80/20 Sales And Marketing By Perry Marshall

These are my personal book notes of 80/20 Sales and Marketing by the author Perry Marshall.

Let’s dive in.


  • Author: Perry Marshall
  • Title: 80/20 Sales and Marketing
  • Subtitle: The Definitive Guide To Working Less And Making More
  • First published: 2013
  • Type: non-fiction
  • Genre: business education / marketing
  • Author’s website: perrymarshall.com
  • Rating: 5/5
  • Recommended: Yes (Hell, Yeah!)

You should always be suspicious of complicated things. You should be even more suspicious of people who make simple things complicated.
- Perry Marshall

Table Of Contents Of The Book

  • Foreword (by Richard Koch, author of the classic “The 80/20 Principle”)
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1 - How 80/20 Works and Why 80/20
  • Chapter 2 - Rack the Shotgun
  • Chapter 3 - You Can Do Better
  • Chapter 4 - 80/20 Traffic - The Yin and Yang of Media and Traffic Expertise
  • Chapter 5 - How to Use the “Invisible Money” Finder at 8020Curve.com
  • Chapter 6 - Simplify Your Life with the Power Triangle
  • Chapter 7 - 80/20 Conversion Now That You’ve Racked the Shotgun, Make ‘Em MOVE
  • Chapter 8 - Your USP
  • Chapter 9 - It’s Not Failure. It’s Testing.
  • Chapter 10 - Scale Up-Massively
  • Chapter 11 - Expand, Diversify, and Conquer Planet Earth
  • Chapter 12 - Make More From Every Customer
  • Chapter 13 - Power Guarantees
  • Chapter 14 - 80/20 = Harnessing Natural Forces
  • Chapter 15 - Do You Wanna Make $10 Per Hour? Or $100, $1,000, or $10,000?
  • Chapter 16 - Make $1,000 Per Hour Doing What You Love
  • Chapter 17 - 80/20 Hiring and Outsourcing
  • Chapter 18 - How to Get More $1,000 Hour Work Done with a Personal Assistant
  • Chapter 19 - Fire the Bottom 10 Percent!
  • Chapter 20 - 80/20 Controversy
  • Chapter 21 - 80/20 Market Research in a Single Afternoon
  • Chapter 22 - 1,000 Things to Pay Attention to - Only Three or Four Matter Right Now
  • Chapter 23 - RFM: The 3-D 80/20 of Profitable Marketing
  • Chapter 24 - “My Latte’s Too Foamy!”
  • Chapter 25 - Finally Achieving Breakthrough
  • Epilogue
  • Appendix - The Power Curve and 80/20 for Math Geeks

Key Concepts And Ideas

The forward is written by Richard Koch, author of the classic book “The 80/20 Principle”.

One thing I am sure of - if you read this book with an open mind and use your brain a bit in thinking about its most powerful points, you really can change your business and your life. - Richard Koch

From The Introduction

If you’re just starting out in sales or marketing and you dig numbers, this book is your new bible for what actually works in sales, marketing, lead generation, publicity, and ecommerce - and what doesn’t.

80/20 will become your number one way to organize everything else you ever learn about selling for the rest of your life.

You’ll get to the dinero two times, even five times faster.

You’ll pocket more of it, too.

If you’re a seasoned sales or marketing pro yet you know you haven’t reached your full potential, this book offers an elegant new framework for every move you make.

It will amplify every skill you’ve acquired so far.

You’ll be able to immediately and reliably estimate how much money you’re leaving on all your different “tables.”

You’ll find levers within levers, the ability to produce not merely 2X but 100X improvements in productivity.

You’ll gain x-ray vision into untapped markets and you’ll “see around the corner” in ways that surprise your colleagues and competitors.

You’ll effortlessly move into regions of higher effectiveness.

Chapter 1 - Pareto Summary

  • The real power of 80/20 is 80/20^2, 80/20^3, and so on. It keeps going until you run out of things to count.
  • 80/20 applies to everything in the world that has positive feedback, from the income of 7 billion people to the Forbes 400.
  • Almost everyone talks about “average,” but average equals mediocrity. The 80/20 Power Curve is about results.
  • Top performers are not twice as good as average performers. They’re more like 100 times better.
  • Everything that really matters in business isn’t linear, it’s exponential. 80/20 is about Power Laws - powers of 10. You should always think in multiples of 10.

Before you bet your precious time or money on any sales, marketing, or business endeavor, you need to “rack the shotgun”.

Perry Marshall On The WHO (Target Customer) For Your Business

Selling to the right person is more important than all the sales methods, copywriting techniques, and negotiation tactics in the world.

