Sales Fun Facts

Picture 1This month, I thought to share some sales “fun facts” to get us all thinking of what we can do better to drive sales growth and success and move our companies forward.


Having the right people on your sales team is essential

  • Four out of every five salespeople a customer meets are mediocre, incompetent, or downright ineffective.
  • In a separate study, 69% of corporate buyers rated salespeople calling on them as “fair” to “poor.”
  • As a result, customers are impatient and do not give salespeople any slack
    • On average, a salesperson has only 12 minutes to establish credibility in an initial meeting. 

Having poor sales people is expensive

  • In a survey of thousands of salespeople and prospects, Forrester Research concluded that “89% of all sales calls fail.” (this means no advance forward or no win)
  • The average salesperson spends only 19% of their time actually selling with the majority of time spent providing support, resolving problems, doing administrative work, and (the biggie) traveling.
  • As such, for most companies, the all-in cost of an hour spent selling is about $380!
  • Combining these two data points and doing the math, this means that an hour spent successfully selling costs about $3450!!!


Picture 2To cost-effectively grow a sales territory, great customer service is crucial

  • It costs 5 times more to attract new customers vs. keeping old ones
  • 7 out of 10 customers who walk away, do so because of lack of service
  • The average customer tells 9 to 10 other people about a poor service experience
  • But, most customers will repeat buy if they feel that their customer service issue was resolved satisfactorily
    • And they will tell 5 – 8 people about the treatment they received


Still today, salespeople need to talk less and listen more

  • The industrial conglomerate, GE, asks its customers to evaluate GE’s salespeople. Year after year, the number one complaint:
    • “Your salespeople talk too much.”
  • According to a Wall Street Journal survey, when asked to identify the No. 1 problem of salespeople, nearly half of 432 corporate buyers surveyed recently said salespeople are “too talky.”
  • Our human minds are better able to multi-task when we are listening, but not when we are talking. Thus, if the customer is talking only then do we know that they are paying attention.


But, salespeople also need to ask for the order

  • “Surveys show that 62% of the time, just when the salesperson should be closing the sale, he or she never asks for the order.”


And salespeople need to be courteous and appreciative

  • A recent 10 year, 200,000 person study by leadership experts showed that saying “Thank You” to customers correlates with bigger profits. 


Finally, it is nice to know that sales managers are not immune from being poor performers

  • In a survey of executives, the biggest mistakes that sales managers make are:
    • 48% – not listening enough
    • 28% – taking over the meeting
    • 12%- using meeting time to train salespeople
    • 8% not asking the right questions.


Of course, your experience with sales may be different. But, I have a feeling that many of you are nodding your heads in agreement. The conclusion from all these fun facts is simple. Having excellent, passionate, well-organized, and knowledgeable listeners (who ask for the order) on your sales team is less expensive and far more profitable.


About David Shedd

David has been a President - CEO - COO of an up to $350M group of manufacturing, distribution, specialty retail and services companies, having led 22 different businesses from turnarounds to start-ups to fast growth companies.
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