How Many Sales Calls Do You Make In a Day?

A few weeks ago, I posted a survey on the landing page of both my weekly sales tips and “Short Attention Span Webinars.” There were 10 questions regarding sales activity and the reward for participating was a copy of a white paper, titled “Why Aren’t You Selling More?”

I finally got enough completed surveys and a spare moment to summarize the answers and tally some averages. When I did, there were a few surprises…

• On a scale of 1 to 10, I asked people to rate their sales efforts. That is, how hard are they working at growing their sales? I thought the average answer of 7.26 was lower than it should have been.

• On average, respondents reported ending up in voice mail an average of 67 percent of the time. That strikes me as low as well, to be honest, but then I was counting ALL calls, not just cold calls, so maybe that’s accurate. Hard to say.

• But the biggest surprise came in the answers to this question: “How many sales calls do you make, on average, on a given day? (Count phone calls and live visits to new and existing accounts. Voice mails count. E-mails do not.)” The average number worked out to be 11.9 calls.


Are you trying to tell me that you make nearly 12 sales calls a day as defined above? 12? You make 12 calls? You are prepared to look me in the eye and stand by that number? Seriously?

  • Tooth fairy? I believe in you.
  • Santa? Duh!
  • Mitt Romney’s teeth have never been whitened? I’m in.
  • Gisele was either going to marry me or Tom Brady? I tell myself that one daily.

But I’m going to have to see some solid evidence before I accept 11.9 calls or get a logical explanation of what is going on.

As a 30 year sales veteran, Bill has the perspective of a been-there, done-that sales rep in the commercial print arena. Following sales fundamentals and giving unapologetically "old school" advice, he writes and speaks in an entertaining fashion to make his points to sales people and owners who sell. "Bill Farquharson will drive your sales momentum."
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  • rynmcmns

    I think about working smarter, not harder. 12 calls a day sounds like its on the harder end of the spectrum. I would like to know one additional piece of data and that is the QUALITY of a call. Anyone can pound the phones and get to 12 voicemails. Over the past year I have seen an influx in lead generation and list sales emails. There is alot of junk in these lists and even the best lists are filled with numbers that get you to the front desk.

    I would also like to know the percentage of follow up emails (email after you leave a voicemail) that are actually returned. My guess is 1 in 10, maybe even less.

  • Tom Plain

    A printing telemarketing group where I used to work required 40 to 50 calls per day to actually reach 10 people. It had to be an active connection to count. No voice mail. My guess is your 12/day-ers are also counting email encounters and maybe voice mails. This seems to be the preferred way many production managers communicate.

  • Dave Pilcher

    Sales is a numbers game. Anyone who says otherwise is trying to sell you something. Quality of the call is important but consistent calling, utilizing time management so you call at the right times of the day and focusing on goals in regards to # of cold calls and # of prospects you can keep on your radar is necessary. In the end billed dollars is the most important number so if sell more with less calls the proof is in the pudding. . . but I find it’s a rare thing to have less effort equate better results.

  • CanonKelly

    The samples are different, in that your sales challenege participants are signed up and required to check in with you on a regular basis – that accountability is one of the cornerstones of increasing sales. The other group is giving themselves more credit and inflating their numbers -(wishful thinking – that’s the number they should be making and want to be making. that’s my take. I don’t buy it. 12? No way!

  • Barbara Walter

    Okay, but they would have to count every time they talk to a new or existing customer! To be real, sometimes I will talk to a new customer about a project several times in one day working out details, but I don’t count each time I speak with them that day as a sales call! Seriously! Some of my colleagues don’t think we should count calling existing customers…however my thoughts are if you don’t keep in touch, they may not be your customer for long.
    Good column!~

  • Kim Becker

    How would you handle a manager who is insisting on 300 calls (phone calls, no kidding) a week. 60 a day? I have been doing sales a long time and in what universe is this a good goal? They reason that this allows an ample 7.5 min per call – any notes can be taken while on the phone? I am in a pickle and could use some advice on how to handle this dilemma. In what universe is quantity a substitute for quality?