After publishing Hunter Extraordinaire,
I wanted to test out my assumption that this “field manual” could be used to train new business development sales reps. To that end, I began a search to identify someone early in their career with whom I could work. I found Kat, and here are just a few of the characteristics I identified in her: 1) She started working in a professional office when she was 15 years old; 2) She was a competitive swimmer and still plays water polo; 3) As a result of dual enrollment, when she graduated from high school she was one class short of being a college junior; 4) She made a good first impression and was easy to speak with; 5) She smiled a lot. I would encourage you to look for similar clues when you’re recruiting and selecting new sales reps.
As we began to meet and discuss the book, I realized there were a few important traits missing from Hunter Extraordinaire.
Before joining Plante Moran, I completed several personal assessments. When I met with the recruiter to review the results, he said I had scored high in social work, which caught me off guard. He could tell I was a little stunned, and quickly followed up by saying that was a positive. He explained that the firm was looking for professionals who liked to help and serve clients (in this post, I’ll use the word “client,” but please substitute customer, patient, guest, or whatever you call them). He went on to say the firm desired to build a culture where team members wanted to help each other at all levels. He said, “You’re a perfect fit.” In light of my four-decade career there, I guess he was right.
As a result of my experiment, my first addition to Hunter Extraordinaire would be that sales reps should like to help and serve their clients. In my observation of the best Hunters, every one of them puts the client first, and they love to help them both professionally and personally (i.e., helping a spouse or child). Often they become good friends with them. They would never intentionally do anything that would hurt the client.
The second trait would be to have a high degree of curiosity. In addition, it’s critical to have a sincere interest in the client’s business and industry. The best Hunters ask lots of questions — and do a lot of listening. I’m not talking about some technique learned in Sandler training (which, by the way, is excellent); I’m talking about really wanting to understand the client, their business, and their industry. (BTW, the client can tell!)
The third missing trait is being a good connector. By that I mean introducing the client to others who may be helpful to them. For example, say you find out, as you’re asking questions, about special needs the client may have. The next step would be to offer a possible solution to their problem with no direct benefit to you or your company. I judge how I’m doing with a client based on their inquiries of me. If they ask about a very narrow subject that has nothing to do with my service, then I believe I’ve accomplished my goal of being a trusted adviser.
In summary, extraordinary Hunters love to help their clients, really get to know them, and connect them with useful resources.