What’s in a word — or, rather, what the heck do I call myself?
“Salesman” remains an uncomfortable label. To me, that focus has a “self-interest-first” feel. Initially, “hunter” didn’t feel quite right, either. I believe it, too, connotes high self-interest — which is generally a win/lose proposition. Merriam-Webster finally got my attention. It defines “hunter” this way: “A person who searches for something.” So in this series, consider that a “hunter” is someone focused on searching for unmet needs. The emphasis shifts from “making a sale” to finding the place I believe the most successful business developers spend their time — meeting the needs of others first.
Hunters can be both inside employees and outside independent contractors/representatives. Regardless, what do the best hunters look like? Thoughts on this vary, but given the definition above, consider the following:
- Hunters are effective at developing relationships with and helping people — they’re able to gain trust.
- Hunters are great communicators who place a strong emphasis on listening (do the math; we have two ears and one mouth).
- Hunters are smart, with an ability to think strategically and out of the box.
- Hunters are inquisitive when it comes to identifying unmet/unsatisfied needs — they’re able to create “pull” scenarios to meet needs, versus “pushing”/selling.
- Hunters are calculated risk-takers.
- Hunters are disciplined, persistent and competitive.
- A hunter believes in and is passionate about what they do.
- A hunter is able to balance the short- and long-term; they realize sometimes it’s better to back off. Pushing may destroy an opportunity permanently.
Finding the right person is important. Equally important is how you treat them once they join your team. A few considerations:
- Make sure you have a clear understanding of the hunter’s role in pricing. It helps avoid miscommunication, unmet expectations and lost opportunities.
- Do your homework when it comes to compensation. Treat these individuals commensurate with the value they bring. If you want better candidates, think upper quartile in the marketplace.
- Beware of making the best hunter the manager. The skills that are required for each role are very different, and not necessarily interchangeable.
Next post: Let’s Get Growing
Tom’s editorial comment: If, while you’re reading this series, you believe Dan could be helpful to your company, please contact him directly at [email protected], or 248-701-8787.