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80/20 Sales and Marketing Book Summary – Perry Marshall

What you will learn from reading 80/20 Sales and Marketing:

– Three steps to selling anything.

– How to create the perfect USP for your business.

– How to use a power guarantee to supercharge your sales.

At any given time, there are only three to four things you need to focus on to get your business to the next level.

Three steps to selling anything:

The first step is getting traffic – Human bodies, eyes and ears to sell to without raising defences. 

The next step is conversion – You have to convince the person that what you have is going to solve their problem. 

The final step is economics – You have to give them something that’s valuable and get their money. 


Questions to ask around 3 steps to selling anything:

Who would buy this? (Traffic)

What can we say to persuade them to buy? (Conversion)

Can you reach them affordably? (Economics)

Can they give you money? (Economics)



When you can convert a visitor to a dollar better than everyone else in your niche, you can buy their traffic from them. Put simply, how well you compete comes down to how much you can afford to pay.  

You need to begin with end in mind by making every transaction more valuable. How do you do that? You might ask. Well, up-sells and cross sells. Remember to sell the results not the procedures. And, don’t forget to sell complete packages so you create an offering that is total problem solving with as little fuss as possible. 


The Five Power Disqualifiers:

  1. Do they have the money?
  2. Do they have a bleeding neck?
  3. Do they buy into your unique selling proposition?
  4. Do they have the ability to say YES?
  5. Does what you sell fit in with their overall plans?


Disqualify people you don’t want:

Rack the Shotgun – Send one calculated signal that most ignore, but a few to respond to.

Add disqualifies to recruitment: £25 application fee. Fire bottom customers. Nobody benefits when you subsidise incompetence and sloppy standards. 


Problem – Agitate – Solve – The simple copywriting formula:

Most people don’t spend half the time on Agitate part. Simple ads offer a crystal-clear solution to a problem, a specific amount of time and an ‘or else’ statement. 


Building the Perfect USP:


1. Service. Guaranteed friendliness. Guaranteed delivery. Guaranteed live person on the phone, etc. 

2. The market you serve is unique, e.g., your focus is businesses with 10 employees or fewer. 

3. Your product is unique. It has a guaranteed result. It’s tailor-made for X kind of om person. Using it is a guaranteed “experience.” 

4. Your whole “experience“ is unique. A cab/limo driver promises hot Starbucks coffee and a morning newspaper waiting for you, and he’ll have you to the airport on time or you don’t pay. 

5. Your price is unique. It may be a low price (“We’ll beat anyone’s advertised price or your mattress is free!”). It may carry a premium price. There are guaranteed add-ons that other competitors don’t offer at your price. 


Four questions a USP 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?


Using power guarantee:

Eliminate the customers risk by making a power guarantee. 

The question is: Who is taking the risk? 

And if you won’t take the risk, why should your customer? 

  • Your ability to take this risk has everything to do with disqualifying customers who do not fit.


The power guarantee statement:

If you are (qualifying type of customer or company) and if you (commit x pound and follow steps Y and Z), then you will achieve (specific results) or else (penalty to me, you vendor)

The power USP gives you the ability to charge more than everybody else, because you deliver results. And, people pay for certainty. 


Create a Split testing system:

Create a split testing system. If you want to fix a sales funnel, break it into pieces and fix the pieces. Test 50 ads and one of them will be a winner. 

You can improve your lead capture pages and sales pages by talking to customers on your website. Find out if there is confusion and alleviate this. 

Use adwords to split test titles. 

  1. Paid social media
  2. Google AdWords
  3. SEO 
  4. Email promotions
  5. Free social media and podcasts
  6. Affiliates
  7. Direct Mail
  8. Banner ads and ad networks
  9. Press Releases
  10. Print advertising, TV and Radio


Facebook marketing works well for entertainment, tribal identity, experiences and escapism. 


The 80/20 Rule:

Handy Rule of Thumb: 80/20 says that 20 percent of the people will spend 4 times the money. It also says that 4 percent of the people will spend 16 times the money.  

The 80/20 principles says that if 10 people will pay £1 a cup of coffee, two of the 10 will pay £4 for a better cup of coffee. As long as the superior cup of coffee is perceived as being ‘just as good of a deal’. 


Delegating made simple:

Create a Love List and Hate List:

Outsource the Hate list. Shed a whole lot of utterly forgettable, trivial, uninteresting busy work. 

What items on my to-do list can I hand off to my personal assistant? 


80/20 Market Research Protocol:

Frequently present needs, are also frequently catered to needs. Look for needs which are on the periphery, not being met as of yet.

  • The What question: “What’s your single most important question about…? (Keyword)
  • The Why question: “Why would it make a difference in your life to get a good answer for this problem or find a solution for your need? (Details, please)”
  • The How Difficult question: “How difficult has it been for you to find a good answer for the above to date? (Not at all, somewhat difficult, very difficult)”


Shortlist of things to test and track:

  1. Money in, Money out
  2. Click-thru rates of Google Ads
  3. Conversions of specific keywords to sales
  4. Opt-in and lead generation forms
  5. Sales pages and order forms
  6. Individual traffic sources (affiliates, banners, email promotions)


RFM is: 

  • Recency – How recently has your customer purchased? Which customers have bought something in the last 90 days?
  • Frequency – How often has your customer purchased? Which customers have repeatedly bought things from you?
  • Money – How much has your customer spent? Which customers have spent the most with you?