Customer Experience News & Trends

A dangerous customer myth

Most of us have heard of the 80/20 rule, that 80% of business comes from 20% of  customers. Problem is, it’s not true.

It’s amazing that so many salespeople believe that this 80/20 rule exists, no matter what business they’re in. Whether selling shoes or computers, salespeople seem to accept this old myth.

A false premise

The 80/20 rule presupposes a mathematical relationship based on a false premise. If your sales goal is predicated on 20% of your customers’ business bringing in 80% of your sales, you’re in danger of never making your goal.

Regardless of your industry, business constantly changes. Your best customer may be acquired, merged or go out of business, while your lowest revenue customer might expand.

Being blindsided

You could be blindsided by an unexpected turn of events and you will have absolutely no control of your ability to capitalize on the changes. The 80/20 rule means nothing when you’re rolling out a new product to a new market.

You may have no sales history with that type of customer. Perhaps these new customers will be the ones that will contribute most to your growth.

Future success

Future success should be your focus, not past history of the 80/20 rule. The only meaningful question for you as you prioritize your selling time must be, “What am I going to do now.”

Begin analyzing your accounts to look for future business without presupposing the 80/20 classic rule.

Adapted from Selling to Anyone over the Phone (AMACOM) by Renee Walkup. Ms. Walkup is president of SalesPEAK, Inc., a sales performance company.


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