Because the wrong person doesn’t have the money.

Or the wrong person doesn’t care.

The wrong person won’t be persuaded by anything.

It’s about everything that makes money change hands:

The product lines you choose to sell, the web pages you optimize, the PR opportunities you pursue.

Offers, prices, and systems.

Books, scripts, headlines, guarantees, proposals, and risks.

Employees, vendors, salespeople, managers, and government officials.

80/20 is already sifting them and sorting them, doing the hard work for you.

Chapter 2 - Pareto Summary

  • “Rack the shotgun” means triggering your audience and seeing who responds.
  • Before you bet your time or money on any sales or business project, you need to rack the shotgun.

The Author On His First Job In Sales

If I’d spent 80 percent of my time in front of the right people, instead of not even knowing who to talk to, I would have instantly tripled my income.

After Applying Direct Response Based Marketing Principles

Suddenly selling was… easy.

Each morning when I came to work, I found fresh leads on my desk - faxes, emails, voice mails, inquiries from magazines.

Everyone I talked to already wanted to talk to me.

I have not made a single cold call in 15 years.

Perry Marshall On Advertising

The vast majority of businesses waste huge sums on ineffective advertising.

John Wanamaker famously said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

But Wanamaker was being optimistic.

Most advertising is hugely wasteful.

I know from experience, he wasn’t wasting half; he was wasting 80 percent. Maybe more.

Chapter 3 - Pareto Summary

  • 80/20 applies to almost everything in business that you can count.
  • Almost every frustration you have in sales has something to do with ignoring 80/20.

There’s an old saying: “Pioneers return with arrows in their backs.”

That was me.

Any time you’re in a situation like that, you have to be extra strategic.

You can spend tons of money educating the public and never get a dime from anyone.

Perry Marshall On A Competitor

They would advertise their blue-and-white book and mail it out.

It was a “lead generator”.

When they offered it in magazine ads and at trade shows, or even when their reps and distributors handed it out on site, whoever requested it was a lead.

If not a hot prospect, they were at least lukewarm.

Turck was racking the shotgun.

Benefits Of Direct Response Lead Generation

This had a nifty side benefit: It positioned them as authorities.

They were the folks who “wrote the book”.

There were no other books on the subject at the time.

Theirs was the only one.

Perry On The Importance Of Lead Generation

When you do publicity like writing books or magazine articles or blogging, the publicity itself will almost never close the deal for you.

It will just move you to the front of the line.

But you still have to get in the line. (Or better yet, make them get in your line.)

At minimum, you need a mechanism for turning the publicity into a sales funnel, like an offer of a white paper or diagnostic tool or problem-solving cheat sheet.

A cheat sheet is a one-page document that super-summarizes a complex topic.

Great cheat sheets are a lot of work to write because there’s no room for filler.

But that’s exactly why people love them.

Perry Marshall’s 7 Cardinal Rules of The 80/20 Sales Pro

  1. No cold calling. Ever. You should attempt to sell only to warm leads.
  2. Before you try to sell anything, you must know how much you’re willing to pay to get a new customer.
  3. A prospect who “finds” you first is more likely to buy from you than if you find him.
  4. You will dramatically enhance your credibility as a salesperson by authoring, speaking, and publishing quality information.
  5. Generate leads with information about solving problems, not information about the product itself.
  6. You can attain the best negotiating position with customers only when your marketing generates “deal flow” that exceeds your capacity.
  7. The most valuable asset you can own is a well-maintained customer database, because people who’ve already bought from you are way easier to sell to than strangers.

Perry Marshall On Traffic

You gotta get traffic.

The first step to getting anyone to listen to you is getting ears and eyeballs.

There’s a huge range of media outlets you can use to get in front of people and/or acquire customers.

Here’s an excerpt of the list Perry Marshall provides in his book:

  • Radio: AM, FM, Satellite
  • Podcasts
  • TV
  • Google Ads
  • E-zine Articles and Ads
  • Endorsed Email Blasts From Affiliates
  • Craigslist
  • Postcard mailings
  • Facebook Ads
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn Ads
  • Banner Ads
  • YouTube Videos
  • Press Releases
  • Books / Ebooks
  • Appearance as an “expert” on a talk show
  • Exhibitions at trade shows
  • Infomercials
  • (Free) White Papers
  • Guest Blogging
  • Magazine Ads and Articles
  • Pinterest
  • Presentations at Seminars

The Author On The Importance Of Focus

As a marketer or salesperson, you MUST thoroughly master at least one form of advertising media.

Until you do, you will be at the mercy of whatever comes along.

