Man On Top of Mountain

Did you know that 80% of the money in sales is made by the top 20% of sales people?

80% of the productivity in your business, on average, comes from 20% of the team. IN FACT 80% of your revenue typically comes from 20% of your customers. If you don’t know the Pareto Principle, it’s simply a prediction that 80% of the EFFECTS, come from 20% of the CAUSES. Inversely, 20% of the CAUSES are attributed to 80% of the EFFECTS – this is often referred to as the 80/20 rule.

(Related Topics: Cause and Effect)

While Pareto’s Principle can be applied to everything from retail to world economics (currently 20% of the world’s population control 82.7% of the world’s wealth) – I’m mostly interested in how this applies to your business so you can make money in sales right now.

See, a while ago I was exposed to the 80/20 rule of sales when I was new to the sales world. I noticed that every month,when the commissions came through, it seemed to be the same people getting the massive rewards (and flashy cars and houses and everything else they wanted), while everyone else would just “get by”. So I went to the top sales guy in the team – his name was Troy – and I asked him what he was doing differently from me. The conversation went like this,

Troy: “Dave, when did you know how much you were getting paid this month?”

Me: “About 10 minutes ago when I read my pay slip – why?”

Troy: “Because that’s the difference…”

Me: ~dumb look on face~

Troy: “I knew what I was getting paid this month- last month. In fact, I was pretty certain at the start of the year.”

Me: “How the *sandwich* could you know then?”

Troy: “Because that’s when I decided it.”

That was some of the best advice ever handed down to me. As it turns out, being in the top 20% is just that – a decision. In fact, being in the bottom 80% is a decision too, its just an automatic one that happens when you DON’T CHOOSE.

So where else does this most commonly apply? In your business!

15 years and more than 10,000 sales professionals have passed through our sales programs around the world since I spoke to Troy. Whether we’re training in a one-on-one executive coaching client, or delivering our Sales Mastery Course live to 60 people – the winners and losers are separated by the conscious decisions to succeed that they do or don’t make.

And let’s just be clear – when I say “sales person”, I don’t just mean someone who’s job it is to knock on doors or work in a call centre for a living. I’m talking about you, the self employed Osteopath, the Accountant, the Naturopath, the Graphic Designer, and the Personal Trainer. I’m talking about anyone who owns or manages a business, customers and/or staff for a living. I mean ANYONE who’s continued reward is impacted by their performance.

So how do you become one of the highest paid sales people in your industry? How do you become the most impactful and serve the most people? Below is a good place to start RIGHT NOW:

1. Clarity. Most sales people suffer a total lack of clear vision around what they want. This makes them fall to a default position of “more money” as their primary driver. First thing to know is that more money is the worst of all motivators – because it can never be a present state. Ask yourself what you will do with the money – have goals and write them down with great detail. Ritualistically focus on them everyday.

2. Passion. Top sales people are incredibly passionate about what they do. Learn to love your work and commit totally to excellence. Go any distance, seek out any teacher, invest whatever time is necessary, pay any price, and make any sacrifice to improve your ability to communicate with impact. Remember the 80/20 rule! Decide to become part of the top 20%. Everyone starts in the bottom 80% but very few consciously decide to move up and make a difference.

3. Time. Top salespeople manage their time well. The Pareto Principle is rarely more applicable than in the case of time management. What are the 20% of tasks that are making you 80% of the results? – and are you prioritising them? Studies have shown that mid-morning is when your brain is most alert, and, unless your job is social media sales, you should think about having Facebook-free hours blocked out. Time is your primary asset, so make a list at the end of each day of what you’ll accomplish the following day and stick to it. Use every minute of the day well, you can’t get them back.

4. Follow. If you want to be masterful, learn from a master. If you want to be an expert, learn from an expert. Model your behaviours on successful people who’ve been where you’ve been and accomplished what you want to accomplish. Go to the top earners for your advice and ask them about their preparation strategies, their mindset exercises, and their physical and linguistic patterns that they practice. Don’t be too intimidated to ask for help. Genuinely successful people love to help people along the way, so beware of the people who talk about their success but don’t show you how they achieve it.

5. Learning. All masters are also life-long students. Commit to learning everything you can learn in your field and continue to invest in staying current. Invest in your mind – attend the seminars, listen to the audios, read the books, watch the videos, interview the experts and work with the coaches. Back your pursuit with perseverance and willpower. Resolve to throw your whole heart and soul into your field and make your complete commitment part of your identity. This will help you overcome any obstacle as it comes up. Decide that nothing will stop you. More knowledge equals more return.

6. Health. There is an inexorable link between physical fitness and financial fitness. Bake practices of healthy eating, good sleeping, and personal time in to your schedule. Find 20 minutes to meditate every day. If you don’t have time for 20 minutes, find 10 minutes. Minimise the time you sit during the day – try a stand-up desk. Learn to breath correctly and do more of it. Take up a sport and practice it weekly.

7. Integrity. Do everything with integrity. Without integrity in your intentions and actions, people will not trust you. Trust is the most important vehicle for continuing human connection both in a personal and professional setting. Top sales people guard their integrity and lead with the well being of their audience’s needs.

8. Pay the price of success in advance. Don’t wait for a reason to do what your gut tells you to do. Work hard upfront. Stay later until you get the job done. Work harder than everyone else and be willing to do more. Don’t waste your time, stay focused. Pay what you need to pay and back yourself. Remember that a tree is inevitable given the right nurturing, provided you plant the right seeds in advance.


Let us know how you’re going to apply the 80/20 Rule of Sales to your business by commenting below!  Interested in learning more about how you can advance your sales?   Learn more about ‘The Million Dollar Sales Pitch’ Video Masterclass here!



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