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Much has been researched and written about buyer behavior. It’s important that you understand the basics of human buying behavior, because once you understand the “rules” you can easily apply them…

Speed Of Follow Through Is Key

A recent study conducted by Performark (a U.S. Based research company) discovered how few companies follow up properly, if at all.

They found that in a total of 10,000 enquiries from people requesting information about a number of products and services – 22% never received the information they requested, 45% received the information more than 65 days after their request, for 12% it took more than 120 days to receive their information and 87% were never contacted by a sales representative.

Furthermore, a study conducted by Tom Rayfield, a UK direct marketing expert, discovered that companies are very poor when responding to enquiries. Having randomly selected 200 advertisers, he discovered that it took on average 8 days to get back to him and 17 companies (8.5%) didn’t even bother to reply!

What Does This Tell Us?

If people inquire, you need to deliver – or follow up. Most of your competitors don’t. It doesn’t matter which business, profession or industry you choose, it’s a universal problem.

Secondly, you need to respond QUICKLY. Do this and you have an immediate advantage over your competition.

Think about it – you reply to an ad and then within an hour the business calls you back – that’s good. You’re pleased. The company so far has delivered. Compare that to another company. You reply to them at the same time – but if it takes them three days to get back to you, which business are you already favoring? Yes, it’s obvious when you look at it like that – and that’s why reacting quickly is so important.

You Need Multiple Positive Contacts

On average it takes 7 positive contacts before someone buys.

Dr. Geoffrey Lant, the renowned marketing and research analyst, has proven over a 20-year research study across hundreds of different industries, that most buying decisions are made after seven contacts. He calls this the “Rule of 7” and many more studies support this.

What Does This Tell Us?

It simply isn’t good enough to follow through and respond quickly.

Your sales cycle (a system that logically moves a prospect from being interested, to becoming a buyer) needs to have at least seven points of contact (this could be a mix of letters, calls, personal presentations, e-mails, etc.) and it needs to be automated as much as possible (for example, via a CRM) – so you know it’s being followed through.

Your Contact Points Must Be Positive

A recent study by Thomas Publishing showed that most salespeople give up far too easily, regardless of the industry, as they believe the prospect isn’t interested.

According to the study, 80% of sales to businesses are made by the fifth sales call and 94% by the seventh (supporting Lant’s research above), but only 10% of salespeople call more than three times (the following diagram shows the complete details of the study). So after the fourth contact, 90% of salespeople have given up! They’ve given up because of a lack of interest from the prospect!

What Does This Tell Us?

First, it shows that as long as you have a system in place with 7-9 contacts built in, you not only benefit from the fact that most people buy after the fifth contact, but also from the fact that your competitors have given up. You win on both counts.

Second, at each contact you need to make sure it leaves a positive impression on your prospect. Not only does this lead them closer to the sale, but it keeps them enthused.

Conversely, if one of your contact points leaves a less than positive impact on your prospect, their interest drops, making it harder for you to close the sale. Although basic common sense, this is a very important principle you need to understand.

By carefully crafting each contact, you can actually speed up the sales cycle and keep more prospects in it – resulting in more sales. Eventually your persistent (but polite) communications make it virtually impossible for the prospect to refuse you!