How to Avoid Losing a Sale: 5 Common Inside Sales Mistakes (Part 2)

The Importance of Contact Time and How to Close a Deal

In continuing with the theme (from a previous  blog) of common mistakes sales reps make that result in lost sales, here are 2 more examples of common mistakes and how to avoid them. 

Reason #3: The sales rep is probably not asking for the sale enough times.

I had the unique opportunity to receive some of my initial sales training from a sales industry leader at the time, Robert F. Fillmore. On one occasion, I was able to spend an invaluable hour with Mr. Fillmore. His advice to me would prove to be more valuable than anything I ever learned in school, sales training, or any seminar. During the course of our meeting, Mr. Fillmore shared about a dozen items that have greatly impacted my skill set. Here’s one of them:

He asked me how many times had I attempted to close a deal before I moved on to another prospect. Trying to impress him I said, “Oh, at least twice, definitely.”

Apparently that wasn’t the answer he was looking for. He immediately started laughing, put his fork down on his plate, looked me directly in the eye and said, “If I was to share something with you that would more than double your income this year would you promise to do it?”

Obviously, I said, “Yes!”

Be the best in everything you do, he said. If you call every contact a minimum of six times, you will be more successful than most other reps in the industry.“If you are only attempting to close a deal twice before moving on, there is only an 8% chance that you will actually close that deal,” he said. “Of all closed deals, 96% happen after the fifth attempt.”

 Reason #4: Reps are horrible at lead response management.

Multiple research studies have shown that as a whole, the inside sales industry is horrible at lead management. Perhaps the problem is that nobody knows what good lead management is. For example, a research study revealed (for the data set of prospects studied) a sales rep is 50% more likely to contact and qualify a lead on a Wednesday than a Tuesday. Also, a sales rep who calls at the end of the day, between 4 and 6 p.m. has a 114% greater chance of making contact than between 11 a.m. and noon. Do you have the tools within your sales organization to track the progression of a lead through your pipeline based on when that lead was contacted, by day of the week and time of day?  If not, you have to ask if you are maximizing the productivity of your reps and the time they spend on the phone.

The morale of the story is that the value of your sales agents’  time increases significantly if they are calling at the best times. Imagine the increase in closed leads just from using these best practices.

For the complete research, download the “Lead Response Management Study.”

Lead Response Management Study

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