.

What I mean by this is that you follow up at least 5 times. After the 5th attempt you should take them out of your Sales Funnel and put them into a nurture programme if you have heard nothing. Maybe add them to an automatic email sequence sent from you for the next couple of weeks. You could send the prospect some useful thought leader content or some relevant articles from your company blog. You’ll have nothing to lose.

Why do some decisions take so long?

Some just do! There, I’ve said it. Based on research from Marketing Donut 63% of people requesting information from your company will not purchase from you in less than 3 months and 20% will take over 1 year.

There are many factors that can contribute to this.

Some of these include:

  • It was a “nice to have” rather than a “must have” product or service
  • Different priorities took over and this purchase went down the pecking order
  • Budget was not agreed at the time of investigating options
  • The sales person did not speak with the decision maker
  • There was a lot of doubt in the decision itself
  • Internal politics took over which made a decision impossible
  • The cost of your solution was too high
  • Your contact is just too busy to pay attention to this
  • They used you for ideas and did something internally
  • They did not have the courtesy to just say no

There are plenty of other factors that we could add to that list.

Most of the above can be covered off if and when you eventually are able to get in touch with your contact. This is why effective and consistent follow up is so essential.

Are you speaking with the decision maker?

One of the fundamental errors that sales people make is not speaking with the decision maker. All decent Sales Training should cover how to work out who the decision making unit is, how to approach them and then, how to influence them.

This can be tricky because according to the Harvard Business Review there are now 6.8 people involved in every B2B decision making process. Now that’s painful!

But normally there are just 1 or 2 from that group who have the most sway and influence with 90% of decision-making committees agreeing that there is usually one member of the decision making unit that tries to influence the decision their way.

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Are you following up quickly enough?

Do you have a sales follow up process?

Just by following up in a timely manner can give you the edge over the competition straight off the mark.

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35% to 50% of deals go to the first to react

Research from Xant showed that 35% to 50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first.

This is an incredible statistic but one that you really need to sit up and take notice of.

Have you ever had the feeling that your prospect is avoiding you?

Here’s why…

One of the reasons why your prospect might be avoiding you is that you’re not following up in a timely manner to begin with. Therefore, they’re having a fruitful conversation with one of your competitors and when it comes to answering your returned call or email then they cannot be bothered due to time restrictions or the tardiness of your response.

When you call they are always “In a meeting” or “They’ll get back to you”

Sound familiar? They never get back.

Drift ran a test with 433 different organisations. They wanted to test the responsiveness of their respective sales teams to an incoming lead.

Now these are leads were created from a contact form so they were proactive leads, not cold calls.

Here’s the data…

First, more than half of the organisations did not respond within 5 business days. This is just unbelievable. Secondly, only 7% responded within the first 5 minutes.

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7% Responded within first 5 minutes

This just shows that if you get this right there is money to be made.

A 3 step process for creating front of mind awareness

So armed with all of these statistics, exactly what should you do?

Here are 3 sales follow up tips.

Step 1 – Be quick off the mark

First of all I recommend that you reply back to initial enquiries within 5 minutes. The research shows that it will give you an immediate headstart over your rivals.

Try to connect over the telephone. If you can’t get through then send them a sales follow up email to let them know that you tried with your contact details etc. But still continue to try them by phone.

Step 2 – Be tenacious and give it 5 attempts

Don’t “give up” until you have followed up at least 5 times. If you manage to speak with a decision maker ensure you’ve had the right Telesales Training to ensure that you maximise your chances of success.

If you can’t connect then…

Implement the “5 NO” policy.

Even then, add your prospect to an automated sales follow up system where you drip feed them with thought leadership content.

Step 3 – Understand your average closing times

If you’re using a CRM system then you should have a lot of data on the average time it takes you and your fellow sales people to close various deals.

Create your follow up process around that so you create front of mind awareness especially if you have longer sales cycles.

  • How can you create trust between your prospective buyer and yourself?
  • How can you educate them during the sales cycle?
  • How can you regularly stay in touch without being a pest

If you can get these 3 steps right, in my opinion, you’ll be doing better than 90% of the sales person who are supposedly out to each your lunch for you!

Happy Selling!

Sean

Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

Sales DNA

Originally published: 22 July, 2020



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