The Coach's Corner

Archive for February, 2021

Different Hunters are Better for Different Products or Services

February 15th, 2021 // Tom Doescher // 0 Comments

Tom Doescher - Doescher Advisors

In my last post, I identified three traits that I’ve observed over the years in the best Hunters. As I was talking with Kat, a new sales rep, about Hunter Extraordinaire, it seemed that, in addition to the general characteristics of the best Hunters, a number of special and unique traits or knowledge would be more or less important, depending on the company’s product or service.

Sometimes we over-engineer these subjects, so I’d often ask myself, What would I want to know before I made a purchase? Or, as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I would visualize my dad being the prospective client. (My dad, a mail carrier, had an abundance of common sense.) I’d think, Would I offer this product or service to my dad? Would it really help him? Does he really need it?

Here are some general categories of questions to consider:

  1. Is the company offering a product or a service to the client? (In this post, I’ll use the word “client,” but please substitute customer, patient, guest, or whatever you call them.)
  2. Is it an off-the-shelf product or service? Does it need to be modified to fit the client’s situation?
  3. Is the company offering a professional service?
  4. Are third-party installers or implementers required?
  5. Is the client a business or a consumer?

As I thought through those questions, I found I had some follow-up questions:

  1. How technical/complicated is the product or service? How knowledgeable does the sales rep need to be about the product? Is the sales rep teamed up with a technical support person to assist in explaining and demonstrating the product or service?
  2. How passionate is the sales rep about the product or service? For example, when I was proposing to a prospective client at Plante Moran, I knew we would really take care of their needs, so I had a degree of confidence (hopefully not cockiness) that the prospective client could sense or feel.
  3. Do I really understand the prospective client’s business, or should I do some research or ask a colleague to join me on the sales call?
  4. Will the person I’m talking with pay for the product or service, or are they spending someone else’s money?

Hopefully, you get the point. Do your homework to make sure you understand your prospective client, their business, and their industry.

If you have any additional pointers, please hit reply and share them.

 

How Do You Find a Hunter?

February 3rd, 2021 // Tom Doescher // 0 Comments

Tom Doescher - Doescher Advisors

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.

The Advisor’s Corner

Tom DoescherYou’ll find stories from the trenches, business lessons, and pertinent questions to help you find inspiration, professional growth, and leadership savvy.

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