The 80/20 Rule Divided by Two
By Dan Coughlin
you’re an NFL head coach and you have one week to prepare for a
playoff game. You don’t have time to focus on player development or
installing a new offensive or defensive system. You can do that
during training camp, but not the week of the playoffs.
have time to study a lot of film and identify the other team’s
greatest strength, develop a plan to remove that strength, and force
the other team to find another way to beat you. You also have time
to identify the other team’s greatest weakness, and determine how
you will exploit it. You can then focus all of your practice time on
those two items. Notice: intense focus on two areas.
Reality of Sales Performance Demands: Imagine you have to
dramatically ramp up sales in the next 45 days. You don’t have time
to analyze market trends, your competition’s latest offerings, or
your entire database. You have to win right now. What do you do?
Time for Sales Acceleration: First, write down the three easiest
sales you could make in the next ten days if you focused your energy
on closing those sales. These are “pay the overhead” sales. What’s
going to get money coming in as opposed to time, money, and effort
going out. These aren’t going to be the biggest sales you’ve ever
made nor are they going to necessarily lead to more business. They
are sales on the books where money can actually go into the bank.
write down the two most important prospects you can think of.
Identify two buyers who could significantly ramp up your sales for
the short-term and the long-term. Admittedly, these two people will
require a lot of attention and sustained focused effort to gain
their business, but if you get either one of them you will be
dramatically better off.
Increases Require Activity Decreases: Ever heard the saying
about “throw a lot of stuff against the wall and see what sticks”? I
want you to throw that saying out the window. You need sales now,
not in six months. You need to win this game. For the next 45 days,
just do two things: focus on the three lowest-hanging pieces of
sales fruit available and the two highest payoff possibilities.
Essentially, I’m preaching the power of The 80/20 Rule Divided By
Two. Put the vast majority of your time and effort behind a very
few prospects at the top and bottom of your prospect list.
some deals: It’s good for your self-confidence, good for your
momentum, and good for your boss, your spouse, your children, and
your sleep. Grab the lowest hanging fruit. Even the most patient
fisherman needs to catch a few small fish to keep his head in the
game in order to catch the really big fish.
then aspire big:
Who’s the great prospect you want as a customer
more than anyone else?
What does that prospect want or need to achieve
that you can help him or her to achieve?
How can you help this prospect?
How can you explain the value you can offer to
How can you prove to this person that you can
add that value?
Get your references, your testimonials, and your
proven track record in order so the prospect can see it when
they ask for it.
Create a plan for getting 25 minutes with that
Stay calm. This is your playoff game. You need
to win this game. This isn’t one of 50 people you’re going to
call on today. This is the one. You want to win this game at
this moment. Stay focused.
Think only of this person’s best interest. Don’t
think about yourself, your spouse, your mortgage, your car, your
kids, or your vacations. Just focus on improving this customer’s
Be patient. The sale doesn’t have to happen at
this moment, just within the next 45 days.
Recall Your Past Victories: When the NFL playoff game begins,
it’s interesting to see how often players who were successful in the
past are successful again, and players who choked in the past choke
again. Why does that happen? When you listen to their quotes after
the game, you hear the winners say they were focused on past wins
and the losers say they were focused on past losses.
your mental state and hold firmly on to it. Focus on the times you
were successful in the past. Review the obstacles you faced, how you
persevered through those obstacles, how you felt when you won, and
the lessons you learned. Now apply that exact same mindset to the
next 45 days. Focus only on winning and on doing what it takes to
Advanced Course on Adjustments: Not even the most scripted coach
in NFL history sticks to a plan blindly. If the lowest hanging fruit
is glued to the tree, then reach for a different piece. If your
highest desired customer starts the meeting by not showing up, then
move on. Be intelligently flexible and flexibly mobile. Accelerated
selling is an art, not a science. You need to make the call as to
when to shift your focus from high priority customer A to high
priority customer B. That doesn’t mean you have to suddenly start
chasing every prospect from A-Z. Go high and go low. That’s it. If
you have to step over five feet to get to a better prospect, then do
that. But don’t run fifty miles to chase down prospect after
prospect. That’s exhausting with no payoff in the short term.
Hall of Fame:
Question: Which players and coaches get into the NFL’s Hall of
Answer: The ones who win during the playoffs.
listing every possible prospect and creating profiles on each of
them. Go high and go low. Find the greatest opportunity for sales
success and the easiest opportunity for sales success. And go after
those two areas. Leave the stuff in the middle for the mediocre
performers. You’re going to go high and hard and low and fast. Win
the game right in front of you.
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about Dan Coughlin.
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