When’s the best time to call prospects?

by on August 29, 2011 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Top Sales Dog

Brenda and Charlie are two sales reps at the same company. On average, Brenda gets about 50 percent more appointments than Charlie.

Charlie’s leads are just as good as Brenda’s. He makes just as many calls. And he’s just as persistent about following them up. So what’s Brenda’s secret?

It’s simple, actually. She knows when to call.

Intuitively, everybody knows that some times are better than others for reaching prospects. Even so, we tend to make calls based on our own schedule, not prospects’ schedules. We’ll block out, say, every Tuesday morning for prospecting, and feel good about how disciplined we are. But Tuesday morning may be a lousy time to reach buyers.

So when should you call? Every market is unique, of course, but consider these intriguing findings from an MIT study that compiled data from thousands of B-to-B sales calls across a variety of industries:

  • Early birds do well. As you’d expect, contact rates were high in the hour between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. and drop off as you get closer to noon.
  • But earlier birds do even better. Contact rates were actually higher between 8 and 9 a.m. – before the workday officially began.
  • And late birds do best of all. The highest contact rates came between 4 and 5 p.m. And the second-highest were between 5 and 6 p.m.

Also, by the way, Tuesday was the worst day to call. So if you’re blocking out Tuesday mornings to prospect, you may be facing a pretty stiff headwind.

Create your own “Time Optimization Plan”
Of course, your peak times may be different. The only way to know is to track your own calls and analyze the results. You can use that analysis to create a personal “time optimization plan” that could get you a lot more appointments for the time you’re putting in. Use this spreadsheet to begin:

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Make prospecting calls on different days and at different times of day (not just between 9 and 5), and record your results on the spreadsheet. You may not see any obvious patterns right away, but as you accumulate data over weeks or months, you can learn which time slots perform best for you.

To accelerate the analysis, encourage other salespeople in your organization to track their contact rates as well and pool the data (assuming your colleagues are calling on the same types of prospects as you).

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