I’ve Been Spreading Lies About Sales. Seriously.
Wow, this is embarrassing. Turns out there is a series of sales statistics that has been circulating around the internet for the past few years that is completely fabricated. The numbers seem legit and most of us have bitten, taken them in hook, line, and sinker. What makes them appealing is (1) they seem plausible, (2) they are similar to a few statistics that CAN be verified, and (3) they help explain why so many of us fail to make the sale, and we find some strange relief in the explanation.
You may have seen these stats around. The slide that appears to be the original upon which all others are based is this one (including the egregious misspelling of the word “fourth):
Turns out the source is fake. So fake it doesn’t even exist. Yet I’ve been sharing these stats at events, and in articles, and in classes, and with my clients. Oh my. A 5-minute Google search would have revealed the truth if I had bothered to do it a few years ago.
Thanks go to Stewart Rogers whose article on VentureBeat.com DID pop right to the top of the search results (probably because it’s been up since August 2014?!) when I finally got around to typing in “National Sales Executive Association” for more info (read his article here).
Geesh. Color me shamed. I’m that girl who uses snopes.com and double-checks everything before she shares a meme or news story or quote on Facebook. But with this? I got suckered. And I’ve been blowing the minds of my clients and colleagues with these stats ever since I saw them. Sorry, folks. I screwed up.
It doesn’t mean following up isn’t the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING you can do to close a sale. It is.
It doesn’t mean that most of us don’t bail out WAY TOO SOON when we’re courting a prospect. We do.
It doesn’t mean there aren’t some sobering stats out there that prove persistence is key in being successful in getting the deal. There are.
IT DOES MEAN that looking like a duck and quacking like a duck does not necessarily a duck make when it comes to stats on the internet. So be careful out there.
In fact, I had to go back and edit this blog post in which I had originally quoted a couple of these numbers.
I WILL say, however, that I have belonged to both a church AND a professional networking group that independently did their own internal studies a couple of decades apart, and they both found it takes between 5 and 7 “touches” to get someone to visit for the first time, and other 5 to 7 to get them to consider joining. It shouldn’t challenge our understanding of human nature to suggest that we need to ask more than once to get others to pick up what we’re puttin’ down.
In reading some of the comments left on blog posts about the fabricated stats mentioned above, I was led to this interesting slide presentation by Velocify that appears to be based on their own studies and has some pretty cool data about following up on sales leads. Hope you find it helpful.