I used to drive a 1973 Plymouth Duster which was a light cream color and had a white vinyl roof.

It had no air conditioning, but had a great stereo with big Bose Speakers.

I remember driving down Walnut Avenue in the summer of 1978 with the windows down, loudly playing Jackson Browne’s, Running On Empty.  I was singing along, which I’m sure was a sight to behold!

Suddenly, my car slowed down and my engine began to stall.  I happened to look at my gas gauge.  Yes, I had just ran out of gas while listening to Running On Empty. 

The irony was not lost on me. 🙂

I was a responsible, 19 year old, college student who had been working full time each summer since I was 14.  I saw that I needed gas on the day before.  And yet, there I was sitting on the side of the road because I had forgotten to follow up – and my tank was empty.

There is a term for sales people who fail to follow up.  That term is former sales people.

As a rule, the average sale is closed on the 3rd to 5th attempt.  Unfortunately, only around 20% of sales people make a minimum of 3 attempts to do so.  And less than 10% make it all the way to the 5th call.  That is why 20% of all sales people make 80% of all sales.


“If you want to be successful at anything, you can either do what the successful people do; or you can find what the failures do – and do the opposite.”

– Billy Florence

Raise yourself to the top 20% in sales by following up:

Yes – No – 3 to 5:

From the 1st prospecting call – follow up with additional calls until you get a “yes”, a “no” or you make a minimum of 3 to 5 attempts.  Be like a machine.  With today’s technology, you can even continue to make contact electronically far beyond this point.  But for face-to-face contacts, I’d limit myself to 5 attempts unless the feedback I was receiving gave me clear indication to continue.

Don’t Follow Up On Empty:

With each contact, bring something of value.  Don’t just make an empty inquiry, such as “I just wanted to follow up and see where you are on your decision to…”  Instead, bring something that adds to their business, solves an issue they face, or just makes them feel good about your contact.

And don’t forget to check your gas gauge. 🙂

QUESTION:  What do you bring to a prospect when you follow up?

Photo: Running On Empty Used Via License –

Ben Earwicker
Garrison Photography, Boise, ID