An Old School Marketing Formula that Can Make You Rethink Your Approach to Sales

If you’re familiar with the “40-40-20 Rule,” you know why marketers use it as a template for successful lead generation.

But if you think it’s just for marketers, you’re wrong... can change how you approach your job as a sales rep, too.

The rule states that the ultimate success of a direct marketing campaign breaks down along these lines: 40% List (who you send it to), 40% Offer (what your campaign offers your prospect), 20% Creative (subject line, message, landing page layout, etc.).

As you’re about to learn, you can use those principles to boost your appointment-setting strategy—and your results.

Who’s On Your “List”?

The 40-40-20 Rule states that 40% of your lead-gen success rate comes from your list—e.g., the people who receive your email or direct marketing campaign.

Basically, if you target high-quality prospects, you’ll get a better result.

But that’s not just a tenet of marketing. That’s a fundamental tenet of sales.

Your “luck” improves when you reach out to prospects who face the kinds of problems you solve, or that fall into the same demographic categories as your existing clients.

You’ll waste less time struggling with low-value prospects, and you’ll put yourself in a position to succeed more often.

What Value Do You Offer?

According to the Rule, the next 40% of your success comes from your “offer.”

Your prospect will be more likely to act when you offer them something of value in return, whether it’s a free trial, a free how-to guide, tickets to an event, or your own thoughtful advice.

Reps that focus on their prospects’ problems and priorities (rather than their own product), and offer no-strings-attached advice about how to address them, generate better trust and rapport.

Think about it: aren’t you more likely to say yes to a meeting if you see an opportunity to gain ideas, uncover a competitive advantage, or learn something valuable? Or would you rather listen to a sales pitch?

Just like you, your prospect is always asking, “what’s in it for me?” It’s your job to answer that question.

If your answer is a good one, your prospects will trust you, like you, and want to keep talking to you.

How Else Can You Set More Appointments and Close More Deals?

The last 20% of lead-gen success—the icing on the cake—is the result of what marketers call the “creative” stuff: the words and pictures in email or direct mail campaigns that grab your prospects’ attention and persuade them to act.

And while there’s no subject line in a cold call or meeting, what you say and how you say it—how you carry yourself and behave—matter a lot.

It’s why smart sales reps practice proven sales techniques, follow effective cold call guidelines, and role play to become more confident, conversational, and likeable.

These “creative” elements of sales (the “everything else” factor) help you build on a targeted list and a compelling offer to successfully persuade your prospect to act.

The next time you hear how a marketer used the 40-40-20 Rule to generate tons of leads, don’t just nod and move on. Use that knowledge to get a leg up by targeting the right prospects and offering value.

Then put your other smarts to work turning those leads into appointments and sales.