The answer is of course, it depends!
I’ve interviewed candidates for Connect 5000 recently since we are slowly expanding and growing.
When I chat with sales candidates, I ask them how many sales calls were they required to make in their previous job. Their answer: 100 a day.
When I ask how much money do they want to make a year. Their answer: $100,000 a year.
There’s something about the number “100”. But I digress.
Whether you’re a sales rep, financial planner, or real estate agent, in the beginning you have to make tons of calls a day and per week to grow your book of business.
Here’s a good practical article on the harsh reality of sales: http://www.forbes.com/sites/christophersteiner/2012/04/24/biz-dev-is-a-clever-name-for-dirty-work/
Here’s the reality though: If you make 100 calls per day, that’s 12.5 calls an hour assuming the person works 8 hours per day.
That’s one call every 5 minutes. If you are making 100 calls a day, you may not be having that many quality conversations.
It’s like a police officer who brags that he arrested 15 people last week. The correct measurement is how many convictions did he have?
You can arrest people all day long. More importantly, how many arrests led to convictions?
I expect my sales reps to make at least 20 to 25 calls per day. Calling the receptionist and asking who the head of sales doesn’t constitute a call. That’s simply research and digging around.
A call is when you talk to a decision maker or leave the decision maker a voicemail message. If the person isn’t sure the person is the decision maker, it still counts as a call.
20 – 25 calls a day is 100 – 125 per week. That equals about 400 – 500 a month. We track numbers internally at Connect 5000 for sales calls, prospecting, cold calling, etc to set sales appointments.
I even track my own numbers. The typical ratio is 3 – 5%. That’s it! Nothing sexy or glamorous.
For every 100 people that we call, 90 of those calls land in voicemail. We talk to around 10 people and turn 3 to 5 of those into appointments or meetings. That means you have a 95- 97% failure rate. That’s okay.
400 – 500 calls with a 3% success ratio is 12 to 15 appointments. Sure beats waiting for the phone to ring.
12 appointments a month is 144 per year. That would be a good number to strive for. The better a rep gets at prospecting, the less he or she has to do it. The more appointments he or she makes, the higher number of discussions, proposals, and presentations comes as a result.
In studying 4,658 actual business technology buyers, research organization Marketing Sherpa found that more than 50 percent admitted to short-listing a vendor after receiving a well-timed and relevant phone call. 1
1 Source: Art Sobczak, Smart Calling: Eliminate the Fear, Failure, and Rejection From Cold Calling (New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2010), p.10.
Unless your marketing department is so effective that your phone is ringing off the hook, you must increase your sales pipeline with outbound sales calls.
Lots of so called “experts” suggest you should never cold call and only network and use referrals. If you are new to the industry and have no referrals, then what?