How To Be Better Than Your Competition


I dislike the term, “common sense.”

I dislike it because people use it to mean “I already know this, and I expect that everyone else does to.”

Obviously, that’s seldom true.

An analogy I often use when talking about training makes reference to baking bread. Knowing how to bake bread is a learned skill. If you don’t know how, not only do you not know how, you don’t know where to begin. Once you do learn how to bake bread, it all seems so obvious in hindsight that you can’t believe you ever didn’t know.

Basic skills aren’t very exciting, yet they’re basic for a reason: you need them. That’s why it’s always worth reviewing the basics, and practicing them to perfection.

This graphic lists the number of contacts with a prospective customer necessary to complete a sale.

number of contacts to make a sale

Now, like all infographics found on the Internet, the numbers have no citation given, so I suggest you treat them with some reservation (after all, 67.88% of all statistics are made up on the spot).

However, in broad terms, the statements in the infographic align with my own experiences and observations, both as a salesperson, and as a customer.

The number of salespeople I’ve been in contact with when I’ve wanted to buy something who’ve followed up more than once is about one-in-four or one-in-five.

Seldom ever do sales people follow up with me more than twice.

As a sales professional, some introspection will tell you that if you actually create a formalized system for yourself, organize and regiment your follow-up with prospective clients, and actually follow-up with them, that will automatically rocket you ahead of more than half of your competitors.

You have a calendar app. Use it. I prefer using a calendar instead of a task-list app because it creates a sense of urgency. The clock is, quite literally, ticking.

Create an appointment for each prospect you’re working on and put them in your calendar. At the end of the day, take the prospects you didn’t have time to reach out to and move them to tomorrow.

Personally, I find having to look at the calendar entries for the prospects I’ve been procrastinating on motivates me to finally pick up the phone and reach out to them because I’m tired of looking at them on my calendar, day after day.

If they need more follow up before they’re ready, change the date on the appointment. Ask your contact when is the best time to reach out again: a week, three weeks, six months, a year, whatever. That way, the follow up reminder will be waiting for you in your calendar. You won’t be able to forget.

Further, your prospective client will be so amazed that you, out of everyone actually cared enough to follow up with them that they will probably buy something from you.