The age-old question: how many times do you need to attempt to contact a prospect before you can pitch them? In the old days, it was more of a question of how many times did you have to cold call and leave voice messages before the prospect would answer or return your call. There was never really a magic number for how many calls to make, but many sales reps would make 250+ phone calls per day just trying to get in touch with 1-2 prospects.
For many sales reps, trying to call 250 prospects per day was not enough to generate sufficient sales. In fact, today, 66.7% of sales reps have only reached out to 250 people or less in a year. If calling 250 prospects per day was not enough to generate enough sales to make a living, imagine how difficult it is to get by with only reaching 250 prospects in a year. As Zig Ziglar would say, those salesmen must have skinny kids!
Connecting With Prospects In 2022
You may have noticed a little thing called “the Internet” come along (we recommended using the world wide web version). And then, we all got email addresses. Then, the whole social media thing happened. And, now it looks like the Metaverse and similar technology will work their way into the business world within a few years. It is all here to stay, and it has all changed how salespeople reach prospects.
The days of making 250+ cold calls to reach a few prospects are over for all but a very few. And, the CAN-SPAM Act effectively ended mass emailing to unsubscribed email addresses as a form of prospecting. The answer to this, initially, was in-person networking events. Networking groups and in-person networking events sprouted up all over. But using in-person events as a primary prospecting tool had drawbacks.
Why In-Person Networking Events Don’t Work
We are still fans of a good in-person networking event. They can be fun. You can meet some great people. And, nothing beats face-to-face interaction. But, it is not scalable. And, for almost all salespeople, you’re unlikely to connect with enough target prospects to make a return on your time invested in such events.
So, while you can still connect with a few prospects by telephone, email, or in-person events, what is needed to be utilized to reach enough prospects for most in sales is utilizing digital media to interact and connect with prospects.
Prospecting On Social Media
In the old days, it was how many phone calls did it take to reach a prospect. Today, it is how many “touches” it takes to connect with a prospect. Touches, touchpoints, or contact points, are simply any type of interaction with a prospect. This can be liking one of their posts on Linkedin, commenting on their Instagram post, or any other type of interaction.
The Power Of A Like
Liking someone’s social media post can be a big deal if done consistently and with an end goal. Furthermore, you engaging with their post helps them out by giving their post more reach. Now, will liking someone’s post once make them pick up the phone immediately to make a deal with you? Of course not. But, one like can get the digital prospecting cadence started. And, when you follow up with more likes, comments, and shares, you will build a relationship and earn the right to pitch your product or service.
The digital prospecting cadence is a dance that most salespeople will need to master, or at least be decent at, to reach modern buyers and close sales. One perfectly worded direct message, powerful Facebook ad, or witty Twitter reply won’t do the trick. There is a cadence to it.
How Many Likes To Get To The Prospect
Remember the old Tootsie Roll Pop commercial that has been re-run and remade many times over the decades?
There never was an answer of exactly how many licks it took to get to the center of the candy. With figuring how many touches or contact points it takes for a prospect to be ready for a sales pitch, it is like the Tootsie Roll Pop.
We searched the deep interworkings of the internet to find the best data on how many touchpoints it takes through social and digital media in order to reach a prospect. The Online Marketing Institute said, 7-13 touchpoints. The Rain Group said 6-10. We found several others that were in the range of 20-30 and even some that said over 100. But, they all had one thing in common: the answer is not 1!
Multiple Contact Points
You have to work harder today to get someone’s attention and it takes multiple interactions. Social Media is the battleground for salespeople to reach prospects because that is where prospects spend much of their time. In fact, “78% of salespeople using social media outsell their peers.” And, that statistic is a few years old, which means it is likely over 90% today.
It takes multiple contact points to get noticed by a prospect. It takes, even more, to build a relationship enough to where you can connect more, direct message, and eventually make your pitch.
How To Engage
We suggest that you start with a list of your target prospects. Find them on LinkedIn and other social networks that they are active on. Don’t immediately friend request them on Facebook or send a LinkedIn Connection request. (Following them on Instagram or Twitter is okay and less intrusive and less presumptuous)
Start slow. Like a post, then come back and like another post in a day or two. Work up to commenting on a post, or replying to a comment they made. Repeat this consistently over a few weeks. Then, it is time to connect on LinkedIn or direct message them. Once you’ve connected directly, still, do not rush it. Build rapport, then eventually, when you’ve earned the right to, make your pitch.
The key is to have a plan and system for your digital prospecting, and don’t rush it. If you just randomly log on and interact without a purpose or plan, you will waste time and not find success. And, if you rush the process, you’ll turn prospects away and hurt your brand in the process. Digital prospecting takes time, but once you get the cadence down, your pipeline will be full.
If you could use a little bit of help in navigating the digital prospecting world, check out our Digital Prosectping Platform.
Thanks for reading. I typically write about modern selling, virtual selling, prospecting, sales reps reputation and how content helps all of these with modern buyers. My primary audience includes CEOs, CROs, CMOs, and other executives responsible for increasing bottom line. Post your questions in the comments section below and let’s discuss this!