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In the old days (just a few years ago), cold leads were tough enough. Rarely did one letter, email, phone call, fax, or visit - result in a sale. From many sources, I have seen these general statistics:
A) 70% - 87% of initial sales contacts are never followed up on, yet 84% of prospects purchase a similar product within 14 months.
B) 79% of salespeople give up after three contacts, but 49% of all sales require more than five contacts.
C) 50% - 70% of sales do not close at the first contact, but 63% close after six or more contacts.
Those statistics are averages for most businesses, however every business and salesperson and customer is different. In my business, I work with thousands of cold judgment leads from hundreds of sources across the country.
In the last year or so I have noticed a steep decline in sales made per letter, email, or call. Luckily my business does not depend exclusively on cold leads.
At first, I suspected this decline per lead effort was specific to my business, however my friends in several kinds of online and other sales jobs and businesses told me this was the same for them too. It seems we all have to work ten times harder to make a cold lead pay off than we did even one year ago.
Why? The biggest reason is the economy, people have less money to spend. Another reason is that many people seem to be in shock and do not understand that just because the economy is bad, one does not have to hide their head in the sand. Some people no longer open mail or email, or answer the phone, unless it comes from someone they already know.
Others reasons include competition, and everyone is exposed to more scams and advertising now than ever before. People simply tune it all out, and your sales message gets lost. Now there are ten times as many people trying to make the same sales as you are.
For those working in sales, because cold leads are not as valuable as before, we have three choices:
1) Make more leads come in, to compensate for the lowered performance of almost all cold leads.
2) Invest more time and effort with the cold leads you already have.
3) Move from cold leads to warm leads. This is not easy, one way is to make a good web site and pay for marketing so people will contact you. When people contact you, it is usually much easier to make a sale.
No matter what you do, it seems everyone is a shopper now, and you need persistence to keep yourself in their mind while they shop. One needs to know what the competition is doing, and do it better. One must not become a pest or beat a dead horse, yet one must try harder now to close sales.
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