Sales Training Speaker Rates Sales Prospecting Training

Dec 4 20:57 2006 Jeff Hardesty Print This Article

Is Sales Prospecting Training a Key Element to Your Sales Results?

Have you identified the key sales performance indicators that are dragging you down?  I conduct Sales Performance Evaluator™ web-cast meetings across the country to help sales management diagnose were they are weak and were they are strong,Guest Posting all pointing to unique systematic training processes to gain more sales revenue in less time.  The evaluation is based on real sales performance numbers in line with revenue objectives, so it’s ultimately an objective review versus a subjective approach.

My findings show that 90% of the time the sales force under the 'sales performance microscope' is not achieving enough new sales appointments to have a ‘right to win’ in line with their sales objectives.Simply put, they are not putting enough logs on the fire to keep it burning.

Simply put, they are not putting enough logs on the fire to keep it burning.

Does your sales force ‘put enough logs on the fire’ in line with your current key sales performance indicators and your sales objective? If they are not, you should be looking closely at what I term the #1 sales competency in sales; the conversation-to-appointment ratio.

Let’s take a close look at the Conversation-to-Appointment ratio.  This is the number of conversations it takes to generate a single sales appointment.  Most sales organizations do not measure, let alone emphasize or train around the “Conversation-to-Appointment Ratio.”  Most do not know what it means.

Consider your own Conversation-to-Appointment Ratio.  I’ve asked hundreds of sales professionals, “What is your conversation-to-appointment ratio?  The typical answer (after a bunch of back and forth) is about 10-25 prospecting conversations will yield 1-2 sales appointments.   That’s a 4-20% success ratio. 

And that equates to a lot of prospecting conversations and a lot of time to achieve enough new business sales appointments each week to be successful.  In fact, the sales management leaders that have gone through my sales performance Evaluator™ sessions spend 40%-60% of their time on sales prospecting activities and are still coming up short on their sales appointment generation barometer.

So, why is the Conversation to Appointment Ratio a core competency?  First, it is a skill set that is measurable around an essential sales competency, with the objective of introducing some education or value to a specific individual or group.  It initiates your selling process.  Whether you are initiating a conversation by telephone, physically cold calling, chatting in the elevator, or yelling from rooftop to rooftop, it is a critical communication skill that is essential to a salesperson’s success.

Bottom line, if you’re not proficient at communicating the ‘Business Reason to Meet’ to a business person, you’ll continue to strike at home plate and never get the chance to run the bases.

Your required new appointment sets per week are a by-product of your current performance numbers and competency ratios.  Your conversation to appointment ratio is directly linked to how much time you spend acquiring those appointments. 

Most sales organizations measure and manage around activities such as:

- Collect 50 business cards per day- Knock on 35 doors a day- ‘Cold call’ 25 businesses a day- Complete 100 “dials” per day

I once had a sales executive tell me he did not need any sales prospecting training because he was satisfied with his ‘System’ of prospecting.   That ‘system’ was mandating his sales reps to at least ‘100 dials a day’.  I asked him what appointment conversion ratio he achieved when sales prospect conversations occurred with a targeted sales prospect.He advised me that that did not matter, the important part was ‘getting in the dials’ each day.  That’s like telling an Indy driver not to worry about the lap times… just make sure you ‘get in the laps’.

You see, none of the above activities qualify as an essential core competency.  Since they are not directly linked to revenue, these activities would fall under the category of data base procurement, or what I call a “Targeted Selection Process.”A target list is certainly a necessary ingredient in the sales process, but it would not qualify as an essential competency. 

There are (3) sales performance opportunities that Sales Prospecting Training can measurably help your sales results.  These same sales performance opportunities can turn into sales performance issues reflecting negative factors that adversely affect a sales organization’s culture and sales performance. 

One is Sales Employee Turnover.  There is a measurable hard dollar cost to turnover, and much of it is caused by not generating enough ‘at bats’ to have a chance to succeed. 

Another is New-hire training.  The main objective of new-hire sales training should be to facilitate the new sales hire to full sales quota by a pre-determined amount of time.  But is it?  Is yours?  Are you able to walk a new sales employee through a step-by-step process to ramp-to-quota by month ‘X’?

What about sub-par sales quota attainment?  What percentage of your sales reps are achieving sales quota per month?  Of the ones that are not, what key sales performance competency, if trained to effectively, would allow a higher percentage of sales reps to meet that objective more often?Many times the key sales performance competency is setting new sales appointments; more often, more targeted and in less time.

Another way to put it is that Your Front End Activity is Directly Proportionate to Your End Sales Results.

Here is a perfect example of how it played out for a sales force of 120 reps.  After a diagnostic evaluation of their key sales performance indicators in line with the sales objective, it was determined the clearest path to improvement was to focus on setting new appointments – getting more opportunities in front of targeted sales prospects.  They did it by training to an improved appointment conversion ratio so they could achieve more sales appointments in less time.  The results speak for themselves.

Over an eight-month period, they increased their Conversation-to-Appointment Ratio from 8% to 80%.  Their average number of new business appointments per rep increased six-fold.  And they enjoyed a 507% increase in unit sales.More sales reps reached quota more often, new hire sales reps ramped to full quota in less time and sales employee turnover due to low sales appointment activity dropped off the map.

So whether it’s meeting your overall sales revenue objectives, reducing the hard-dollar cost of sales employee turnover, or ramping your new-hire sales reps to quota in less time, take a close look at your key sales performance indicators to see where your ship is leaking, and plug the main leak with targeted sales performance and sales skill improvement training.

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About Article Author

Jeff Hardesty
Jeff Hardesty

Jeff Hardesty is a National sales speaker, Sales performance improvement consultant and the Developer of the X2 Sales System®, a blended sales prospecting training system that teaches sales professionals the competency of setting targeted C-level business appointments. Jeff can be reached at

Submit your sales performance numbers and receive a complimentary Sales performance Check-up with Jeff and a 15-minute Evaluator web-cast complete with (3) Sales Performance Improvement Blueprints @



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