Improving Your Sales Tactics by Using the 43:57 Rule

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Picture this: you finally achieved your dream of having your own bakery business. You have a store with aesthetically-designed exteriors and interiors, and now you can sell your own products. Everything feels perfect!

However, the next challenge awaits: you stop in front of your store and try to engage people into fun conversation, practically begging them to buy at least one piece of bread.

A week later, you realize that you have only sold four products, three of which you bought yourself as you got too hungry from working. Now you’re stuck and clueless as to what to do. You feel like you have done and said everything you could, yet no one seems to be listening to you.

This doesn’t need to happen to you, especially if you use the 43:57 Rule.

Reduce your Talking time. Choose to Listen.

According to former philosophy teacher Jonny Thomson, who is also the author of the bestseller Mini Philosophy, people in general have a marked preference for talking over listening. Thomson further elucidates in his article in Big Think the importance of cutting back on time spent talking and give more to listening.

People in general should harness social conversations, cultivate being great conversationalist, and enjoy listening to others.

The Roosevelt Experiment

We all want to be seen and heard. However, most people spend time waiting for their turn to talk and preparing what they will say rather than truly listening. Franklin Delano Roosevelt even liked to prove this whenever by telling people who he just met, “I murdered my grandmother this morning.” Roosevelt’s experiment proved that the vast majority never even noticed what he said.

Better Conversations according to Minda Zetlin

Minda Zetlin, the author of “Career Self-Care: Find Your Happiness, Success, and Fulfillment at Work,” wrote a thought-provoking article for Inc. Magazine where she talked about the 43:57 Rule, saying that this concept can help encourage better conversations.

Researchers analyzed at least 25,000 sales calls, where they measured the sales representatives’ ratio of talking versus listening with the intent of finding the perfect proportion of talking and listening.

The Research Leading to the 43:57 Rule

According to the results, the salespeople made the most sales during business calls when they spoke 43% of the time, and the customer spoke 57% of the time— hence, the concept of the 43:57 Rule.

However, the salespeople who spoke at least 60% during sales calls made the lowest sales. These results suggest that when salespeople actively listen to a potential customer or investor talk, it becomes a more effective way to sell a product or service than merely talking about your product or service.

Moreover, the seller have a better understanding of the customers’ needs and wants when the salesperson identify with them.

If you are looking for methods proven and backed by research for your next pitch, here is how you can apply the 43:57 Rule to improve your tactics:

Practice active listening

Instead of planning out what you will say next, try to truly tune in to what the other person is saying.

To practice active listening, begin by shifting your focus towards the other person. Truly commit to listening and being immersed in the flow of your topics and conversation.

Observe the person’s non-verbal cues, too. Pay attention to what the other person is saying through their body language, and not only through their words.

You can also look at the facial expressions of the person sitting beside you and who you are conversing with, their tone of voice, and other gestures. For example, are they smiling warmly or are they faking it? Are their eyebrows raised, are their arms crossed defensively, or are their feet facing you?

Do not interrupt 

Being interrupted is frustrating because it gives the impression that you think you are more important, or that you don’t have time to listen to what they have to say. Even interruptions that respond to something that they said can be distracting if it means the conversation diverts from what they were trying to tell you about.

A pause or a period of silence does not mean that you have to jump in. This is your middle ground. Allowing the other person to speak will make it easier for you to understand what they are trying to say.

If you are naturally a quicker thinker or speaker, force yourself to slow down so that the other person can speak. If you happen to interrupt someone while they’re talking, do an excellent job at circling the conversation back to what they were talking about and apologize.

Ask questions and be genuinely interested in the other person

Asking questions is a fantastic way to make someone open up, encourage them to talk more, and learn about them further. So while the other person is speaking, and you’re tuning in to what they say, start thinking about what questions to ask them that will encourage them to tell you more.

People will appreciate your interest. You never know you might just hit the pleasure centers of the person you are conversing with by just giving them your full attention.

Tip: Ask open-ended questions instead of ones that could be easily answered with a yes or no. You can do this by asking questions that begin with how or why.

Remember eye contact and smile while listening, but do not force it

Eye contact is an important part of face-to-face conversation.

However, too much eye contact can be intimidating. So, make sure to adapt to the situation you are in. A good way to enforce eye contact without it being too much is to break eye contact every five seconds or so, or to show you are listening attentively, look at one eye for five seconds, then another eye for five seconds, then switch to looking at their mouth.

Smiling at the person you are talking to could also make them feel warmth, but it will be obvious if you are faking it. One of the things you can do is find something appropriate in the conversation or the person to appreciate, as that will help you smile genuinely.


When talking to someone, try to imagine yourself as them or put yourself in their shoes. It can be easy to think, “How will it make me look if I say or ask this?” However, this only makes us miss out on the essence of the conversation as we are too much in our heads instead of living in the moment.

Engage with their motivation behind speaking. Always be respectful to the other person instead of focusing on yourself too much during the conversation.

The 43:57 Rule will bring out the best in your conversations and connections. When you engage in your next sales talk, make sure to bring out your listening hat as you use this proven tactic.

Remember: talk less, listen more!

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