The 1 Per Cent Rule of Business

Reality of Business – The One Per Cent Rule

The 1 Per Cent Rule Of BusinessIf you could build a great product for a specific audience, spend some time finding them, and then tell them all about how great it is, 1% (at most) will buy it.


Before we find the answer, why are we in any way shocked by such a low figure?

Yes, it’s a massive generalisation, but for the average product in the average market, that’s what you should expect at the very most (don’t let the gurus fool you into thinking you can convert 30,40 or even 60% of the market – that comes much later).

It’s why new business projections and cashflow forecasts are such a waste of time (great for bankers and investors, crap for us) and so wildly wrong (apart from the obvious fact that no one can predict the future).

When I started out in business, I got madly excited by the possibilities (I still do).

I read everything I could on business (this was pre-internet, so there wasn’t much).

I took loads of advice on board (and mostly ignored it).

And I avoided EVERYTHING to do with doom and gloom (I’m not a glass half full guy, I’m a glass brimming over guy).

The gurus tell us we must think positive and remove all negativity – even firing your friends and family if necessary.

And of course they would. No one’s going to write a business book telling you it’s pants.

So it’s not surprising if, like me, you have high expectations.

The problem was, my expectations were of others…

…when they should have been of me (there’s a caveat to this though).

We can’t control others, so when they fail to live up to our expectations, they don’t fail, we do.

That’s why it’s vital we grab hold of the one per cent rule and run with it.

If you were to open a high street shop and fill it with one product in one size and one colour at one price, how many would you expect to sell if 100 random people walked through the door? 10? 1? none? (this is why shops try to stock hundreds of lines – and when they cut down because some financial guru told them to reduce costs – their sales fall too).

If you’ve just started a business and have decided all you need do is find a couple of prospects and your off to the races, remember the 1% rule.

Remember that you may well need to attract and talk to 100 prospects before you get a sale.

Use the Joe Girard principle – think of every rejection as another $10 earned towards that eventual $1,000 sale.

This is the reality of business.

But don’t fret. You can change this around, and quickly.



Humans love stories (good ones).

It doesn’t matter how long they are, as long as they hold our interest.

Obvious right?

Read the average sales letter or front page ‘pitch’ of all your competitors.

Are you inspired by what they say? (or are you thinking “they suck!”).

If I ask you what you do, what’s your response?

Will I be interested? (you’d have no idea because you just broke the first rule of selling – first find out what the problem is).

(as a retailer, instead of asking “May I help you?” to which the response is nearly always “no thanks, just looking”, you could be a little more creative “What’s brought you into this shop?” – say it with a smile on your face)

Words are not just powerful, they are everything.

It’s how we communicate. It’s how wars are started.

There is truly nothing mightier than words.

If you want to get above the 1%, start with the science of copywriting.


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