Quantity or quality sales calls is a question that our sales training partners in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto are constantly asking themselves. Which is better? Many experienced Sales Managers will tell you that quantity has always been a leading factor in achieving a high sales volume. Many Professional Salespeople feel that better rates of success occur when you concentrate on a smaller number of clients. Let’s figure out the real answer.
When I started in sales, my Sales Managers wanted to know how many face-to-face appointments I had with buyers each week. The expected quota was 30 – 3 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon 5 days per week. If I was at 25, no one ever questioned me.
This was back when the sales process consisted of a 20-minute client meeting that was 100% focused on beating your chest about your product and company followed by an attempt to close, counter objections and then close again to secure the business. Move on to the next appointment. Such fun!
Years later, it was determined that understanding the client basic needs and linking them to the benefits of your product greatly helped to increase your closing rate. This meant that you had to ask some questions of your buyer and involve them in the sales process. Appointments became longer and more consultative.
Modern decision-makers now expect Professional Salespeople to do most of their research in advance. Asking stupid questions and wasting a buyer’s time will quickly see your way out the door without a sale. You now require a different skill set where Google and LinkedIn become valuable tools to make warm calls, get appointments and gain traction quickly.
The Trend has Reversed to Quality Sales Calls
Spraying and praying by seeing too many clients and starting weak sales opportunities that go nowhere is no longer the way to do business. Being busy and not productive doesn’t build a healthy sales funnel or assist you in reaching your monthly sales target.
The trend reversed a few years ago when Salespeople and Sales Managers recognized the need for increased quality sales calls by investing more time with qualified buyers who met an ideal customer profile and that were more likely to buy. No one would argue with this approach.
However, that’s not totally right either. Here’s why.
Quantity or Quality Sales Calls
Which Salesperson would you rather be?
Dan sees 20 buyers each week. He makes 14 presentations to these buyers in the weeks that follow. He closes 5 and has a closing rate of about 36%. He’s a core performer – maybe not the star of the Sales Team, yet slightly better than average. He’s seldom in the office because, as he says, you don’t make any money there. The sales are made in the client’s office.
Emma sees 6 buyers per week and invests a great deal of time in having great first appointments. Her clients like her and feel that she solves their problems. She makes 5 presentations and closes 4 for an 80% close. She’s one the best Salespeople on the team and well respected for it. Emma prides herself on knowing her client’s needs and has many relationships within each company she does business with.
Many Salespeople would quickly pick Emma for lots of great reasons. I would pick neither.
Dan believes in quantity pitches. He’s a go-getter and has been burned before by placing too much importance on too few clients. He feels there’s safety in numbers. He believes he must move fast to make sales so you better get out of his way. You might be a Dan and that’s OK because all sales teams need them.
However, Dan may be doing quick first appointments, asking some basic questions and making his suggestions without getting all the details and involving all decision-makers, stakeholders, and influencers.
Dan’s closing ratio reflects that. At 36%, he must hustle and have a very full sales funnel of leads to meet his sales targets. What Dan needs to do is invest in having better quality appointments to increase his closing rate. Perhaps then he wouldn’t have to call on 20 buyers per week to manage his business.
Emma takes a different approach. She is all about quality sales calls. She does a great deal of homework before making cold calls and convinces most buyers to meet with her. She’s great at developing trust because she asks great questions and listens to understand her buyers. She feels that having in-depth quality appointments leads to better closing ratios, bigger sales, and more repeat business. It’s hard not to agree with her. If you’re an Emma, congratulations!
However, Emma is investing most of her time on a smaller amount of accounts and is expecting them to lead her to sales victory. She might take things personally and not understand why clients can’t see what she and her company have to offer.
Emma is a high closer at 80%, probably top in the company, yet she rides the sales roller coaster with wild swings in monthly performance. Emma needs to understand that many clients that she’s not reaching out to are looking for a Salesperson just like her! Why deprive them? If she developed more relationships by making more calls, she would be a consistent performer every quarter with the odd exception.
Quantity of Quality Sales Calls
True Sales performers have learned to take the best of Dan and Emma and create a hybrid. It’s not just the quantity or quality of calls.
It’s the quantity of quality sales calls.
That will be different for each of you reading this article. It depends on your product, your client base, and sales cycle. Invest the time to figure out what sales activity you need to find the sweet spot.
Ask Yourself These Questions
How many quality sales calls must I have on a consistent basis to reach sales success?
What is the required sales activity to reach that level?
While that could be worked out monthly or weekly, most companies and Sales Managers are in sync with quarterly results whether your company is privately owned or publicly traded. Reach your quarterly sales target and you will be part of the solution, not the problem. You will have your Manager’s ear and make the income you deserve.
Ask your Sales Manager for help. Smart Managers appreciate Salespeople who are proactive in developing well thought out strategies. Show them this article and enlist their guidance.
What do you think? We’re always interested in your opinion. Please give us your feedback in the comments section below.
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Dave Warawa – PROSALESGUY