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Sales Tip: The 70 / 30 Rule for Prospect Meetings


Rule #14: A prospect who is listening is no prospect at all

About a week ago, I pulled into the car wash on my way home from work. Pressed for time, I was looking for a basic clean after some storms that had passed through.

The salesperson approached me and began rattling off the list of services I could choose from, then told me about the current deals and specials. I started to interject that I was in a hurry and just needed a quick, basic wash.

He then proceeded to tell me about the holiday specials that would soon be available, and as I watched the cars file in ahead of me, the line ended up being quite long. I ended up saying, “you know what, I’m not sure I have the time to wait in this line now,” and opted to come back another day.

It’s a small, simple example, but had my friend at the carwash started with a question instead of several feature and benefit statements, he would have sold a basic wash that day when the line was low.

Do you prefer to buy or be sold to?

Ask yourself this question: when someone is trying to “sell” us something, how do we feel? Do we enjoy the feeling of being “sold”? As salespeople, we provide various solutions, products, and services to our prospects. We may want to share, or TELL, our prospects all about how we can help them, why they should invest in a particular product, or why our services would benefit them. If they’re being “sold,” they probably expect that.

Now, think about this: how do we really know how to help someone if we haven’t heard their needs, wants, issues, challenges, etc.? Does everyone have the same needs? Do prospects buy for the same reasons? You see where I’m going with this…

70/30 Goal

At Sandler, we talk about the “70/30” rule. Our prospects should be talking 70% of the time. The other 30% of the time, we should be asking really good questions. My goal as a salesperson should be to gather all of the information I can about my prospect’s needs so that we can mutually decide if there’s a compelling reason to do business together. How many times have we discovered that someone buys from us for reasons other than our own?

We tend to want to educate our prospects when we should be educating OURSELVES about our prospects. But, a prospect who is listening [to us] instead of telling [us their needs] is really not a prospect in that sense.

Jim Wilcox

Jim Wilcox

Owner, Sandler by Wilcox & Associates