What Is A Rule Of 10 In Sales?

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The rule of ten in sales designates 10 minutes for the sales representative to talk about themselves and their company.

The old-school rule allows for 10 minutes to discuss the rep. This includes 10 minutes to discuss you and 10 minutes to discuss the future.

My name is Chris-Hoffmann, and I’m the vice president of sales at Kennected. In this blog, we’ll cover a controversial topic that’s plagued marketing and sales teams for decades.

What Is The Sales Process?

Sales is a process game – and it starts with identifying the buyers who are most likely to need and want your solutions.

Regularly work with your boss or a mentor to review your selling process and fine-tune it.

You want a deeper focus on how to identify the right buyers to contact, present a better message to them and follow up in meaningful ways.


There are four main ways of prospecting which include:

  • Cold calls

  • Ask for referrals

  • Networking

  • Book talks/seminars

Sales aren’t made on personal contact alone. And salespeople aren’t going to fully build and nurture relationships through digital channels.

Salespeople need to incorporate social selling strategies, messaging and a personal touch to get buyers’ attention and close sales.

Make Time For The Customers

Carve time out each week for every selling activity so your pipeline remains healthy with buyers in nearly every stage at any given time. Yes, some weeks will include more closing.

Other weeks might be all about prospecting. But the new sales rule is to schedule time for all your selling activities.

Start filling your sales pipeline today

The Rule of 8

You may have heard of this rule. Researchers say it takes about eight cold calls to reach a prospect.

The reason this rule should be broken, though, is because it needs more context – name, a time frame.

Those seven to nine cold contacts – calls, emails, social touches – are most effective if they’re done in a 10-business day window.

Who Is Your Ideal Customer?

Your ideal customers will usually be the ones who need your product most and are ready to buy with minimal contemplation.

It’s what they’ve been looking for, directly solves a problem and they quickly see it as the right fit. It does exactly the job this customer needs.

Since your product is designed to do a specific job, finding those ideal customers involves understanding, envisioning, and defining the buyer types most readily associated with that job.

The Problem(s) With The Rule of 10

Sales managers who follow the rule of 10 for one-on-one meetings with their sales reps may be missing a major opportunity to boost reps’ productivity, sales, and morale.

That rule appears to be an easy-to-follow layout for a productive meeting with a sales rep. However, when examined deeper, this strategy leaves much to be accomplished.

Only Seeing Dollar Signs

Selling is a numbers game, or at least that’s what most sales reps believe.

Many sales reps only see the numbers, and the dollar signs during those 10 minutes with the lead. It’s a “numbers game mentality.”

Focus on the customers first. The money will follow.

If salespeople contact, meet, present to and network with more of the wrong buyers, they won’t increase sales.

Wrong-Fit Customers

Bad customers don’t merely harm your bottom line, but they drive out your good customers and make your support staff miserable.

They habitually write negative reviews, always want a bargain, and are never satisfied for long. You end up spending the majority of time servicing the buyers who least appreciate it.

Often, major talking points are not brought to light until 25 minutes into a one-on-one meeting.

This means that the sales manager has to wrap up the conversation before any resolution is made.

Start filling your sales pipeline today

Being Narcissistic During Cold Calls

If a rep is only given 10 minutes to discuss themselves, they are likely to only bring up trivial issues rather than delving into more serious concerns.

Additionally, many managers will focus on “status updates.” This means they’ll be asking the rep what they have recently worked on, who they have called, and so forth.

These updates do nothing to showcase the value of the rep’s work.

The Solution(s) To The Rule of 10

They’re out there; the low-hanging fruit. These are the customers interested and eager to purchase your product.

Don’t let them down. There are various ways to combat the rule of ten.

Increase Meeting Time

A full 60 minutes of designated meeting time will leave enough wiggle room to delve deeply into any issues.

Increased meeting time will also remove any time-induced pressure for both the sales manager and the rep.

Have Sales Reps Educate Buyers

Buyers often need to learn less about you than you need to learn about them!

Still, many salespeople spend too much time telling prospects about their expertise, company, and solutions and not enough time learning about prospects‘ challenges and needs.

Salespeople can’t align needs with solutions without seeking education on buyers.

