Wanna raise your percentage of sales success? Change your prospect.

Wanna raise your percentage of sales success? Change your prospect.

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at gitomer.me.

512Wanna raise your percentage of sales success? Change your prospect.

Where are you on the percentage scale of sales?
How-many-out-of-ten can you close?
Well, Mr. Sales-big-shot, forget your percentage. It ain’t all that good anyway. If you want to raise it by 50% — you heard me, FIFTY percent, just change the TYPE of sale you’re making.


The type of sale you make has more to do with why you’re making it, and who you’re making it with, than your fancy closing techniques.

The old sales adage goes: “All things being equal, people want to do business with their friends. All things being not quite so equal, people STILL want to do business with their friends.” The reason the adage is old is that it’s still true. Doubt it? OK, think of the five customers you WISH you had — boy if you just had those, you’d be on top of the world. The reason you don’t have them is that someone else has a better RELATIONSHIP with them than you do. HINT: You don’t need more sales techniques, you need more friends.

Well, let’s look behind that adage.What are the “types” of sales calls you can make?Here they are in worst-to-best order. And what kind of hard work is needed to make them a reality.

THE Lowest percentage: Cold call. Face it, the cold call is diminishing. Voicemail and security have taken away all the fun. Successful penetration is sporadic and there are MUCH better avenues of approach. PLUS, cold calling pisses people off.. Hard work needed: Have a creative opening that WOW’s people and gets through to the decision maker. If this isn’t you, then neither is cold calling. Substitute networking and public speaking at civic groups. They are a much more fertile prospecting ground.

Low percentage: Appointed sales call from a cold call. If you are lucky (or good) enough to have made an appointment someplace, this is OK, but still a low percentage based on the lack of qualification as to need. Hard work needed: There’s no real formula for cold call success, but you can be smart about it — calling at the right times, a bit of pre-call research, and a ton of personal preparation in both sales training and category selection.

Fair percentage: Response from and ad or direct mail. Leads from people mildly curious. This group can be very frustrating because many people call to “price” something and others fill out cards hoping for something free. Hard work needed: Great telephone skills can set an appointment. Get great. Study phone techniques and practice them two ours a day. Call your way to the top at least once a day.

Semi-good percentage: Appointed sales call from a networking event or trade show. Networking is safe, and a GREAT place to begin establishing your reputation and position in your market and/or your business community. A place to get to know and get known. As for the lead, at least there has been some contact. You have a name, a card, and a person somewhat willing to take your call and make an appointment. You will only make a fair amount of sales, BUT, you will expand your contacts and build your image. Networking is the foundation for success. Hard work needed: A networking plan and a 30-second personal commercial to qualify the prospect faster. Then there is the networking itself. Invest the time and work the plan. It will pay HUGE financial and personal dividends. Read Harvey Mackay’s book, “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty.” The best networking book on the planet. IMPORTANT NOTE: Networking is the bridge between cold calling and positioning.

Good percentage: Referral from another customer (one that you ask for and get). Now you’re talking. When you ask for a referral and DON’T get one, it means the customer doesn’t trust you enough or doesn’t want to “sic you on a friend” Hard work needed: Earn trust.

Real good percentage: Unsolicited referral. Someone give you a referral because you EARNED it. Hard work needed: Consistent memorable service. The ability to be talked about behind your back in a favorable way.

Great percentage: Proactive call from a prospect. This only comes about if a prospect needs help and thinks that you are the answer. Hard work needed: Stay in front of prospects with value. Develop a community presence with speeches at civic groups, networking, and . Develop a market presence with your weekly ezine. Position so you don’t have to compete..

Highest percentage: Sale or reorder from a present customer. They know you, like you, trust you believe in you and have confidence you’ll deliver. Hard work needed: Service between the sale. Stay in front of with value. Develop a relationship. Build trust through performance. Help them build their business.

There they are. And there are the secrets to making each category successful, even if it’s the lowly cold call. Note that each type requires HARD work. Once the hard work is don, the sale is easier — ESPECIALLY in the best categories. And here’s the good news that will put you at the top of the heap. Most salespeople aren’t willing to do the hard work it takes to make selling easy.

Free GitBit… Want the rules for successful networking? Just go to www.Gitomer.com, register if you’re a first time user, and enter the word NETWORKING in the GitBit box.

Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts internet training programs on selling and customer service at www.trainone.com. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to salesman@gitomer.com