Only 2% of deals are closed during the first sales meeting. And the prospects that buy are almost always the ones that have done significant research, know exactly what they’re looking for, and feel completely confident in the brand they’re dealing with.
The remaining 98% just “aren’t there yet” and still require nurturing and trust-building before they’re fully on board. However, many sales reps sell themselves short by giving up too early, with nearly half (44%) giving up after the first “no.”
Here’s how mastering follow-ups can lead to a spike in conversions and create a massive competitive advantage.
Most Sales Reps Give Up Far Too Early
As we just mentioned, 44% of reps give up after the first no. And that number steadily drops with each no after that, with:
22% giving up after the second no
14% giving up after the third no
12% giving up after the fourth no
8% giving up after five nos or more
Here’s a graph that breaks this data down visually.
So, when it’s all said and done, 92% of sales reps give up after four rejections.
And That’s Great News
This lack of persistence among most sales reps is a good thing for your company because most of your competitors lack the tenacity to close deals.
To quantify things, you can theoretically beat:
44% of your competitors by following-up twice with a lead
66% by following-up three times
80% by following-up four times
And get this. By following-up five times, you can beat 92% of the competition. It just boils down to having perseverance and incorporating strong lead nurturing into your brand’s framework.
Having the Right Sales Mindset
This begins by first understanding the psychology of leads, and then taking the necessary steps to build rapport and trust with them until they’re ready to buy.
Author and entrepreneur Robert Clay summarizes it well by saying, “People and companies who don’t follow-up, who do nothing to build up that trust and relationship, cannot succeed. People need to be sure they’re making the right decision before they commit to a purchase.”
Clay also points out that 63% of leads that request information from you won’t buy for at least three months, and it will take another 20% of leads more than a year to buy. So, this is definitely something your company needs to keep in mind when approaching sales.
The bottom line is that no matter how great your product or service is and how amazing your reps are, the vast majority of leads just aren’t ready to make a purchase right off the bat. But by having the right sales mindset and mastering follow-ups, you can position your team to outperform more than 9 out of 10 competitors — something that can often be achieved with three key strategies.
1. Make Sure Your Reps Know Your Product Inside and Out
Here’s a sobering stat. “58% of buyers report that sales reps aren’t able effectively to answer their questions.” What’s even more startling is that “more than 40% of reps, themselves, don’t feel like they have the right information before making a sales call.”
This may sound like 101 level stuff here, but this data shows that a simple lack of preparedness is a big reason why many deals are lost. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that your reps know your product inside out and out, as well as the specific context they’re dealing with during lead interactions. For example, a sales rep might want to point out certain product features to one lead and different features to another based on the lead’s industry, needs, pain points, and so on.
That right there can have a dramatic impact.
2. Anticipate Objections
We’ve already established that more often than not, a lead won’t be ready to commit to a purchase right away — and that’s fine. But reps should never be caught off guard with sales objections. Rather, they should have rapid fire responses on standby, both for their initial interactions, as well as with their follow-ups.
Fortunately, sales objections are fairly predictable regardless of the industry. Here’s a list of the seven most common ones, according to Bryan Gonzalez of HubSpot.
Developing effective counters for each of these will create a ton of leverage and ensure your reps respond appropriately no matter what leads throw at them.
3. Create Ongoing Communication
Lastly, you need to keep the communication going, so that you keep your foot on the gas pedal with your lead nurturing efforts. This is what creates “top of mind awareness,” where your company stays on a lead’s radar, greatly increasing the chances of making a sale in the long run.
The key to maintaining communication is to A) use a variety of different channels to account for the communication preferences of each lead and B) keep reaching out to leads tactfully without creating friction.
So, these are the ideal channels for continuing outreach during follow-ups. Some others to consider include texting and social media.
Creating More Tenacious Sales Reps
As we’ve learned, tenacity is a critical part of winning at sales.
That’s not to say that a rep should become hyper-aggressive where they absolutely won’t take no for an answer, to the point that it creates serious friction and potentially harms your brand reputation.