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Quiz: How Many Times Should You Call a Prospect?

Your time is valuable, so you don't want to waste it following up leads that aren't going to pan out. On the other hand, you don't want to abandon possible opportunities before you know whether they're real. How much effort is appropriate?

I asked that question of John Asher, chairman and CEO of the sales training firm Asher Strategies. He cited a research study that determined the average number of contacts (calls, emails, and visits) required before the average B2B opportunity reaches the point where you KNOW it's real and there's a possibility of closing the deal.

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The correct answer is 12.

If you picked a smaller number, don't feel too bad, because you've got a lot of company. According to Asher, when confronted with a B2B sales lead, most sales reps give up after 3 or 4 communications and move to the next opportunity.

As a result, they end up working on a large number of opportunities that have a low probability of closing rather than a smaller number of opportunities that have a high probability of closing.

The best way to correct for this mistake is to track the number of communication that you actually make over a broad range of opportunities and come up with your own "average" figure.

That way you'll know if you're spending enough time (or too much time) on any one opportunity.

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