Eye-opening sales statistics. But just a minute . . .

I was recently going through my collection of business research material when I came across a table of sales statistics published by the National Sales Executive Association.  I believe I first saw it on LinkedIn. See what you think:

  • 48% of sales people never follow up with a prospect
  • 25% of sales people make a second contact and stop
  • 12% of sales people only make three contacts and stop
  • Only 10% of sales people make more than three contacts
  • 2% of sales are made on the first contact
  • 3% of sales are made on the second contact
  • 5% of sales are made on the third contact
  • 10% of sales are made on the forth contact
  • 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact

Okay, so what do you think? Sound plausible to you? Think you can take it at face value and use it to gauge the performance of your shop’s sales effort?

Well, not so fast. First, there’s a valuable lesson to be learnt. And that lesson is to not take anything at face value, to consider the source, to do a little research, and to establish the credibility of the source and the material before you embrace it.

What?! It’s all BS?

For instance, check out these red flags . . .  “sales people” should be “salespeople” and “forth” should be “fourth”. But worse than that, there is no National Sales Executive Association. Askthemanager.com investigated the matter and wrote about it under the heading, “92.6% of LinkedIn Users Believe Made Up Statistics.”

The phoney Abraham Lincoln quote the author uses to make his point, does just that: “The problem with internet quotes is that you can’t always depend on their accuracy.” — Abraham Lincoln, 1864.

So, while you certainly should measure your shop’s sales methods and diligence against statistical norms, just consider the source first.