October 30, 2012 by Charlie Walker
Posted in: In this week's e-newsletter - Sales & Marketing, New Research, Special Report - Sales & Marketing
What should salespeople be frightened of — beyond warehouse shortages, shipping mistakes and other factors they have no control over?
How about these stats from the sales crypt we’ve gathered to help with your continuous improvement efforts this Halloween:
- 70% of a typical sales staff have weak closing skills — and sometimes won’t even ask for the order.
- Each year, most businesses bid farewell to 10% to 17% of their customers. If you’re not consistently pressing for new business, you could be looking for a new job.
- The typical prospect needs to have at least seven interactions with you — phone calls and face-to-face — until he or she will feel comfortable giving you their business. That’s right. Seven.
- For each month you let slip by without making some sort of contact with your customers/potential customers, your influence with that business is eroded 10%.
- Even if you have a stable customer base, that’s not enough — because research shows six out of every 10 clients aren’t getting the opportunity to take full advantage of everything your company has to offer.
- Another example of how a shortage of pro-activity can hurt: 91% of the customers say they’d give referrals — but no one ever asks.
- Many companies sink a lot of money into trade shows between the cost of the space and the display, the time invested, and those dozens of little tchotchkes that help draw would-be customers to your booth/table. And it’s pretty scary that even after spending all that money, only 20% of the leads generated at trade shows are ever followed up.
- Here’s a positive statistic — but equally frightful: It only takes a 5% boost in your customers’ loyalty to drive an additional 20% to 80% into your bottom line. You won’t find many investments with that kind of return. Yet many firms choose to focus the majority of their efforts chasing new customers than cultivating relationships with existing ones.
Two real-life stories
These two aren’t really statistics. They’re true stories from sales trainer Check Terry’s blog — but still pretty scary tales for people in Sales:
- A salesperson was one of four finalists offered the chance to win over an important account. The salesperson did his research, put together his presentation and practiced it. He bought a new suit. He scoped out where he’d be going, so he wouldn’t be late the next day. He left early, to give himself enough time to account for traffic problems or other diversions. He arrived at the office at the designated time to give his presentation only to learn he was in fact 24 hours late and the sale had already gone to someone else.
- It had been a while since this salesperson had paid a face-to-face visit with this customer, and now there was the opportunity for a big contract. The Sales rep pinned down the appointment time, fully prepared himself and headed over to the customer’s office. He got on the elevator and hit the button for his floor. When the elevator door opened, he saw a vacant area that had been stripped of all signs of business life, except for the stray cables hanging from the ceiling. Turns out the customer had moved, and the Sales rep didn’t know anything about it. He caught up with the client and scheduled a new meeting, but he never really got off on the right foot — because he hadn’t kept up with the customer. This is a reminder of the need to stay in touch regularly with customers (see Nos. 3 and 4 above).