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The 20/20 rule: A better way to communicate

Challenging the traditional 80/20 rule
taught in sales training courses

If you have ever received sales training, you may have heard of the 80/20 rule. It’s a common “rule of thumb” which outlines that 80% of behaviour should be focused on listening, and 20% of behaviour should be focused on speaking.

At Dynamo Selling, we tend to challenge traditional sales concepts and rules of thumb if there is a better way. We have revised the 80/20 rule and have developed a new rule – the 20/20 rule. In the 20/20 rule, we give equal weight to both two eyes, two ears and your mouth – each of which should be used 20%.

Sales training on using your eyes

The core difference in our approach is that more weight is placed on the role of the eyes. The traditional 80/20 rule doesn’t factor sight into the equation, and therefore it is missing a vital part. Especially because the role of sight comes in before any of the other senses.

As soon as a prospect walks in the room, whether you’re greeting somebody for the first time, getting ready to get into a negotiation or in a retail environment, you need to watch first. A great deal of information can be sought before the prospect even starts talking. Primarily, through reading body language and micro expressions, a good sales person will be able to gauge the prospects mood or personality type before they open their mouth.

For example, if they are thinking of something, it’s likely they will be looking up, if they are pondering a dilemma, it is more likely they will be looking down. All these cues can be seen before you’re even starting listening. This information can help guide the most appropriate body language and tone you should use to resonate with the prospect best.

First impressions matter

A prospect is likely to form an opinion about the sales person within 23 seconds of them speaking. This means the first words are crucial and the situation must be read accordingly to achieve the best results. To make sure you are conveying the right signals, you need to watch.

This is the first step, even before listening – it precedes listening. If the salesperson can determine how they client is feeling in that moment of time – their general underlying mood – they will be able to converse with compassion and understanding. Whether they are in crisis mode, in a hurry, or have plenty of time to make a well-informed decision really matters, because it should change the you interact with them.

By interacting with the prospect in a way that resonates with them, they will really appreciate you, because they can sub consciously pick up that you have understood them.

Sales training on the role of listening and speaking

The difference in the 20/20 rule is that using the eyes to watch the prospect is the first step – however this is not to say that listening and speaking should be under-valued. In the 20/20 rule, they all play an equal role.

Once a prospects body language and micro expressions have been observed, the salesperson can begin listening to them to get a fully informed idea of what they need. Then and only then, should they begin speaking, when their words will be completely aligned with that the client wants to hear.

If you are on the phone, it is possible to visualise what the other person is doing through using audio cues. However this is a more advanced technique that will be performed best once the 20/20 rule has been practiced in face to face settings first.

We created the 20/20 rule in our sales training courses because we want to emphasise the importance of understanding your client. Sales people who truly understand their client’s wants, needs and mood at the time will have a much better chance of success. Salespeople who use the 20/20 rule have a big head start.

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