One question I am asked regularly is what is the best time to prospect, be that of day, time of week, etc. While trying to avoid the word depends, there are some variables that will impact the answer. But what many are really looking for for is that secret answer, “call them at 4:33 on a the third Tuesday of the month, except I. A leap year, then it’s 4:36″.
While with some potential prospects there may be times that will yield more results, I believe it is not a good idea to look for one time over another, especially when that time is selected anecdotally, based on superstition, or as a means of avoiding the activity altogether. I say this not to be cynical, but because I have seen people target a specific time, and then refuse to make calls at any other time.
Some sellers tell me emphatically that “you can’t prospect on Monday mornings, no way no how”. Their rationale is that people are just getting back to work after the weekend and “have their minds on other important things”. But when is that not the case given all the things the average business person has to juggle? As with many things, there two side to every coin, I find my target audience uses the weekend to decompress, and on Monday are open to the right suggestion(s) as to how to move sales and salespeople forward, for me Monday mornings have proven to be productive. I have also had just as many people swear that Friday afternoons are the best, as those who tell me its the worst.
Some struggle to strike a balance between their own habits and those of their targets. Many sales pundits will insist that you should prospect first thing in the day, giving a bounce to your day, allowing you to spend the rest of it selling. The theory is sound, in practice it is not alway so. I worked with an industrial supply company, they had a great work ethic, their manager instilled a prospecting discipline, on the phone from 7:45 am to 9:00 am, every day. Their conversion rate from conversation to appointment was great, but they were finding it difficult to connect to have the conversations. When I got involved we stepped back and focused on the work habits of their target group, senior people in plant management and operations. What surfaced was that many of these people were either out on the “shop floor”, or in operations meetings first thing in the morning, around the same time my client’s team was diligently calling. Further, we learned that many of the targets were back in their office around 10:00 am, filling out reports, etc.
As a result of this I had them switch their “calling time” to 10:00 am; their conversion of conversation to appointment continued to be great, but their call to conversation rate tripled. This increased the number of appointments to record levels, but had the added benefit of reducing the amount of time they actually had to spend on the activity. Think of it as a “double double” of prospecting. As with all things sales, it is so much better to view the world through the buyer’s eyes.
Given that there are more ways to communicate with buyers than ever, there less reason than ever to think of “best times” to prospect. Given that you can send an e-mail or LiknkedIn inmail any time, or that you can schedule e-mail to go out at a pre-scheduled time, you are no longer tied to time, A well placed voicemail in off hours can yield great returns, without it impacting your “selling time”. Rather than spending energy to pinpoint the ultimate time to call, use that energy to create quality talking points for when you connect.
Unless you are doing something specific and measurable to realize revenue, (a retweet does not count), the best time to prospect is now.