The 10-80-10 Selling Rule

Mike came to my office one day looking very discouraged. He had been selling for about two months. He was doing significantly above average so his discouraged look surprised me.

I asked him what was wrong and he said, “I don’t understand it. With my last prospect I thought I did a perfect selling job. The greeting went very well. My fact finding told me all the important things he wanted. His response to my product presentation seemed ideal. I over came his objections very effectively. But when it came to getting a commitment from him to buy – nothing I did was successful.”

“What did I do wrong?” he asked with a frustrated tone.

I first ask Mike a series of questions about each step of the selling process. I then said to him, “In my opinion it looks like you did everything right.”

“Then why didn’t I make the sale?” Mike asked emphatically.

10-80-10 Selling Rule

I calmly responded, “I would say it’s because of the 10-80-10 selling rule.”

“What is that?” he asked.

I explained that for every 100 customers you wait on:

  • The top 10% of your customers will be the easy sale. Most people with no sales experience or no sales training will be able to sell them. Some of these customers may be completely pre-sold on your product and they just want it now. Take their order and be grateful.
  • The middle 80% of your customers you can sell if you have the right level of selling skills. This is the group of customers that separates the sales pros from the amateurs. The amateurs can sell maybe 20% or less of this group. The pros can sell 70% or more of this group. Some of the best pros actually sell 100% of this group. The more selling skills you have the higher percentage of this group you will sell.
  • The bottom 10% of your customers you are not going to sell no matter what you say or do. Some common reasons for this could be the following. They simply don’t have the ability to buy your product but they want to save face so they can’t admit that. Your personalities mix like oil and water. This truly is the wrong product for them. You will sell 0% of this group.

The Secret to Selling Success

The secret to success with the “10-80-10 selling rule” is in two parts.

First, focus you time and efforts on improving your selling skills like you are doing now taking this selling secrets course. The fact that you are reading selling secret #10 says some powerful things about your commitment to your selling skill development.

Second, don’t focus you time and efforts being frustrated because you didn’t sell that bottom 10% of your customers. Joe Girard the #1 car salesperson in the world (according to the Geneses Book of World Records) had a bottom 10% he couldn’t sell too. So my advice is to get over it and move on to more productive sales producing activities.

Selling is an art not an exact science. Don’t think you have to be perfect in sales. It’s amazing how rich you can get in sales by being good but not perfect.

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