We have all heard the 80/20 rule and it seems to be pretty accurate. In our company we are a little more generous and work on a 90/10 rule. And on the latter we practice Ken’s Ten.
I grew up in a small town and began selling men’s clothing at the ripe old age of fourteen. Our little town was small. In fact when I went away to college there were five times as many students on campus as lived in my home town. Talk about culture shock. More on that another time.
Working in that small environment led me to believe we had to sell to everyone. We pretty much did. In college I also worked in a men’s clothing store. We were in NC’s largest mall and had lots of foot traffic. That is where I first learned that you really don’t want to sell everyone. Sometimes it is not in their, or your best interest. They just don’t fit. Your goals don’t mesh.
Over the years I have discovered this is about ten per cent of the potentials we encounter. This 10% takes up 30% of your time, efforts and resources. This short changes your other “good” customers who don’t get their fair share of what you provide. They also frustrate your employees and hurt your bottom line. You will not make this 10% happy and really, nobody wins.
So the best idea is to let the 10% walk. You can still love them, you can wish them well, and you should never be rude to them. Just don’t sell them!
Be careful and don’t begin “writing off” too many customers, just realize you should not sell to everyone. If their expectations are too high, they are unreasonable, only focus on price or are just generally disagreeable it is OK not to pursue the sale. They are part of Ken’s Ten.

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