Statistics on The Importance of Sales Follow-up? Or Can You Believe Everything You Read on the Internet?

It has been a while since I wrote an original blog post and I was brain-storming for ideas by thinking about my own business and what is the most successful marketing strategy I use. When I compared all of my marketing activities I identified “following up” as one of the key ways I grow my business. For example:

  1. I follow-up on proposals in a timely manner and more than once if required.
  2. I respond to email inquiries right away.
  3. I return phone calls promptly.
  4. I provide prompt estimates when asked.

Can You Believe Everything You Read on the Internet?

So I got to searching for stats about the importance of follow-up and I found a widely quoted study by the National Sales Executive Association. This study was quoted on hundreds of websites as if they had actually seen the study, but what started out as a blog post about “following up on prospects” turned into an expose on the integrity of quoting from a study that is not available from an organization that I cannot even find after 30 minutes of searching the internet!

Can anyone tell me who is the National Sales Executive Association and where can I read this study?

I have published the results below as everyone else has and the statistics might be true and useful, but if you ask me there is no real source so therefore take them with a grain of salt.

  • 2% of sales are made on the 1st contact
  • 3% of sales are made on the 2nd contact
  • 5% of sales are made on the 3rd contact
  • 10% of sales are made on the 4th contact 20%
  • 80% of sales are made on the 5th – 12th contact 100%

Then it went on to say:

  • 48% of sales people never follow up with a prospect
  • 25% of sales people make a second contact and stop
  • Only 10% of sales people make more than three contacts

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Ian Brodie says:

    Hi Mike – strangely enough I found your post because I’m doing exactly the same search myself.

    As far as I can see, the “National Sales Executive Association” does not and never has existed.

    The numbers have a ring of truth to them. But of course, they’re gross generalisations. in some sectors like retail, the sales is usually made on the first contact (personally, if I’m going to buy a chocolate bar I tend not to visit the shop 6 times first…).


    1. Bill Stetar says:

      The quoting of statistics from a legitimate-sounding organization (National Sales Executive Association) rings of other widely quoted, undocumented and unattributable stats that educators and learning professionals (including government websites) often use in declaring what percentage of information learners retain via assorted teaching methods:
      5%: Lecture
      10%: Reading
      20%: Audio-Visual
      30%: Demonstration
      50%: Discussion
      75%: Practice Doing
      90%: Teaching Others
      You’ll see the source is often cited as the result of research conducted by National Training Laboratories in Betel, Maine. While NTL is a “real” organization, they have been unable to produce the research that backs up the purported data.

      A respected researcher, Dr. Will Thalheimer, among many others, have busted that myth, but people keep swallowing it hook, line, and sinker.

  2. Hi guys

    Did you got any further on this interesting hoax-like statistics, which might be true 😉

  3. Rachel says:

    Hello! This is so funny, I also found your post because I wanted a link to that study for an article Im writing about Email Marketing. Thanks for the heads up about the study.
    ~ Rachel

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