Sales resources are scarce in terms of both money and professionals. The last thing you want are your salespeople (you included!) chasing around prospects that are a waste of your time. There are too many that aren’t qualified or aren’t ready to buy.

So how do you stop chasing your tail and improve the quality of the prospects you spend your time and money on?

Here is one principal to keep in mind.

The 24th time’s the charm

We’re often asked how long it takes an advertising campaign to work. The answer is…it depends. But we do know that it takes persistence.

In 1972, researcher Herbert Krugman detailed what has become a famous advertising mantra called the three hit theory. His theory basically went something like this –

All marketing messages must be received at least 3 times by a target audience member. The first so that she senses that you are communicating. The second so that she understands what’s in it for her. The 3rd so that she decides what she wants to do.

With so many marketing messages bombarding your audience, in our experience, particularly when a message includes a call to action – like in lead generation (or any good marketing message for that matter) – the 3 hit theory actually behaves more like a 3 x 3 x 3 hit theory.

It takes 3 exposures for your audience to realize you are communicating to them, 3 x 3 or 9 exposures for them to grasp what you’re asking them to do, and 3 x 3 x (nearly) 3, or 24 exposures for them to decide whether to accept your request for action or not.

So, one simple “hotness” test is how many times a prospect has been exposed to the message and did they actually take the actions you’ve asked them to take.

To clarify, the 24 exposures is required to be absolutely certain you have exhausted any hope of having a citizen (Seth Godin’s word for a member of the universe) make a final decision to accept or reject your request for action.

Are your expectations realistic in light of this? Are you prepared to make sure your message is received 24 times by your target audience?

Maintain focus on your marketing priorities and perseverance. Nurture your targets with continuous communication. In time, the ones you seek will be on fire.