Jon E Horton - 22 laws of selling

Jon E. Horton has worked in sales, marketing and consulting for more than four decades. Through his extensive experience in the field of telecommunications he has been able to apply his sales expertise to form strong partnerships with executives from a wide variety of industries. He has distilled his years of work in the rules and vignettes found in The 22 Unbreakable Laws of Selling.

Quantity vs. Quality: A Trick Question

Author: Jon Horton | Category: Basic Laws of Selling

When interviewing for new jobs throughout my sales career, I always told potential employers they could count on me to be, “in early and out late.” I made certain to share this disinformation because I was proud of the hours I devoted to my work. Fortunately for me, none of my future bosses ever responded with, “So what?”

Sales Managers have seen sellers still sitting at their desks well into the evening. Maybe the same salesperson was already there when the boss arrived in the morning. The long hours will be noticed and the apparent effort appreciated. But let’s face it – if all that energy doesn’t produce results, a Sales Manager will remain unimpressed.

Clearly, a seller who is generating contracts will curry more favor with management than one with nothing to show for hours of work. But does writing business make it acceptable for a salesperson to stroll in mid-morning, turn in an order and leave the office in time for an early happy hour? How much additional revenue is this account executive leaving on the table?

“All things in moderation, nothing to excess.” This mantra from the ancient Greek philosophers makes sense today when trying to balance the relative values for quantity versus quality. Consider:

  • Renewing many existing contracts (quantity) should not be a substitute for bringing in new business (quality).
  • A cluster of discounted orders (quantity) may have less value than a few contracts at a higher unit price (quality).
  • Cold calling many random prospects (quantity) has a lower chance of success than pursuing fewer new clients that have been carefully pre-screened for potential (quality).
  • Hiring multiple warm bodies to fill every available sales cubicle (quantity) can be less productive than taking the extra time to identify a single experienced seller (quality).

The takeaway is the same for managers and sellers alike. Trying to manage sales activity with goals predicated only on quantity (50 client contacts, 20 new prospects and 10 closing presentations weekly, for instance) is unlikely to succeed. Effective time management must include criteria defining the right contacts, prospects and closing opportunities.

For me (and I hope for you as well), weighing the proper emphasis of quantity versus quality is easier when I reduce the challenge to a single word. Efficiency!

Efficiency is “performing in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort.”

As a Sales Manager, I don’t want a sales team exhausted from 18-hour days and I don’t want sellers frustrated by a lack of results. On the other hand, I don’t want a staff that fails to maximize production from lack of effort.

Achieving the optimum balance will require trial and error from managers and sellers and the best mix will vary from person to person. But the task is simpler when the focus is on achieving Efficiency (E) without exclusive reliance on either Quantity (Q) or Quality (Q).

To steal a line from one of my earlier blogs, “I’m No Einstein, But”,

Jon E. Horton is the author of The 22 Unbreakable Laws of Selling available in both paperback and Kindle versions from For more of his blogs, please visit Comments to

Last updated: Feb 27, 2014