How do you combat this?

Look at your slide deck. Read through your prospecting notes. Eliminate 60% of what you have to say about yourself. Add 60% more questions about prospects.

Prepare To Fail

You’ll lose more than you win. Now, don’t let that make you a pessimist. Instead, recognize and prepare for what can go wrong.

Salespeople need to be realists. Optimists look for the bright side in everything.

Sales bring rejection, disappointments, and frustrations, and salespeople need to prepare realistically for those pitfalls to succeed.

Acknowledge Emotion

One of the best ways to help customers recognize the value of your solution and the relationship you’re building together is to stir up and acknowledge emotions.

Recap the things they’ve admitted “frustrate” them about their current situation.

Talk about the positive feelings – recognition, accolades, or satisfaction – they’ll have when they implement and experience your solution.

Start filling your sales pipeline today

Personalized Content

Personalized content and ads can be based on those things and your activity like Google searches and videos you watch on YouTube.

Personalized content and ads include things like more relevant results and recommendations, a customized YouTube homepage, and ads that are tailored to your interests.

Incorporate Social Selling

Salespeople need to incorporate social selling strategies, messaging and a personal touch to get buyers’ attention and close sales.

Use email templates, social media touches, and calls to connect with buyers. Ask for meetings with prospects who are open to it. Suggest online meetings for those who aren’t.

Recognize some prospects may sign deals without ever having a personal meeting.

Sales Managers, Become One With The Product

If your prospect can’t see that you walk, eat, breathe, and believe the talk about what you offer, you’re a phony. It’s that simple.

It’s an unfortunate reality that sales are seen through a black and white lens according to customers. The trust between customers and sales reps just isn’t like it used to be decades ago.

Shatter The Barrier Between Negotiations And Conflict

Many sales leaders and salespeople associate negotiations with competition and conflict.

Following a sales rule like that, they enter negotiations with a hard-nose, must-win-more mentality, and that’s unhealthy.

Discover The "Right" Customers To Increase Sales

Talk about features and benefits as long as buyers are interested.

When they indicate they understand your solution, ask questions to uncover the compelling reasons they need to do business with you – perhaps it’s extended services, a higher level of trust, continuing education, and industry knowledge.

Once you’ve established features, benefits, and compelling reasons, you can sell on your value, too.

Your brand messaging should be skewed toward attracting and nurturing the highest-value personas.

It’s possible to create campaigns that target not only geographically, by industry sector, and by age, but place the crosshairs on specific overlapping interests.

As you go through discovery and uncover challenges and needs, keep a balance sheet. You’ll be inclined to note all the reasons your solution is the right fit for prospects.

But you want to balance the sheet with objections buyers make and points you recognize don’t make for a perfect fit.

The downside of this approach is that your target market is smaller than the entire category, though this is only a problem if your niche market is too small to support your business goals.

There is no harm in focusing all your energy on the best-fit customers, and leaving the problem children alone. That’s a philosophy adopted by businesses like Airbnb and Uber.

Start filling your sales pipeline today

The Follow Up

Pay attention to customers‘ reactions to your follow-up. If you sense you’re more of a nuisance than an ally – or customers tell you so outright – stop.

Ask customers for permission to contact them again, or if they’d like to set up a recurring order in the interest of saving them time and effort.

High Lifetime Value Customers

For many products, specific personas will be power users who will buy the product again and again–and again.

For these special customers, the fit is absolutely perfect and they can’t get enough of what you’re selling.

They are your customers with the highest lifetime value, and because each one drives you closer to your 90/10 goal, you need to know what they look like.

And in many cases, you can empower personas to identify themselves.

In your lead generation, you can have prospects who submit a form self-identify by persona—including negative ones for that bottom ten percent—allowing your marketing automation (such as email nurturing or dynamic web page content) to deliver custom messages to each one.

Steer Your Course To Kennected

Kennected is making a push for lead generation through LinkedIn.

Whether you want to add clients, leads, or grow your network, Kennected offers the best tools.

If you’re unsure, check out our testimonial page, where you can listen to every example of the success we’ve accomplished.

We care passionately about our customers and clients.

To learn about more resources, visit our solutions page.

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