The Pareto Principle



At the beginning of the last century, an Italian government bureaucrat, Snr Vilfredo Pareto, produced a number of theories concerning population dynamics.

Perhaps the best known is the one that says 80% of a nation's wealth is either owned or controlled by a mere 20% of the population, no matter what is done to try to alter the balance.

This general rule has been observed to apply to many situations since and has become widely accepted as “the Pareto Principle” or the 80/20 rule.

Nowhere is the principle more relevant than in the business of selling -

ask any sales manager!

The fact is that 80% of the sales are produced by 20% of the sales force!

What are the characteristics that put some sales people in the top 20% category?

Do they have personalities or skills that the other 80% don’t possess?

Is it because of special training? Is it simply a matter of hard work? Or is it just plain good luck?

As you read on, you will learn that it is not a single skill that leads to success but that it is all a matter of behaviour.

We are creatures of habit and our behaviour is determined by our habits.

Habits that control our behaviour and determine our results can be replaced by habits that will automatically improve these results.

Habits are designed to make life easy, they enable us to do routine things in our daily lives without thinking about them.

The way we tie our shoelaces, the way we drive our cars, or ride a bicycle, we don’t have to think about these actions we just do them on automatic pilot.

The 4 Steps in Learning

We learn all habits through a four-step process.

Let’s use as an example learning to ride a bicycle: -

You see somebody riding a bicycle and you think you will do the same.

You sit on the bicycle; you attempt to ride it and fall off.

This is the unconscious incompetent stage - you don’t realise you can’t do it.

Next you practice, you learn to guide the bicycle and pedal at the same time. While this is going on you are at the conscious incompetent stage.

With continual practice you move on to the next level which is known as the conscious competent stage.

Sometime later you are riding the bicycle on automatic pilot thinking about what you may be having for your dinner;

you are now at the unconscious competent stage, where the habit has been perfected.


Whilst most of our habits help us get through our daily life more easily there are others holding us back.

They are having a negative effect, on our need to change in order to make progress in our lives.

The power of habits can be exceedingly strong as shown by a famous experiment conducted by a scientist.

He was studying the habits of a certain type of caterpillar, which he called the Processionary Caterpillar. These caterpillars have the habit of foraging along the forest floor searching for food. They travel in single file nose to tail.

He thought he would test the strength of this habit. He set up an experiment by placing food and water in the centre of a large saucer. Several caterpillars were placed around the edge of the saucer, nose to tail, so that they formed an endless belt trundling around the perimeter.

He wondered how long it would be before they would break away from the circle and head for the food.

He was amazed when they relentlessly circled the saucer until eventually they gave up from exhaustion.

Fortunately for us we can exercise our minds to break an old habit or form a new one.

If you practice a new habit you go through the process of the four stages of learning and it is said that within 21 days you will become unconsciously competent in this new way.

Habits that control our behaviour and determine our results can be replaced by habits that will automatically improve these results.

You need habits that will help you achieve more. These habits are Goal Setting,

Time Management

Improved Sales Skills.

Each of these subjects will be enlarged upon later and will become the success habits, that will increase your self-esteem and lead to greater achievement,

not only in selling but in all other areas of your life!

If you have questions or need advice about any aspect of selling please let me know and if you would like to receive more Successful Selling Secrets drop me an email.

If you have questions or need advice about any aspect of selling please let me know or if you would like to receive more Successful Selling Secrets drop me an email

Ps:- I am writing more success secrets about Prospecting that apply to all types of Selling to business owners. I've had thousands of appointments,you can believe that what I tell you works! I will keep you posted on new info. Best wishes, Don.

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