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Are You Making Too Many Contact Attempts?

“How many attempts should I make to connect with a prospect before moving on?”

I’ve read statistics that says it takes 6, 12 even 18 attempts to reach a prospect. But here’s the thing, I don’t use one rule across all lead types.
I believe it is best to analyze the lead to determine how much time and effort you will put into getting that prospect on the phone.
In order to make an educated decision in this area, you have to know a few KPI’s (Key Prospecting Indicators) such as:

Is this a cold call or a warm lead? 

Warm lead = They were raising their hand in some way – such as they filled out a form on your website asking for pricing info. Warm leads obviously tend to be a little farther along in the buying cycle, so they get top attention.

What is their Title? 

If it’s a straight up cold call, you control who you are targeting, therefore, you should only be reaching out to those with the title of someone that is typically heavily involved in the decision making process.
Quick side note: This does NOT mean you always have to speak to the CEO unless that is the person that is almost always the decision maker for what it is that you offer.
For example, when I’m personally working a larger deal, the CEO (for my specific industry) is almost NEVER involved. If, however, the lead is a small to mid-size business, the OWNER / CEO is almost ALWAYS involved. You have to know your targeted audience!
If you don’t know the top three titles of those who normally make a decision when it comes to buying your product / service, that’s a problem that needs to be fixed today.
When it comes to warm inbound leads, you have no control over who decided to raise their hand. Even though a warm lead presents itself, it could be from someone that has little to no power. On the flip-side, they could have been directed by a decision maker to get some info and could really be a hot lead.

So what do you do? How do you proceed? 

I’ve found that if there’s a warm lead and the title of that person is what I know to be a non-decision maker, in most cases, if they were instructed to look into this, it won’t take many attempts on my part in order for them to give me a call back.
If, on the other hand, it’s a warm lead, but the title of the prospect is what I know to be a non-decision maker and they were looking into this on their own, it seems to take more attempts. And here’s the problem: non-decision maker + self interest = lots of chasing and little to zero ROI.
Why would I want to have a standard rule that says I have to try and contact someone 16 times when statistically, based on the info given (lead type + title) shows there will be little to no ROI?
There is one last bit of data or KPI that I take into account when deciding how many attempts I will make and that is:

Opportunity Size

All leads aren’t created equal. If you sell software, typically the more “seats” the larger the order. If you sell “logistics” the more they ship, the higher the ROI. If you sell medical supplies, the more patients your prospect sees, the more consumables they will use on a monthly basis, the more revenue you will bring in. Hopefully you get the picture here.
Even if I were to make 16 attempts to an individual who expressed interest in what I offered, and they finally called back and signed on, the ROI or “opportunity size” was as low as possible, next to being ZERO. Yet, look at all the work I put into that, to only get one small sale.
Therefore, I have a three strikes rule that I use as a baseline. 
It works like this: I know I will make a minimum of three call attempts. Each call attempt will be immediately followed-up with an email and there will also be a LinkedIn connection request following my first call attempt.
That is a total of 7 attempts or “touches” Three calls + three emails + one LinkedIn connection request.
In addition to that, they will receive at least 1 of my newsletters within that week making the total touches up to 8 within a week’s time.
If after that I still haven’t heard back from them, I will then make a decision on how many attempts I will continue to go after someone and that will be based on 1) Lead type – cold or warm lead 2) Title and 3) Opportunity size.
If it’s a warm lead and the right title, but they haven’t called me back yet, I will simply call the front desk and ask a question or two that will let me know the opportunity size. (For me, all I have to do is call and ask “How many sales people does your organization have?”) If it’s a nice size number, they stay on my attempt to make contact list. If it’s not, I move on. Simple as that.
– Michael Pedone
Michael Pedone teaches inside sales teams how to pick up the phone and close business. He is the CEO/FOUNDER of SalesBuzz.com – An online sales training company.


Register Now for Our Next 8-Week Phone Skills Improvement Program!

  • Eliminate “No, Thanks”, “Not Interested” & “We’re All Set” Responses
  • Learn a step-by-step process for Cold Calling and Warm Calling
  • Neutralize Gatekeepers & Get Voicemails Returned
  • Ask Engaging Questions Instead of Probing
  • Improve your Qualifying Skills
  • Learn more effective Sales Questions to ask (and ones to avoid)
  • Give Stellar Presentations & Handle Objections
  • Close Follow-up Calls and Get Targeted Referrals
  • How to Set & Achieve Your Toughest Sales Goals
  • Improve Your Time Management Skills

Duration: 1 hour per week for 8 weeks
Where: Online @ your desk, conference room or home
Presenters: Michael Pedone