Mark Dembo

Article Summary:

How knowing your numbers make all the difference to your success when cold calling.

Cold Calling: Know Your Numbers to Succeed

Even with all the high-tech prospecting and marketing tools available today, cold-calling is still one of the most effective ways to build your business.

At the same time, it’s also one of the least-liked and most-feared aspects of selling. If you make cold calls as a regular part of your work, or if you are looking to build your business – can you answer the question “How many cold calls do you make each day?

If you do have a specific number in mind – congratulations! You’re in the minority. But why that number of calls? (And by the way — are they true cold calls, or are they calls you have been repeating by calling the same people over and over again?)
Why do you do what you do each selling day? What are your daily targets… and why do you shoot for those numbers as opposed to any other numbers?

Let me tell you what we do in our business. Every day I will make fifteen cold calls. That is, fifteen calls to people I’ve never spoken with before. When I dial the phone fifteen times, I’ll talk to seven people. I’ll set one new appointment. (15:7:1)

I do this five days a week. Usually I’ll go back a second or third time to 3 of the appointments each week, so I have 8 appointments the next week. If I sell 1 out of 8 appointments (some of those are second or third visits) every week, and I do that for 50 weeks, I would have 1 new sale per week, or 50 new accounts per year. (assuming 2 weeks for vacation)

Why do I make 15 calls per day? That’s what I need to get to my number, 50.

Fifty sales a year is my annual goal. I need to make the 15 calls a day to make that happen. Those numbers — 15, 7, and 1 — aren’t right numbers or wrong numbers, they’re not good numbers or bad numbers, they’re simply my numbers. They support my goal.

You probably have a number like mine. (50 new accounts per year) You have a goal or a quota. If you’re like most salespeople that number was given to you by management. If you’re smart, or highly motivated, you may have come up with a number on your own that is significantly higher than the number your boss gave you.

Is your prospecting goal clearly defined? Is it written down? Do you focus on it, or visualize it, morning and evening? Relax — we’re not going to cover goal setting here. (That’s a subject for another article) The important thing to know is that your goal (or quota) is useless unless you know what it is and know the numbers and ratios that will support it.

While all the numbers in my ratios are important (15:7:1, 8:1, 50 accounts) probably the most important one is that first number, 15. I know that if I dial the phone 15 times every day that when the end of the year rolls around I will have opened up 50 new accounts. It’s as simple, and as crucial, as that.

Another important thing to note is that by knowing your numbers, you know what you’re doing well and what needs to be improved. Let’s assume for a moment that my numbers are your numbers. (I know they’re probably not, but let’s say they are for the sake of argument). If we look at the first ratio, 15:7, we see that for every 15 times you dialed the phone you spoke with 7 people. (we call that ratio Dials to Completed Calls).

Can you improve that ratio? Sure! By becoming better at getting past the gatekeeper you’ll speak with more decision makers. By leaving better voice mails, you’ll get more decision makers to call you back.

If you speak with more people, you’ll set more appointments. By setting more appointments you’ll meet with more people, and the numbers will always show that by meeting with more people you’ll make more sales.

In fact, by improving any of your ratios, you’ll close more business and deliver more revenue for you, your family and your company. If, however, you don’t know your ratios it’s nearly impossible to know what needs to be improved or to tell whether or not something new you’re trying is actually working.

In order to be successful in sales you must know your ratios.
What are your daily activity numbers… and why?
How does your activity support your daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly sales goal?
Is there room for improvement? If so, where?
And what will you do to cause that improvement?

If you can’t answer those questions, it’s time to start tracking YOUR numbers.

Mark Dembo; President, Lexien Management Consultants. Mark has over 20 years of sales, sale management, and business development experience, focused on improving the performance of individuals and organizations. Lexien Management Consultants provides sales training, consulting, and coaching services to organizations and individuals who are motivated to grow their businesses. Lexien works with companies in a wide range of industries including technology, financial services, media and publishing, public relations, telecommunications, and professional services, Mark also publishes the weekly Sales Success Newsletter. You can contact Mark at 914-682-2069, or at

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