The 80/20 Rule

I’m a big fan of efficiency, always have been, whether it’s finding the fastest route to a meetings or de-cluttering my office, I can’t help trying to make things better/quicker ( btw it’s better not perfect, that’s a different subject altogether!).  I think there is an inherent attraction to simplicity and efficiency, however it comes at a price, it’s needs thought, iterations and ultimately time.  As Winston Churchill famously quoted, “If I had more time I would have written you a shorter letter”.

At Refine we embrace this and are true believers in Pareto’s law. Simply put, 80% of the returns come of 20% of the activity.  In building our 5 step process to develop business owners who can find, win and grow clients it was essential to ensure that there is no “fat” in our method.  Our clients don’t have time for the extras, especially when these extras add little value.

We used this philosophy to identify the key drivers in growing your client base, and interestingly, it’s not what many of us think.  When you speak to many business owners on the subject of sales they will often tell you “I’m not a natural sales person” as a defence against their inactivity in growing their business.  As a result a huge industry has emerged based on the premise that you need to be a god at selling to be effective. It also inhibits organisations addressing their sales challenges as they believe if they are not natural at sales they won’t succeed.

Going back to Paretos law on business generation, guess what the most important “bit” is?  It’s actually generating leads.  What I mean by this is having a constant flow of new client meetings.  Why is this most important element?  Well, sales is a numbers game.  The more people you get though your sales funnel the more clients you get.  Even, (sharp intake of breath), if you have no, or limited sales skills you will still win clients.  However, by focusing on sales skills you may be ignoring the top end of the funnel and as a result will have fewer prospects.  This means you actually do have to be a sales god to get any work from the few leads you generate!

So, in summary, focus on the right things.  In business development the right things are filling your funnel with good qualified leads.  Don’t ignore the sales bit as it’s important, but nowhere near as important as finding a constant supply of new potential customers.

Good luck with your prospecting and if you want to test yourself against best practice take our online quiz “Can your business find, win and grow new clients?”

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