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Sales by the Obvious, and Not-so-Obvious, Numbers

By John Chapin

The obvious numbers

The more people you talk to, the more business you will do. Even a blind pig finds corn. If you talk to enough people, you will eventually bump into someone who says, “I need what you have” or, “I know someone who needs what you have.”

99.9% of the time when someone fails in sales it’s due to a lack of activity. They didn’t make enough calls to contact enough people, to get enough qualified leads, to make enough sales. The other .1% of the time, they got hit by a bus.

You have to know your numbers and do the math. What is your annual sales goal? How much is your average sale? Based upon that information, how many sales do you have to make? Based upon your closing rate, conversion rate, and contact rate, how many calls do you have to make to get the necessary prospects and sales? Next, break your numbers down into monthly and weekly goals, and daily activity.

Increase your daily-activity numbers above by 10 to 20% because most salespeople over estimate their success rate.

If you want to increase sales, simply increase your prospecting by that amount. For example, if you want to increase sales by 20%, increase prospecting by 20%.

If you want to increase your sales exponentially, increase your number of calls and get better at selling. When you get better at each aspect of prospecting, presenting, closing, and building relationships, and thus are more effective with your calls, a 20% increase in calls will lead to an increase in sales far greater than 20%.

The larger your network is, the more business you will do. Your biggest issue is that not enough people know who you are and what you do. If everyone in your town and surrounding towns, knew who you were and what you did, you’d have plenty of business. Assuming of course, that once they contacted you, you were pleasant, trustworthy, and easy to do business with.

The not-so-obvious numbers

Years ago, you had to contact someone at least seven times before you started to get mindshare and they began to have an idea of who you were. The new number is 9 to 13 times. This is due to all the extra noise in the world these days: the internet, cell phone, e-mail, etc. On that subject…

81% appointments are set after the fourth contact.

80% of salespeople never make four contacts.

44% of salespeople never follow up at all.

28% of salespeople never make a second contact.

47% of sales go to the first company that follows up on a lead.

To maximize your odds of making a sale, follow up with a lead within an hour of them hitting your website, or otherwise reaching out to you.

Contact your top accounts 18 – 26 times per year because the average person starts to forget about you after 21 days.

6:00 a.m. or before = the time that most of the top salespeople wake up in the morning.

80 hours+ = the amount of time the most successful salespeople put into their business per week, the first three to five years in business.

There are 28 items you want to get on each one of your top clients. E-mail me if you need the list.

The 80/20 Rule applies to many aspects of selling. In general, the top 20% of your accounts will generate 80% of your sales. 80% of your prime-time should be spent on sales activities: prospecting, presenting, and closing. The top 20% of salespeople make 80% of the sales. Though, in my experience, I’ve found the numbers to be more like the top 5 to 10% make 90 to 95% of the sales.

John Chapin is a motivational sales speaker and trainer. For his free newsletter, or to have him speak at your next event, go to:  John has over 31 years of sales experience as a number one sales rep and is the author of the 2010 sales book of the year: Sales Encyclopedia. You can reprint provided you keep contact information in place. E-mail:

John Chapin

#1 Sales Rep w 32+ years’ experience, Author of the 2010 sales book of the year: Sales Encyclopedia (Axiom Book Awards) – also the largest sales book on the planet (678 pages).


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