It is often said that the three most important factors of real estate are location, location, and location.
What then, you may ask, are the three most important factors of sales, particularly when it comes to creating a solid sales cadence for contacting prospects.
I would venture to say they are follow up, follow up, and follow up.
The manner in which you follow up and the means and methods you use to do it are where good intention becomes a solid and successful strategy.
Make The Call
According to the Harvard Business Review, “cold calling remains the most effective way to set up appointments with the right decision makers at your target accounts.”
Everything starts with a call. When and how often you make your calls, and what other means of communication you add in addition to calls can help make or break the sale.
HBV’s article also mentions an idea introduced to me recently, the first call should be made between 7:30 and 8:30 in the morning pertinent to time zone, or between 3:30 and 5:30 in the afternoon. This is especially important in B2B sales as it allows you to reach the decision maker during times when they are likely to be less busy and the gatekeepers are less likely to block you from getting through.
A caveat here would be if the call is being made to an inbound lead, in which case you would want to make the call as close to the receipt of the lead as possible. The idea of whatever product or service you are providing should be as fresh on the minds of the potential customer as possible.
The Follow Up
In an ideal world, every prospect would answer on the first outreach, be the right person to buy, listen to your pitch with open ears, and take advantage of your product or service on the spot. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. And that is why I refer to the most important factor of sales as the follow-up.
Lead Simple Academy, which offers sales courses to property managers (here we are back to real estate) lists the number 43 as the percentage of salespeople who give up after the first call and 80 as the percentage of people who give up after the 4th call. But 50% of deals are closed after the 5th call.
So, if 80% of people are giving up before half of all deals are closed, there are strong odds in favor of the person who follows their suggested 7-touch cadence.
I have practiced the 7-touch cadence in my own career with many teams selling different products and can personally say, many of my sales have come after the 4th outreach.
To continue to form a solid cadence, we have to extend our options beyond calling and meet the customer where they live. Not literally of course, unless you’re in an outside sales situation, in which case, by all means, take advantage.
For those of us in inside sales, we do have still other options. Harvard Business Review suggests utilizing online sources such as LinkedIn. In the marketing industry that I come from, Facebook can also be a helpful tool. On the business to consumer side I currently work in, text messaging and email can have great response rates. According to an article posted on OneReach.com, text messages have an open rate of 98%. Of course, email and text message can still be great for business to business sales, as well.
Nurturing A Lead
The last piece of advice for building a strong cadence is knowing how often to follow up. There is a fine line between being persistent and being overly communicative with people who are either too busy or simply not interested.
On my current team, we use the 48-hour rule. Nettemps.com describes it like this, “The 48-hour rule, simply stated, stipulates that to more effectively seize a new opportunity you should follow up or perform an action within 48 hours after interest has been established.”
I also apply that to the continued follow up cadence and leave one business day between call attempts to contact a potential customer.
My current team’s cadence involves 4 calls and 3 emails spread over 14 days. Text messages can be added in at the individual sales person’s discretion. The key is to find the communication method your customer is most responsive to and use it to your advantage. A sale by email or text message is still a sale.
To reiterate the main points: don’t give up after the first call, don’t resort to one contact method and think that’s enough, and do try different combinations of cadence plans until you find the combination that works best for you. Be punctual and timely, be persistent without being overly aggressive, and be organized in your attempts.
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