Business 1.0 September/October 2018August 2nd, 2021 by Bryan
The “Next” Call
By Lyle R. Hill
I needed a favor. And when you need a favor who better to call than a friend–particularly an old friend who you have known and worked with in the past and still have the pleasure of interacting with in the present. I didn’t have a lot of time to spare and as I punched in the numbers to make the call I was hoping he would be in. He answered on the third ring. “Joe, I’m so glad you’re in. How is life treating you?”
“Lyle,” he enthusiastically replied, “it’s so good to hear your voice. I’m doing great and how are you?”
We don’t talk all that regularly–maybe three or four times a year. We try to meet for dinner or lunch about once a year when our travel paths cross, but it doesn’t matter. Every conversation starts as if our last conversation had just ended the day before. Joe’s enthusiasm for life combined with the humor and energy he brings to every conversation is kind of contagious. Joe Sousa is just fun to deal with and he and his partner Kerry Reid have built an incredibly successful and highly regarded organization over the past dozen or so years. We quickly worked out the details of what I needed done, and after getting caught up on news of our families, friends and other personal matters, the conversation took a turn.
“Joe,” I began, “something’s going on with you. I’ve known you a very long time and while you are always upbeat, you are over the top today. So what’s up?”
“Lyle my friend, you are correct. Just before you called I was on the phone with an account I have been trying to sell for nearly eight years. I tried very hard not be a pest, but I just wasn’t going to give up. And today we finally broke through and I can’t tell you how happy I am.”
“Wow, Joe. That’s a lot of chasing. And I would think a little discouraging at times too.”
“It was, Lyle, but I just kept telling myself that ‘the next call will be the one’ and finally, it was.”
We finished our call and scheduled a dinner meeting for later in the month. Knowing that my request would be handled well and that my friend had scored a victory, I smiled and went back to the tasks at hand. But within just a minute or two, my phone rang and this call, although anticipated, was from someone I had never met or talked with before. On the second ring I answered with my usual greeting.
“Lyle, my name is Scott Mitchell from J.E. Berkowitz and I’m hoping you have a few minutes for me.”
The conversation went every which way … a bad habit of mine … and at one point, I told him my Joe Sousa story. We talked about the value of perseverance and that unless a potential customer starts throwing things at you or hangs up as soon as they hear your voice, there is a great deal to be said for simply always believing “the next call will be the one.” Toward the end of our conversation, Scott asked me if I had ever seen a study that had been published by the National Sales Executives Association regarding this very subject. I told him I would love to see it and perhaps share it with a few of my friends. Scott sent it over and it is absolutely fascinating. A lesson for us all. So thanks to Joe and Scott, I now get to share this story and what follows with a few of my friends … you.
• 48% of salespeople never follow up with a prospect.
• 25% of salespeople make a second contact and stop.
• 12% of salespeople only make three contacts and stop.
• Only 10% of salespeople make more than three contacts.
• Only 2% of sales are made on the first contact.
• Only 3% of sales are made on the second contact.
• Only 5% of sales are made on the third contact.
• Only 10% of sales are made on the fourth contact.
• 80% of all sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact.
Lyle R. Hill is the managing director of Keytech North America and a former owner of a window film company in the Midwest. He also provides auto glass and film-related advice on Glass.com. He has more than 35 years of experience in glass-related industries.
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