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.

Wanna 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. or Mrs. 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, manipulative, pushy closing techniques.

The old sales adage goes, all things being equal, people want to do business with their friends. And to that I respond: All things being not quite so equal, people STILL want to do business with their friends.

Well, let’s look behind that adage.

What are the “types” of sales call you can make? Last week I listed them and gave some insight as to why. This week I’m giving you the insight and the 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.
Low percentage: Appointed sales call from a cold call. If you are lucky (or good) enough to have made an appointment someplace, this is okay, 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: A response from an ad, or direct mail, or an unsolicited email campaign. Better than a cold call, but not by much. Most of these inquiries are about “how much?”
Semi-good percentage: Appointed sales call from a networking event or trade show. 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. 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.
Pretty good percentage: A social media inquiry. A report card on your presence, or lack there of. These people are saying, “I follow you, and like what you have to say, and want to know more. This is the new cold call, you just haven’t figured it out yet.
Pretty good percentage: A web inquiry. Someone asking for more info from your website either on a web-call or a direct call is also a report card. It says your site is both interesting and navigable.
Pretty good percentage: An email blast to your existing customers. These are people who have already purchased. You have already established value and built confidence — maybe even some trust.
Good percentage: Proactive call from a prospect. Knows of you, interested, and wants more help. Can you convert?
Real good percentage: A referral from another customer. Should be a sale every time.
Real good percentage: An unsolicited referral. Hard work needed to get them: easy to convert once they call.
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. REALITY: None of this occurs making a cold call and running to the next.