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The 80/20 Rule

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If you are in sales, your most precious resource is your time. It is all you have to sell. In fact, your entire lifestyle today — your home, your car, your bank account — are the result of how you have made use of your time in the past. If your goal is to increase your earning capacity, you should spend your time improving your skills in your key results areas. To increase your capacity to earn, so that you can enjoy a wonderful standard of living year after year, you need to pay any price, make any sacrifice and overcome any obstacle in your quest to become excellent at selling.

The 80/20 Rule. The 80/20 Rule dictates that 20 percent of your activities will account for 80 percent of your results. Twenty percent of your prospects will account for 80 percent of your clients. Twenty percent of your clients will account for 80 percent of your sales. So, focus your time and energy on those few things — that 20 percent — that can make the difference for you. Your ability to do this will guarantee your success. The inability to focus on the 20 percent is the primary reason for failure, frustration and underachievement in the sales profession.

The 80/20 Rule applied. There are three parts to the profession of sales, and they are essentially unchanged since the beginning of the profession. They are prospecting, presenting and following up. These three parts constitute the sales funnel:

  1. At the top of the sales funnel you have prospecting. Let us say that for every 20 prospects, you gain five presentations.
  2. In the middle of the sales funnel you have presenting. Let us say that for every five presentations, you gain two follow-ups.
  3. At the bottom of the sales funnel you have following up and closing. Let us say that for every two follow ups, you gain one sale.

For the best results, spend 80 percent of your time prospecting and presenting and only 20 percent of your time following up. Never allow yourself to run out of prospects. Remember, you have to go through a lot of prospects to get a very few number of sales. Keeping your sales funnel full is your priority.

Make a list every day before you begin work. Organize it on the basis of the 80/20 Rule. Start on your top 20 percent of tasks and stay with them until you have completed them, and your income goals will be well within reach.

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Brian Tracy is the CEO of Brian Tracy International, which specializes in business training, and the author of the best-selling Psychology of Achievement. For more information, go to


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