Rack the Shotgun: ELIMINATE and focus on who’s left

Perry8020, Marketing Blog3 Comments

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8 shot gunAt age 17, my friend and colleague John Paul Mendocha dropped out of high school, hitchhiked to Vegas, and hustled for four years as a professional gambler.

Every day, 50,000 people were showing up in Sin City expecting to go home with some loot.

John resolved to do his very best to ensure that the city lived up to its reputation as “Lost Wages.”

A teenager running loose on the Las Vegas strip quickly figures out he needs some street smarts, so he found himself a mentor.

Rob was a seasoned gambler who took John under his wing in exchange for a split of the proceeds. Rob has a strategy.

“Son, the first lesson about gambling is, you have to play games you can win. You need to play people who are not as good at poker as you are. Those people are called marks.”

“How do I find marks?”

“Get in the car John, I’m gonna show you something.”

Rob took John to a cabaret. They walked in the door and sat down. Hard rock was pounding at 110 decibels, women were snaking around dance poles, and everyone in the club was greedily absorbed in alcohol and entertainment.

Rob always carried a sawed-off shotgun in his jacket. He pulled the shotgun out, slipped it under the table.

He pressed the lever, popping the chamber open as if to load it. But instead of inserting a shell, he loudly snapped it back shut, with that sharp, signature ratcheting sound shotguns are famous for—what enthusiasts call “racking the shotgun.”

A few heads in the crowd twisted around, trying to see where the racking sound had come from.

Everyone else was oblivious, absorbed in their haze of nightclub revelry. Then Rob slipped the gun back into his jacket.

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Bill, the owner of the club, slipped over to their table. He asked Rob, with a tone of concern: “Everything OK over here, boys?”

“Everything’s fine, Bill. Just teaching the lad a lesson,” Rob replied.

Then he leaned over and said to John, “John, did you see those people who turned around? Those guys are NOT marks. Don’t play poker with them.”

John, your job is to play poker with everybody else.”

That, my friend, is how you harness 80/20: I call it racking the shotgun.

Everything you do in marketing is racking the shotgun. Some people search Google; some don’t. Some people click on your ad; some don’t. Some open the email, some don’t. Some sign up for the webinar, some don’t. It’s all racking the shotgun.

You send one calculated signal that most ignore, but a few to respond to.

It separates the 80 percent from the 20 percent and it’s the fastest way to separate the amateurs from the pros, even in sales & marketing.


(Excerpted from 80/20 Sales & Marketing by Perry Marshall)

Forbes Magazine says, “Perry Marshall has taken the Pareto Principle to the next level.” -Dave Lavinsky, Forbes, January 2014

“If you don’t know who Perry Marshall is, unforgivable.” -Dan Kennedy, author of No BS Sales Success

“One of the all-time top 10 business books to impact your bottom line.” –Bill Harrison, Bradley Communications

“I thought ‘Oh, I’ve heard this before. Another book about 80/20.’ Shame on me. It’s PHENOMENAL!” –Tony Rubleski, author of Mind Capture

“Perry Marshall is about to blow your mind!”–Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth

“Best marketing book I’ve read this decade.” –Bob Bly, author of The Copywriter’s Handbook

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About the Author

Perry Marshall has launched two revolutions in sales and marketing. In Pay-Per-Click advertising, he pioneered best practices and wrote the world's best selling book on Google advertising. And he's driven the 80/20 Principle deeper than any other author, creating a new movement in business.

He is referenced across the Internet and by Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, INC and Forbes Magazine.

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