57. How many calls should you be making?

"As a sales person there are several things you can do on the personal level that will make you unique.  The first thing you can do is show up."

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A marketing company did a direct mail campaign to homes in a large city making a special price offer on a product and kept track of the results.  They mailed to 50,000 homes in one section of the city, 100,000 homes in another section, and then 250,000 homes in another section.

The results were different than expected on a response rate per thousand.

The 100,000 mailing brought more returns per 1,000 than the 50,000.

The 250,000 mailing brought more returns per 1,000 than the 100,000.

In other words, results per thousand INCREASED as the mailings became larger.  Here’s why:  When you advertise to a few people they read what you have to say and either act on it or very soon forget all about it.  When you advertise something to practically everybody in a community, people not only individually read what you have to say but they talk about it to other people – and that is what gets results.

The same principle works in personal selling.  The more people you ask to buy the better your closing ratio will be.

Here is another good example making more calls.  A friend of mine told me about the time he was a national sales manager for a pharmaceutical company and had the challenge of getting his sales people to make more calls.

While thinking about how to approach his sales team with the challenge of making more calls he phoned one of his friends, an up and coming physician who worked for a new service that makes house calls on patients, to ask his opinion about one of the products he was selling.   When the doctor came to the phone he said “I just can’t talk to you now, call me at nine-thirty tonight.”  When the sales manager telephoned that night the doctor apologized.  “I’m sorry I couldn’t talk to you today, it’s just one of my regular days – I made house calls on thirty-four patients, had an hour and a half of consultation at my office and delivered two babies.”

My friend said he was not at a loss for an interesting opening statement when he began his speech at their national sales meeting.

Are you familiar with The Rule of Seven? It started back in Hollywood during the Great Depression, when people had limited money and shouldn't have been spending it on movies when they had so many other, more pressing needs. The marketing folks discovered that to motivate a person to attend a show, they had to hit those people at least 7 times in a short period of time. Then they showed up at the box office. We've got to do the same thing with our personal selling.  When you target a new account, try making seven calls with short intervals in between.

"Familiarity breeds contempt,"   is commonly accepted, but it is not true.  A study conducted in 1982 published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, by R. L. Moreland and R. B. Zajonc, said that repeated exposure to any stimulus leads to a greater appreciation and liking.   This is great news for us in sales and marketing.  Exposure and repetition can only increase sales.

As a sales person there are several things you can do on the personal level that will make you unique.   The first thing you can do is show up.


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