You’ll be cold-calling all day, or knocking on doors, or praying for rain, or hoping some guy in the marketing department does his job.

Perry Marshall On The Yin And Yang Of Media And Traffic Expertise

The yin: It’s impossible to become proficient in every form of advertising.

You need to focus on one to three forms of marketing and advertising, so that you are much more skilled in the use of those media than most people.

The yang: If your entire business is dependent upon one source of traffic, one advertising medium, your business is a stool with only one leg.

A train wreck waiting to happen.

You need to get new customers from a diverse range of sources.

This yin and yang IS about balancing of specialty and diversity.

Putting all your eggs in one basket is a lousy long-term plan.

But spreading yourself too thin is just as bad.

Most direct and online marketing success stories I’ve seen over the last 10 years have this in common:

The entrepreneur became extremely proficient at the use of ONE sales channel and used it to develop a firm foothold in a desperately competitive marketplace.

So the first thing you need to do as a marketer is master one of these.

Make this your absolute, paramount, number-one priority.

Then you can pick up another and start diversifying your business.

Chapter 4 - Pareto Summary

  • Cold calling is dead. You should talk only to prospects who are genuinely interested in what you have to sell.
  • Don’t use shoe leather and cold calling to generate leads. Think positioning, not prospecting.
  • If your company won’t generate sales leads for you, generate them yourself. Mastering at least one form of advertising media beats cold calling any day.
  • There are many dozens of sources of advertising, publicity, and traffic. You must master at least one of them.

Perry Marshall’s Power Triangle - Traffic, Conversion, Economics

There are three steps to selling anything.

  1. The first step is getting traffic: You gotta get human bodies, eyes, and ears, to sell to - without raising their defenses, if at all humanly possible.
  2. The next step is conversion: You have to convince the person that what you have is going to solve their problem.
  3. The final step is economics: You have to give them something that’s valuable and get their money. And make the whole process economically work.

Traffic, conversion, and economics form a Power Triangle that governs everything that happens in sales and marketing.

You should always be suspicious of complicated things.

You should be even more suspicious of people who make simple things complicated.

The beautiful thing about the Power Triangle is how simple it is.

In order to sell something, you have to get Traffic; then you have to Convert the traffic.

Economics means you have to make some money on what you sell. That’s why you’re in business.

When you make a profit you can re-invest it in getting more Traffic and Converting the traffic and further improving your Economics.

And so it goes, clockwise in a circle.

It’s a spiral of never-ending Traffic, Conversion, and Economics.

You come to me and say, “I’ve developed this cool new invention, and it’s going to make millions of dollars. How do I sell it?”

We’re instantly in Marketing 101.

Before we begin some lengthy talk about buying clicks or writing emails or infomercials or any other technique, you need to answer four questions:

  1. Who would buy this? (that’s T)
  2. What can we say to persuade them to buy? (that’s C)
  3. Can you reach them affordably? (that’s E)
  4. Can they give you money? (that’s E)

Perry Marshall On The Value Of An Email Address

The economic value of an email address is huge.

Even with social media, blogs, Twitter, and everything else, email is still the center of the marketing universe.

The number-one function of your website is to collect an email address from your visitor before he leaves.

Chapter 6 - Pareto Summary

  • Everything in sales and marketing is summed up in the Power Triangle: traffic, conversion, economics, and 80/20.
  • Traffic comes first, then conversion, then economics. But great marketers think backwards, which means starting with economics.
  • There are two sides to economics: the money you get, and the value customers get in exchange for their money.
  • The simplest, easiest way to get leads is to buy or rent a list. The quality of lists obeys 80/20 - most are lousy; a small fraction are great.
  • The most valuable asset you own is the customer list you build yourself.

[…] even after you’ve stimulated interest and positioned yourself properly, there’s still another step you need to make before you try to convince anybody of anything.

That step is:

You must disqualify people who don’t fit.

If they don’t have the money, or your solution doesn’t fit, or if there’s no urgency, then there ain’t going to be no sale.

The Author On How To (Dis-)Qualify Prospects

  • Do they have the money? (People who do have the money are way easier to sell to)
  • Do they have a bleeding neck? (a dire sense of urgency, an immediate problem that demands to be solved. Right. Now.)
  • Do they buy into your unique selling proposition? (If you’re just going into a market, the question is, what big benefit will they buy into? What kind of deal would they snatch up in a hot second? What benefit do they want that the other guys are not promising?)
  • Do they have the ability to say YES?
  • Does what you sell fit in with their overall plans? (If your service requires major brain surgery on the part of the customer, he ain’t gonna take your offer unless brain surgery is literally a lot less painful than the alternative (e.g., dying).)

