We are all salespeople. Like it or not, we are selling every day all day—from convincing our kids what to wear (or not wear) to school today to selling yourself that the steak looks really good, but I know I should be eating a salad, or buying one new outfit over another. To be successful in sales in today’s sponsorship industry (or anywhere for that matter), we need to use all available tools.
One of the greatest tools is to understand some of the statistics around sales and sales cycles. For instance, as a company we know that, on average, the timeline between when we first meet a new prospect (be that at a conference, a call into us, or a cold call) to the time we sign a contract for services, is about 36 months. Some happen in a few months, but with others, it can be six to eight years. However, based on the last 18 years in business, we know the average timeline is 36 months. Knowing that allows us to understand where clients might be in the sales cycle. It also puts less pressure on us to “close” the deal prematurely. Additionally, it reminds us that we need to keep filling the funnel today if we want to eat in three years!
Statistics and data are important for sales success. Do you know what your organization’s sales cycle timeline is? Do you know how long it takes you to implement a sponsorship from the date of signing to the date of launch? If you know this, you can decide if it is right to sign a deal, because if you typically need eight months between signing and launch to get everything in place and you only have 90 days to do this one, it should send up red flags.
A few months ago, I was delivering a half-day workshop on “Building a Sales Culture within Your Organization” at a conference in Edmonton. When I posted the statistic that, in 2007, it took 3.68 cold calls to reach a prospect—yes, just to reach a prospect—they gasped. When I told them that, in 2018, just over a decade later, it now takes eight attempts or over twice as many tries, they were even more dumbfounded. As one person said, “If they don’t return my call or email after a couple of attempts, I drop them.” She and her organization know better now. Don’t give up until after at least eight attempts! Such statistics and readily available data are important to be successful in sales.
According to HubSpot, subject lines in emails that are 3-4 words long get more responses than short or longer subject lines. Know from this that the optimal amount of words in a subject line is three to four!
Based on a recent Neilson study, prospects are four times more likely to buy when referred by a friend. That should push you way harder to make sure your cold calls become warm calls through a referral. That referral can be from a member of the board, or someone who is on your hockey team, in your book club or yoga class. Truly understand that a referral makes a difference.
To be successful in sales, you need to know the background data. Each of these stats above are tools and tidbits that you can absorb and put into practice to be more successful. Now, go get a meeting!
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