How many contacts does it take to sell?

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It’s important to understand how many contacts it takes to make a sale.

Too few and you might walk away from a sale when you’re 95% of the way to a successful close – too many and you may risk alienating your prospect to such an extent that they will resist any future efforts.

However, in my experience, the vast majority of people err on the side of too few contacts.  Many clients are shocked when we have our first meeting and I tell them that the best statistical estimates are between 10 and 12 contacts before a prospect becomes interested.

In the 80′s the statistics were around 8.5 contacts.  In the 90′s, between 8.5 and 10.  Given the vast proliferation of email marketing over the past 5 or 6 years, I’d say 10 to 12 contacts is a fairly conservative estimate.

Having said that, it also depends on what you are selling as well as the price point relative to the market.

Business to business sales and higher price point sales generally take longer and require more communication than an impulse driven. low price point consumer product.

It stands to reason that with the amount of information we’re all bombarded with, one of the key criteria in how many contacts we’d need to become interested in buying something, is our desire and need for that item at the particular time that we’re approached.

It may take multiple approaches using a progressive ‘educational’ approach, giving the reader more reasons to take action each time. To achieve the optimum number of contacts, we have to realise that the number really depends on where the prospect happens to be in the interest cycle.

If they’ve already pretty much decided to buy, then your first contact may well be the one that tips them in favor of your offering as opposed to your competitors’. If they’ve just begun researching the subject, you will need further contacts to provide the information they’re looking for and to position your product as the ideal choice.  If they’ve never thought of purchasing this particular item, it will take even more contacts over a longer period of time – and a great deal of consistency on your part to maintain contact in the face of seeming disinterest.

So, how do you cover all your bases and ensure that no matter where your prospect is, that you provide as much, as frequently as necessary without becoming a pest?

The easiest way is to predetermine a theme that can be broken up into about 10 or 12 segments.

  • Take each segment and create an informative email of perhaps 6 to 8 paragraphs each focusing on a single main point.
  • Take all your information and create an e-book or report in a long and a short version which can also be offered at various points during the communication.
  • Adding direct mail to your email communication in the form of letters, packages or even postcards can increase your impact significantly.  Of course, these will cost more than emailing, but depending upon the item you’re selling, the extra cost may easily be justified by the increase in response that ‘mixing’ media can bring.
  • Combining direct mail and email adds to the perceived value and importance of your communication and also helps prevent email ‘overload’.
  • Adding follow up phone calls provides another dimension and can be super effective – provided you are offering something of value and your call does not resemble the standard telemarketing approach in any way.

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