As a marketing person, this is a common question from business owners. Sometimes they hear 5; other times they hear 20. So what is the truth?

Traditionally speaking…

7 points of contact was the sweet spot for closing 80% of the business opportunities you have on the table as a sales rep or business owner. TRADITIONALLY – e.g before digital media and ads that bombarded your brain every day.

sing 80% of the business opportunities you have on the table as a sales rep or business owner. TRADITIONALLY – e.g before digital media and ads that bombarded your brain every day.

In fact, in today’s market space we are hit with over 4,000 ads every day! That is a lot of information our brains have to filter before we deem something important enough to pay attention.

When was the rule of 7 effective?

The concept of the rule of 7 was founded on Miller’s Law, which dates back to 1956. It was a simpler time then. Miller’s law states that humans can hold on average 7 (plus or minus 2 things) in short term memory/working memory.

This research comes from the most sited psychological research paper in the world to date. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Magical_Number_Seven,_Plus_or_Minus_Two

So, in a time when we had less than 500 ads per day we needed 7 points of contact to make that business stand out in our minds under our long term memory. Meaning our brains deemed that ad or that company relevant enough to PAY ATTENTION to them.

From there we would make a decision on if we were going to purchase that product or service.

In today’s world…

We see over 4,000 ads per day… even in some cases up to 10,000 ads per day. That is quite literally 20 times the number of ads our brains are filtering every day!

Talk about noise!

Is it still 7 points of contact before a buying desicion is made?

Based on simple logic and math, I would say not. While there currently isn’t accessible research to set in stone the number of contacts it takes, I can speak from my personal experience.

If in the 50’s it took 7 points of contact with less than 500 ads per day and we now have 20 times the number of ads on a daily basis. If we do the math, that equates to 140 points of contact to stand out and be heard.

140! That is even more than I thought, but let’s break it down.

How do you contact someone 140 times without being annoying?

Admittedly it does seem like a big ask.

We have to break up the types of content we are reaching our prospective audience with. Keep in mind there are 3 types of people out there: Visual, Kinesthetic, and Auditory.

So if we create content for each person, and share that content where they are 5 – 10 times a day, we have a chance at capturing their attention through the noise — and potentially working with them inside of 14 days.

Sounds about right from my personal experience.

If I hold an event or attend one, share a photo, a video, and an article in social media and send out an email to the people I have met I have just touched that person 6 times in 1 day. Now if I add in a face to face meeting with them, a thank you card with a gift, and an invitation to an event, I just reached out 4 more times.

In my experience if we can crunch the time between interactions, without being an annoying used car sales person, I win. Do I win that day? In a way, because I have made a new friend. But it will not make dollars and cents for me till I have established stability, trust, honesty, loyalty, and transparency. The prospective client needs to feel like they matter more than a paycheck. This should not be a shock to you.

Remove the rule of 7 from your memory

It isn’t serving you.

Have patience. Trust takes time. Consistency takes effort. Value will be felt in the dedication to the relationships you forge.