116 brilliant start-up
The first time someone hears about your business, they have
Awareness. They’re not ready to buy.
The second time they hear about it, it might have
heightened to Interest (or, better yet, they are Intrigued).
They are still not buying though.
The third time they hear, they might have actual Desire for
your product or service. Almost there!
But only on the fourth contact will they finally take any
Some people add a fifth stage before Action of Convincing’.
It’s probably right, but it messes up my nice acronym so I’ve
ignored it.
This translates into a startling fact:
80 per cent of sales come after the fourth contact you make with a
The important thing is that you keep plugging away at your
sales prospects. Don’t automatically try to close the sale on
your first contact. But also dont
give up if they don’t bite first time.
This process also applies to market-
ing (of which more in Step 16).
Many start-ups make the mistake of putting a massive amount
of money into a single piece of marketing, such as a leaflet or
a press advert. Then they sit back to wait for the customers to
roll in. The mail shot might have done a great job at aware-
ness’ or even ‘interest’, but to close the sale (get any ‘action’),
you’re going to have to knock on that door yourself.
Work out your ‘snog to slap’ ratio
As any Casanova at your local nightclub will tell you, you’ve
got to get your face slapped a few times.
don’t give up if they don’t
bite first time
Get selling 117
My hit rate is seven. It takes me seven calls before I get through
to someone. Of these connections, one in seven will turn into a
lead. Of these seven, one will convert into a sale. So from now
on in life, if I’m pitching anything to anyone, I always make
sure I have a minimum of seven alternatives.
I don’t believe I am uniquely rubbish as a sales person, it’s just
the way of the world. The secret is to always have options up
your sleeve, and not fret about the no’s – they all take you closer
to the yes. The faster you can get through them, the better.
Get a sales funnel
Sales professionals talk about their ‘sales funnel’. This is a pool
of prospects and different stages of sale. An entrepreneur I
knew used to describe this as a barrel filled with water. So long
as he kept adding to it, it would overflow a little bit at a time.
So your job in sales is not always to be winning work, but it is
to be moving people down your sales funnel. Work out what
your ratio of calls is, then set this as your weekly call target.
You’ll be amazed that after a week of getting nowhere, the
phone will ring with a client calling you (it does happen!), or
someone says, ‘It’s just what I’m looking for, how on earth did
brilliant example
Now I think about it, my mate Paul also snogged the second girl I fancied,
Carol. I’d fancied her from afar for years but not said anything. Paul came
to stay for the weekend and before I knew it, the two of them were getting
smoochy – again!
I couldn’t believe it. I asked Paul his secret. After all, he looks like a gorilla.
He said, ‘I ask.’ That’s the difference. It doesn’t matter if some say no, sooner
or later you’ll get a yes or two. But you won’t if you never ask.

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