When Should You Stop Trying to Sell?
In the early 1900s, A. Joseph Newman, General Sales Manager, Bayuk Cigars, Inc., Philadelphia, had an original method of helping his company’s distributors.
Under a pen name, Frank Trufax (true facts) he wrote a series of letters to imaginary salesmen in which he discussed very real problems.
Here’s one example I managed to find
To My Salesmen:
I was looking over the orders the other day and I saw one from a dealer whom we had not been selling for at least a year.
I am not going to tell you why he stopped buying but I am going to tell you that I was tickled pink to see him back on our books once again.
Our little selling-fool, Billy Keepatem, put it over—yes, he did. Hats off to Keepatem, boys!
Well, Bill, how did you do it? said I to Bill at first opportunity.
Nothing wonderful about it, Mr. Trufax, replied Bill. That dealer sells a lot of stuff and I thought if he was worth going after, he was worth keeping after. I’ve been calling on him regularly once a week for nine months and well, I landed him. That’s all there is to it.
Did you get that one pithy phrase Bill pulled: If he was worth going after, he was worth keeping after?
Manoman, there’s the salient secret of selling success!
If a dealer is worth going after to sell, he is worth keeping after until he is sold.
Let’s all shoot that in our arms, boys, because that’s doggone good dope.
And that brings up two interesting queries. Here they are:
- How many calls do salesmen make before they quit calling?
- How often does a salesman call before the dealer buys?
Now, get me right, boys. I didn’t personally conduct the investigation to get the answers to these two questions and I don’t want to be facetious when I say I didn’t get up the dictionary either, but there’s where I went to find out if I could get away with that wicked word facetious. It is just as important to know where to find knowledge as it is to have knowledge.
Well, anyway, the investigation was carefully made and here are the findings:
Answering the first question
- 48.2 salesmen made 1 call and quit
- 24.4 salesmen made 2 calls and quit
- 14.7 salesmen made 3 calls and quit
- 12.7 salesmen made 4 or more calls,
Go over those figures once again, boys, they’re intensely interesting.
Then clear your mind to get the full shock of this body-blow of an answer to the second question:
Sixty percent of the sales made were on or after the fifth call!
This investigation, of course, proves very little conclusively but it does emphasise this one thing:
Eighty-eight percent of the salesmen automatically eliminated themselves from consideration of sixty per cent of the business because they quit before the dealer had been brought up to the buying point.
Boys, I don’t want you to waste time watering dead plants but I do want you to keep digging around the live ones.
You can never tell when the No, not today will change into Yes, send ’em along.
It may be on the fifth call; it may be on the fiftieth call, but as Billy Keepatem says:
If a dealer is worth going after, he’s worth keeping after.
These figures just go to show there’s nothing new under the sun: they knew these things in the early 1900s, and earlier.
Think about how that knowledge can help when you’re emailing your list or snail mailing a direct mail list you thought was dead.