How many calls should it take to make a sale?

The number of calls you make per sale depends on the level of buy-in your customer has. The risk associated with what you are selling. And the approach you apply for each conversation.

Salespeople that go for the jugular on every call may get the odd quick win here and there, but more often than not a measured approach is more effective.

I have a saying, “Keep the lines tight!” My father is a mad fisherman and he taught me everything I know about fishing. One of my first lessons was always “keep the line tight”. This means when you get a fish on your line don’t give it any slack to throw the hook.

In sales the same principle applies. When you get a good opportunity don’t give the customer an excuse to go cold or lose interest. Keep the lines of communication tight, and ensure you are following up methodically and leading the customer via your engagement process.

I received another pearl from my old mentor, Big Kev. One of his principles was never judge a book by a cover. Don’t try and guess if someone is a potential buyer or not. Instead initiate a conversation that leads with a genuine interest in them. Have a process you know works, don’t question it and always stick to it!

Here are some metrics on Calls to Sales. Keep in mind there are exceptions to every rule and of course different horses for different courses.

  • 1% of sales are made on the first contact.
  • 2% of sales are made on the second contact.
  • 5% of sales are made on the third contact.
  • 12% of sales are made on the fourth contact.
  • 80% of sales are made on the fifth contact (or above).

Most salespeople give up after the second and third contact. You can see from above how that approach limits their results. Conversely, please don’t make calls for the sake of making calls ? that’s called harassment!

One of the most effective methods to help you understand how many calls you make should is to measure your empirical data. This data should reveal some ‘magic’ numbers.

How many calls on average do you conduct to make a sale? What is the best-case call scenario? What is the worst case? Which metrics translated into happy and profitable customers? Which created dissatisfied ones?

In my own business the magic number is five (a combination of email, face and phone). How many calls you make is up to you, just make sure you’re sticking to a tested and successful follow-up process and the sales should follow through.

For more Selling Strategies advice, click here.

Trent Leyshan is the founder and CEO of BOOM Sales! a leading sales training and sales development specialist. He is also the creator of The NAKED Salesman, BOOMOLOGY! RetroService, and the Empathy Selling Process.


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
SmartCompany Plus

Sign in

To connect a sign in method the email must match the one on your SmartCompany Plus account.
Or use your email
Forgot your password?

Want some assistance?

Contact us on: or call the hotline: +61 (03) 8623 9900.