The process of sales is to start with the universe of ‘suspects’ who could possibly buy my product (here I can very creative in creating this universe, thinking laterally helps), then based on some criteria narrow it down to ‘prospects’ – these are persons with whom I will have to seek appointments (called approach), then I will spend some time (2-3 times) meeting these people, then get down to ‘negotiation’ then ‘close’ the deal and then get a cheque (order).

The conversion ratio for each stage is different for different industries. Say, the conversion ratio is 2:1 at each stage (S.P.A.N.C.O), this means for one order, I need two closes, 4 negotiations, 8 approaches, 16 prospects and 32 suspects.

As a poor sales man, I will create 32 suspects and then run though the sales cycle to get one order. Suppose this takes 14 days. If I, then, start the new cycle, I will get an order after 14 days. That means, in a 8 week program, like SIP, I will get 4 orders.

As a good salesman, I will

  • start day 1 with 32 suspects,
  • start day 2 with 32 new suspects and 16 prospects of day 1,
  • start day 3 with 32 new suspects, 16 prospects of day 2 and 8 approaches of day 1
  • start day 4 with 32 new suspects, 16 prospects of day 3 and 8 approaches of day 2 and 4 negotiations from day 1…etc.

This means every day I will have to spend time creating a new set of suspects and following up with the funnel of the previous days.

My sales is limited by

  • how I manage time each day
  • how fast I move from one stage to another, and
  • how good is my conversion ratio

To be a good sales person, I need to start thinking, check out the best sales person in my company, talk to him, accompany him …take short-cuts to learn the best practices.


If I am waiting in the reception, I should pick up my mobile and start finding out suspects and their details, start talking to prospects to get an appointment….

Good salespeople are NOT people with the gift of the gab, they are people who are focussed on their numbers.

  1. June 13, 2010

    >Its a good read. We follow our sales this way, Suspect , Prospect, Producing (who have paid / paying) and Dropped (will never pay, reasons are many)But how does one go on identifying more suspects ? when the product/service is a niche offering. We still need to expand the market and meet those numbers.

  2. June 13, 2010

    >as I said in the post, that is where creativity comes in. Focus on the benefits, specially pyschological, that your product brings. Then think about the entire universe who needs this benefit satisfied. Another way is to revisit the dropped. People drop out because of circumstances or their psuchological needs are not satisfied. I have found that a one year gap changes things.

  3. June 14, 2010

    >Thanks, yeah have started revisiting the dropped clients. Yeah, its true psychological matters the most.. Thanks

  4. July 18, 2010

    >good one, lots of insight but there is on more aspect of sales which destoys all ur calculation n thats Luck.Most of the time it happens that you appoach more that 32 but still dont get even a single closure. and sometime you end up closing 2 deals amongst 5 suspects.I am always confuse when it comes to time management in sales because we can manage our time but not others time. some time you have to wait for ur client 2-3 hours that to far away from city where you cant even do other call.More over even if client is even positive about ur deal he takes lots of time to take decesion and you have to follow him because you cant afford to loose such clients but if pipeline goes bit deeper then it becomes difficult to make new calls because all your time goes in follow up. and all ur pipeline customer end up closing the deal in singal week then you have to start fresh and once you start fresh it again takes lots of time to create a good pipeline… wht should we do about it??

  5. July 21, 2010

    >You have missed a lot of points. If 32 suspects result in 2 sales, your ratio is 1:16. So accordingly you have to generate more leads continuously. You seem to be starting a cycle with 32, waiting till it gets over and then starting again.If follow-up is a large part of the sales cycle, you need to modify the sales cycle to put in follow-up #1, follow-up #2 etc as stages.You have a mobile phone so while you are waiting, travelling, why are you not calling people at all stages of the cycles? Waiting time is a part of life. the question is, why is your life at hold during that time….

  6. July 23, 2010

    >Ya ..I actually wait to finish one cycle and then I move on to next…..thanx for pointing my mistake

  7. August 9, 2010

    >Great point. The law of ratios work well in Sales. Going by the ratio here, every call made results in a fraction of sale irrespective of the outcome of that call. So the point is make as many number of (proper) calls and the sales numbers will fall in place. Also I was thinking, humans start selling right from birth (knowingly or unknowingly). A child sells himself to grab attention, a youth sells himself to attract opposite sex, for job I sell myself through resume and interview. Also for marriage I need to sell myself at the ebays of marriage market and the list goes on. But still, generally, people are averse to sales profession; may be because of the fear of rejection or failure.


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