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The Battle Between Instant Gratification And Discipline

Google "How many touches does it take to get a prospect to call me back?”, and you will get a variety of answers ranging from the early teens to low 20’s.

A lot of factors go into this such as “How effective is your message?” and/or “Where are they in the decision-making process around your service?” to name a couple.

Butler Street Research shows that on average, it takes 11.5 touches for a prospect to engage in dialogue. This doesn’t mean a meeting has been set or a sale has been made, this just means the person has responded to your messaging.

Regardless of the number of touches needed, all sales reps (Gen X, Millennials, Baby Boomers, etc.) need three things to succeed in sales today: 1. a strategic touch plan 2. effective and differentiating messaging and 3. discipline.

Too often, sales reps do not receive the instant gratification of conversational dialogue and try to move on to the "next quick thing".

Strategic Touch Plan

Sales reps today need a touch plan (at least 12-16 weeks). A touch plan that has been strategically created and is accessible to the whole group. My entire life I have been a procrastinator or a “wing it” type of guy but I quickly realized this will only get me so far in sales. Early in my career, I would move on to a different prospect after the 3rd or 4th touch, thinking “If they were truly interested, they would have said something by now.” It also didn’t help to see my teammates having success while I was struggling to get a simple response to an email or call. Self-doubt and pressure to perform caused me to look for quick wins rather than build a brand/relationship. Now, knowing the average of 11.5 touches for a prospect to engage in conversation, I think back to how many times I missed an opportunity simply because I did not have a detailed touch plan in place.

Effective and Differentiated Messaging

A touch plan is only part of the solution when looking for success in sales. My next learning (successful failure) in this area was creating effective messaging. It is easy to put together a 12-week/16 touch plan, but after the 8th or 9th touch, I started to struggle with what type of voicemail or email I was going to leave. It is a necessity to make sure that every touch in your plan has consistent and value-adding messaging.

Also make a note that when you are leaving a voicemail for the 8th or 9th time, it can be easy to lack energy and anticipate that your prospect will not be answering. Always be prepared for the individual to answer your phone call!


The last and final piece of this is discipline. Warren Buffet once said:

“Successful investing takes time, discipline and patience. No matter how great the talent or effort, some things just take time.”

The same applies to sales. At first, I only focused on quick wins rather than building a relationship. I remember the frustration of not getting A RESPONSE from anyone after 50 calls or emails and thinking I either need 50 new prospects or I should not be in sales. I am very competitive and to not see immediate results after putting in that work was hard. It wasn’t until I was forced to have discipline around a 12-week touch plan AND consistent effective messaging that I started to see continuous success. I still experience the highs and lows of sales, but discipline has helped build stability and increased win ratios around my pipeline.

If you choose to engage with Butler Street, you will see an immediate impact in all three of these areas. You will see the value of having a touch plan for your team, an increase in effective messaging whether it be a voicemail or email, and personal/professional growth due to discipline. Contact us to get started.

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