Perry Marshall On Agitating The Customer’s Pain

And before you ease the pain, you gotta intensify it.

The guy says to you, “It hurts really bad, right here.”

You point to his elbow and say “You mean here?” and you smack his elbow with a hammer, hard.

He yelps and sees stars for a moment.

He nods and takes a big gulp, choking back tears.


Good market for you to go into.

What’s the biggest, nastiest problem you’ve ever solved in your life?

That’s a real good start, right there.

Perry Marshall’s “Headline Test”

If your headline were a classified ad, would it make the phone ring?

Don’t focus on your product.

Focus on the urgent problem, the bleeding neck.

The Best Sales Formula Ever

Problem - Agitate - Solve.

Most people don’t spend nearly enough time on the “Agitate” part.

Perry Marshall On The USP (Unique Selling Proposition)

Why should I buy from you right now, instead of buying anything else from anybody else next week?

What can you uniquely guarantee?

That’s your USP.

4 Questions Your USP Can And Should Answer

  1. Why should I listen to YOU?
  2. Why should I do business with you instead of anybody and everybody else?
  3. What can your product do for me that no other product can do?
  4. What can you guarantee me that nobody else can guarantee?

Perry Marshall On How To Become A Super Successful Marketer

If you want to be a super-successful marketer:

Put yourself in a position where you get paid to practice, even if it’s only a modest amount of money.

Practice until your “simple” karate punch - ad writing, making sales presentations, buying traffic, negotiating, whatever you love most - is endowed with incredible force.

Learn to love repeating even basic things over and over again until you achieve perfection.

Don’t fall in love with bright shiny objects.

Fall in love with mastery.

What should you master?

Some aspect of marketing or sales that you naturally love and excel at - harnessing the natural forces of who you are.

Chapter 8 - Pareto Summary

  • The most important thing in marketing is a unique selling proposition.
  • Your business USP is an extension of your personal USP.

Perry Marshall On (Split-) Testing

  • Your first few hundred dollars of (Pay-Per-Click) advertising is pure education money. It’s an affordable “street MBA,” where you hone your marketing chops in the real world.
  • If you want to fix a sales funnel, break it into pieces and fix the pieces.
  • The secret to everything is split testing.
  • Improvements in segments of sales funnels multiply.

Focus on laser-targeted traffic sources like search engine marketing and email lists (high quality, low quantity) first.

As you execute the expanding universe principle, you work your way down the Power Curve.

The Author On Bold Guarantees

If it doesn’t make your stomach churn, it’s probably not an awesome guarantee.

Perry Marshall’s “Master Formula” For A Power USP

“If you are ___ (qualifying type of customer or company) and if you (commit  dollars and follow steps  and ), then you will achieve __ (specific results) or else _____ (penalty to me, your vendor).”

That Power USP gives you the ability to charge more than everybody else, because you deliver results.

Hour for hour, dollar for dollar, even though your product costs more initially, in the end it costs less.

Less uncertainty. Less doubt. Less finger-pointing.

Less going ‘round in circles.

One of my favorite sayings, which I stole from the venerable copywriter Herschell Gordon Lewis, is: Sell results, not procedures.

Any time you want to figure out how to get more money for what you sell, ask yourself this question:

“How do I make what I give my customer more of a finished result and less of a procedure?”

Chapter 13 - Pareto Summary

  • The essence of getting more money for what you sell is: “Sell results, not procedures.”
  • If you want to command higher prices than anyone else, then guarantee better results than anyone else.
  • If you’re selling for a company that lacks the will or ability to guarantee results, get yourself a different job.
  • Master formula for a Power USP
  • A Power USP makes every high-end sale a takeaway sale, which means customers are chasing you - you’re not chasing them.

Perry Marshall On Low And High Value Tasks And How To Spend Your Time

80/20 Sales and Marketing by Perry Marshall - How do you spend your time?

Chapter 19 - Pareto Summary

  • You do yourself no favors by keeping toxic customers around.
  • You do employees no favors by tolerating lousy performance.
  • Fire your problem customers.
  • Fire the bottom 10 percent of your employees.

Chapter 22 - Pareto Summary

  • Any time you have a complex business with lots of moving parts, you can make a simple matrix that shows you which small hinges swing big doors.
  • You can optimize half of your process by optimizing the most important 5 percent.
  • Once you’ve optimized Traffic and Conversion, turn your focus back to Economics.

Closing Thoughts

My book notes only cover small parts of the book.

So if you like what you read, please consider buying the book from the author.

Thank you for reading and stay awesome,

Tim for Online Business Dude

PS: Want To Start And Grow Your Own Online Business?

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