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Focus on the 60%When you are trying to promote a new idea, like automating eForms, understand 20% of people you present your idea to will hate it.  However, don’t let this discourage you!  Not everyone in your circle of influence is going to support your ideas, and it’s unrealistic for you to expect them to.  Lack of support has more to do with their personality than your idea.

You may have heard of the Pareto Principle known as the 80/20 rule that states roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
Examples include:

  • 80% of sales come from 20% of the salespeople
  • 80% of customer complaints come from 20% of the customers
  • 80% of the work is done by 20% of employees.

There is another rule, that is a variation on the Pareto Principle, and it’s just as powerful. It’s called the 20/60/20 rule. Applying this rule can help you sell people on your ideas and help you focus efforts where they will produce the best results.
The 20/60/20 rule applies to people and relationships.  When you discuss your business idea with a variety of people, the group may include potential clients, vendors, family members, or even the guy at the bar. Based on the 20/60/20 rule you will get the following results:

  • 20% of the people will immediately be on board with your idea
  • 20% of the people will immediately be opposed to your idea
  • 60% of the people can be influenced one way or the other depending on future interactions

Let’s look at each of these groups:

The Positive 20%

This group already has an understanding or a viewpoint that is in complete alignment with what you are proposing. You don’t have to “sell” them! They already understand and support your idea. This could be the future customer who can’t wait to buy your product or the family member who has wanted you to pursue your dreams for a long time.

How you approach them with your business idea Leave this group alone or else you might lose their support! Don’t over sell them or spend a lot of time influencing or persuading them……..they are already on your team.

The Negative 20%

This group already decided before you even opened your mouth that they hate your idea.  The responses from this group will be despairing, negative comments because they are not risk-takers.

No matter what you do, you will not be able to convince this group that you have a good idea. Do you have anyone like this in your life?? I bet you do! And I bet they are in every group in your life!!

How you approach them with your business idea – Ironically, the approach here is the same as the positive 20%. Leave this group alone! All of your efforts in persuading this group will be wasted. The only outcome for you will be frustration and wasted time and effort. Time and effort that could have been applied to the 60% group.

The 60% that can be influenced

Here is where you can make a difference! The 60% in the middle can be convinced one way or another after the initial interaction. This group’s decision depends more on the presentation of additional information and their own individual processing. If you want to convince people of your business idea this is where you want to spend your time and effort.

Once you identify this group, you should spend the majority of your time with them finding out why they are “on the fence.” Listen to their concerns and give honest answers to their questions and concerns. What do they like?  What don’t they like? How would they approach it? Listen to their ideas. If the ideas make sense, incorporate them into your business plan.  In most cases, people don’t expect all of their ideas to be incorporated. Most people just want to be heard and to know that their opinion is valued and respected.

How you approach them with your business idea –  With focused attention and genuine interest in their input, you should be able to get the majority of the 60% to move over in the positive category.

Knowing how to efficiently use your time to generate the best results is a business skill that can be developed. Applying the 20/60/20 rule is a great tool to determine who to spend your time with and where in order to generate the biggest base of support for your business idea!

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