I recently had the privilege of spending two days strategizing with Google Adwords and 80/20 guru Perry Marshall near his home in Oak Park, IL. I was part of a 4-man intensive designed to focus Perry’s expertise in sales and marketing on how to take my business to the next level. Perry started his career as an engineer, but quickly learned that he had more value to add to business owners by helping them focus on the few things that will deliver the biggest results. Perry is an amazing coach and mentor, and I am working hard now to implement the “jewels” of knowledge I extracted from my time in the “hot seat.”
I found Perry a couple years ago when I read his book 80/20 Sales and Marketing: The Definitive Guide to Working Less and Making More. This book gave me a completely different paradigm about understanding how to target buyers that are most interested in the products and services that we are selling. Whether you are selling auto parts, NFL game tickets or professional services, there are many people that will spend a few dollars and a few that will spend much more than that.
Most of us spend a lot of our time marketing to the masses. We target everyone without a true understanding that if we really understand our USP – Unique Selling Proposition, and our ideal client, we can focus less effort to get more sales. This is because of the 80/20 rule.
Perry does a unique job of breaking the 80/20 rule into a math formula and what he calls the “power curve.” This is where his engineering background has really served him! The power curve (see below) is based on the 80/20 law that Perry describes this way: If 80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients, then if you apply the 80/20 rule to that 20%, then 64% of your sales come from 4% of your clients. He shows in his book that this rule applies to everything in life – from streets driven in a city, to top performing employees in your company, to class rank in college.
The curve shows that out of 100 clients, the 100th client will spend 100 times more than client number one, and often 50% more than client number 99. The business lesson in this power curve is that by understanding who your top 4% clients are, and why they buy so much more from you, you can stop wasting your time marketing to everyone and focus on what is really resonating with your best clients. Wouldn’t life be so much better if all of your clients were like your top 4%?
The Power Curve
So why are we all talking with prospects that don’t want to work with us, or who aren’t willing to spend money to fix their problems? The answer is in the 80/20 rule. By breaking down your own numbers, and understanding who your top 4% of clients are, and why, you can start to leverage the power of the 80/20 rule to your own advantage. This is something I am helping my clients to figure out now. With the right data, you can better focus on what is working, and who is really interested in what you are offering.
I figure I am Perry Marshall’s 4%. He has tons of followers and subscribers to his mastermind group, but most of them don’t pay top dollar and fly to Chicago to spend two days with him. So why did I do that? Because I know that the right idea, applied the right way can yield tremendous benefits. I believe in the 80/20 rule and am always looking for the leverage to improve what I am doing. I am also convinced that my A&E firm clients can benefit greatly from applying the 80/20 principles to their own business. I am determined to help them do this!