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How many times should sales people call a prospect?

Recently, the LinkedIn Sales 2.0 Group featured an interesting discussion thread about salesperson persistence in the face of continuing, even exaggerated prospect unresponsiveness.  While there are no easy, pat answers for this issue, it’s worth each salesperson’s time to develop a point of view and specific tactics to deal with those important prospects who could easily be mistaken for a stone wall.

“How Long Should You Continue to Call On a Prospect That Doesn’t Call You Back?”

In our Sales Training programs we talk about this all the time. Three points we make on this are that:

1) people these days very often simply do not return calls.

2) given that tendency, there is no way to know why they are not returning your call.

3) given that reality, don’t give up — keep trying, don’t feel limited to the traditional limit of three calls, and, of course, remember to be sensitive in how you handle the messages.

I have finally reached prospects after over 10 calls, and one recently said, when he finally took my call, “I have gotten all your messages, thanks for your follow up, and yes let’s set up a time to meet”. I had a major new client recently say, when I asked him why we won the business, that the main reason we got started with him was that I kept calling (I called him over 10 times before connecting); he very rarely returns calls he admitted and the other partners he was considering gave up.