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Selling Strategy Failure - Why The Rule of 7 Does Not Work Approaching a Prospect and More

Updated on June 5, 2012
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I'm a dad, husband, and Christian first. The rest is just life's add-ons: an educator, administrator, learning & development professional.


The Rule of 7 is a sales concept that is often misunderstood and misused.

Many sales experts recommend the Rule of 7 when it comes to selling. For decades now, this has been advocated by many sales gurus and sales trainers. Of course for the newbie in sales, this can be a very empowering moment. With the rule in mind one gets the motivation to go further in spite the initial failure. That’s sales, you may even add. And the Rule of 7 provides a comfort blanket that shields the beginner and even the veterans from discouraging circumstances. I still need to do more. I still need to create the sale. That’s the right attitude and that’s right mindset.

But after the 7th, the 8th or even the 15th try, there are still no favorable results. What has happened? I’ll tell you what happened - the Rule of 7 did not work for you!

Here's why people fail in sales even when they have the Rule in mind.

Out of sight, Out of mind

Misinterpreting the Rule

Many interpret the Rule of 7 as approaching the prospect at least 7 times to get them to say yes. It is not as simple as that I’m afraid. Though persistence is a valuable asset, it is not entirely what the rule is all about. In a nutshell, the rule is about exposing the prospect to your sales message at least seven times and with the hope that your call to action is answered.

This does not mean calling the person 7 times in a 2-week period and hope that the person buys from you. If you think of it this way then you’re totally off. How would you feel if someone hounds you like this? Yes, it is irritating. Instead of focusing on the benefits and advantages, all will remain is your nagging attitude. So NO, this is not what it means.

Instead of getting slapped with a restraining order, use different avenues to tell your prospect the “good news” about your product. Reinforcing your message in different ways is what is important. You are lucky in that there are many ways to do this. You have the traditional collaterals and printed materials, you have text messaging, e-mail, blogs, websites, even occasional meet ups and a host of other strategies. The import thing is to saturate the person’s conscious and subconscious about the benefits and advantages of the product or service you are selling.

Some may argue that that eventually people will buy because they get embarrassed for not buying after all your efforts. If this is the way you want to sell, then that is truly sad. Don’t sell for the sake of selling! Sell based on the products benefits and how you could help your client.


Wrong Focus

The Rule does not intend for people to push the sale of a product. It is to inform the prospect of how it can benefit them. Sales people often get into the habit of hard selling their product or service without knowing it. Perhaps it’s too much enthusiasm about the product; perhaps it’s just the way they talk. But the bottom line is that consumers don’t want to be pushed into buying. Rather, they want to decide for themselves and purchase at their own time. The Rule understands this. The Rule respects this. That is why you have to provide information not just once but several times – ideally, through different methods.

Here’s the reality – you are not the only one trying push a product. This can get tiring and irritating for the customer.

Focus instead on providing information that they need. Be a consultant not a sales person. Be and expert that they can turn to rather than a person they hide from. Knowing the product/services well, knowing the procedures, knowing how to troubleshoot problems, these are what clients want. Nurture a partnership where they can rely on you for information.

More than just selling, the focus of the Rule of 7 is to enlighten the prospect. If they see the relevance of the product in their lives, they will buy.


Unchanging Methods

They say that when more senses are used the easier it is for the brain to recall. But of course, over-stimulating customers have its draw backs. The key is to have the right strategy and method prepared. Likewise, a variety of styles must be employed. Online marketing, text messaging, printed materials, sales letters, multi-media and others can be used to create informative sales materials. By diversifying your strategies and methods, your sales spiels and tactics become fresh and more attractive. You don’t need to spend much. In fact there are ways to do this without the hefty price tag – we’ll deal with that in the future.

The Rule warrants that you provide fresh perspectives and view points about the product that you are selling. Just imagine saying and showing the same materials over and over. That can be a nightmare – even for you! Don’t strive for the dismal “It’s you again” or “that again” from your prospects. Offer something new for a change.

Apart from the technique, explore a fresh new angle. If you are talking about savings, then why not illustrate how much the person can save in a week’s time, a month or even a year. To make it even more relevant to the person you can tell them what they can buy from all the savings.

The most important part in preparing materials is to keep the client at the center of it all. In the end, they are the ones who will benefit from your product. Remember, it’s about them and the product. It’s not about you and definitely not about selling. OK, it’s a little about making the sale.

Are you running in the right race?


Prospects are NOT QUALIFIED

No matter how many times you approach a person if they are not qualified they will not buy. This is a common mistake that new sales professionals do – even experienced one fall into this trap as well. If this is your niche, then chances are, you can sell. However, if it is not, then don’t get your hopes up.

Can you do a sales presentation to unqualified people? Of course you can. No one is stopping you. But to put too much effort into something that you know will not pan out to be fruitful is illogical. The “who knows” and “what if” factors are there but to fully invest your resources with them is not a wise move. Spend your time with qualified prospects than trying to convince others to become part of a niche that they don't belong.

Many say that sales is a race to get the prospect to buy from you. But think for a moment. Are you running in the right race? Even if you get ahead of others, the wrong prospect might be at the end of the line.

More than just a sales technique, the Rule of 7 is a sales philosophy about how to sell properly. Moreover, it is not an excuse for not being able to close a sale. Now that you know where most sales people go wrong. Rethink your strategies and close that sale once and for all.


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    • profile image

      Giselle Maine 6 years ago

      An interesting and well thought out hub about the rule of 7.

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

      Very insightful. Every sales people should read this! Rated up and useful. :)

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 6 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      @ Giselle Maine. For years I've been advocating the Rule of 7. However, I see that many if not all get the concept wrong. it's about time to make the rule actually work for sales people.

      @ Om Paramapoonya. I just hope that this hub reaches many sales people.

      Thanks to both of you. Hope to see you around.

    • hatimyal profile image

      hatimyal 6 years ago from India

      nice hub liked it.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 6 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Thanks for dropping by hatimyal.

    • alternate poet profile image

      alternate poet 6 years ago

      Well put together and well thought out, you sold it to me:)

      As a good writer with an understanding of inter-cultural matters - you might like to take a look at my affiliate writers site

      We are still collecting good writers together and about to start co-operative writing. Chris

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 6 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hi there alternate poet. Thanks for reading and the kind words. I'll check out the link you suggested.

    • profile image

      perassanna 5 years ago

      nice hub jpcmc

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Thanks perassanna. I hope you can use the informaion here.

    • profile image

      H.Agosto 4 years ago

      DUring my earlier real estate career, we were taught the rule of seven. Just like what you said, we misinterpreted it. It was a means to encourage us when we faced constant rejections. we were not taught how to do it properl. It was a concept thrown around and unfortunately we were not properly trained for it.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hello H.Agosto,

      I guess we live in the same era where the rule of seven is often used to soften the blow of rejection. Although it does keep the sales person focues, properly doing it is anothr matter. Thank you for sharing your ideas on the topic.

    • profile image

      M. Orteza 4 years ago

      The rule of 7 was one of the first thing my sales manager taught us. It does not work for me. Now I know why.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hi M.Orteza,

      realizing what is wrong is always a good start. now that you know, make the necessary changes. This way you get to improve and see more positive results. Happy selling.

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