Anyone who has worked in a sales office has likely seen a version of this message prominently displayed as a poster or flyer.

Persistence Sales Statistics

48% of Sales people never follow up with a prospect.

25% of Sales people make a second contact and stop.

12% of Sales people only make three contacts and give up.

10% of Sales people make more than three contacts.


2% of sales are made on the first contact.

3% of sales are made on the second contact.

5% of sales are made on the third contact.

10% of sales are made on the fourth contact.

80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contacts.


There’s nothing incorrect about these numbers. Numerous studies and sources confirm them as valid. The problem comes in how salespeople react when seeing something like this posted by management. It often just becomes a license to stalk and harass prospects in an unproductive way.


The questions that come to my mind in reading that information, is how you define “contact”. Without a process and some training, most sales people will defer to the simplest definition of contact. it will be an email, a voicemail and sometimes even worse, the SAME EMAIL OR VOICEMAIL 12 times.


How do you embrace persistence without coming off as a stalker who’s just harassing people into a conversation? How do you take advantage of the stats above without just annoying your prospects? Seems like a contradiction. To paraphrase Francisco D’Anconia, there are no contradictions. If you feel you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. One of them is wrong.


All “contacts” are not equal, and the numbers above only work if you apply a few simple concepts.


– Change up the message/value prop. If a prospect does not reply or engage after multiple attempts, sending them the same thing and expecting a different outcome is Einstein’s definition of insanity. You are likely not tapping into a viable issue to solve, either because you have the wrong issue or because the language you are using isn’t connecting to the issue.


Make it about PAIN. 70% of decisions to change the status quo come from the motivation of avoiding pain. People are more likely to take action if they see it as a solve to a problem, versus an improvement of something already in a good place. If you think you hit the wrong pain, change it up on the next contact.


Connect human to human. Yes, I know, email, text, twitter and carrier pigeons are all convenient and easy to use. You know what? They are also easy to ignore. You know that thing you use to post on Facebook and play games on? It also makes phone calls!!! Call or drop in as a priority and use email and such as a back up. Prospects make a decision in about 4-7 seconds and 85% of communication is non verbal. As in not about the words, but the tone, body language, energy, etc. An email message, no matter how well crafted is only leveraging 15% of communication bandwidth. Sales is a people business. If companies could successfully sell products and services by email, they WOULDN’T NEED YOU!


Create a question. If you send me an email with mountains of information and answers to every question I can imagine, what do I need to call you back for? Your prospecting process should be built around creating questions and intrigue in your prospect’s mind. That is the leverage that makes them want to meet with you. You have nothing if you don’t have time. Wanting more information is what powers them giving you more time. It’s not about dumping data. It is about giving them a preview that makes them want to see the movie!


Persistence pays, but that works both ways. Persistently continuing a contact method that isn’t working is going to persistently yield negative results. Lock in these concepts into your prospecting process and THEN surge up your activity.