All I Need to Know about Business I Learned from a Duck

Archive for December, 2014

How to Train the “Lions” in Your Sales Department

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Check out the video, below, of lions chasing wildebeest. What caught my attention was the moment they gave up the hunt.

A lion’s survival balances on the point between how much energy it will lose in hunting for a meal and the energy it will gain actually eating it. It’s a trade-off that needs to be mastered quickly by all predators in the natural world if they are to live and thrive.

It’s also an important calculation that owners, managers and supervisors need to apply in the business world, especially within sales departments.

Unlike lions, most salespeople don’t know when to abandon chasing down a prospect. Why? Most likely it’s because their sales manager didn’t provide clear, rational guidelines regarding when to abandon the hunt!

Here are three ideas that you can provide to your sales team to help them gauge whether a prospect is worth a drawn out chase:

1. Does the prospect’s brand really have a point of difference in the marketplace? Landing a new client that really doesn’t “have a better mousetrap” can be a losing proposition in the long run. Most likely, prospects with products and services that are viewed as commodities will not survive for long in the marketplace. So if a prospect doesn’t occupy a unique or differentiated position, stop your pursuit and find a better target.

2. When sales prospects stop taking your calls, it’s never a good sign. As a general rule, after unsuccessfully trying to contact the prospect five (5) times, give up the chase, ask your marketing department to put them on a drip marketing campaign (send your prospect something interesting or of value every quarter) and go after a more promising prize.

3. Ask your social media contacts about your prospect and whether or not they feel your mark is worth pursuing. I prefer using LinkedIn where I have 500+ connections and over 7 million people in my LinkedIn Network. Even if you only have 50 connections, I believe LinkedIn is a valuable, under-utilized market intelligence resource.

Share those three practical pieces of advice with everyone in your sales department and you’ll have my permission to add the title “Lion Trainer” to your resume.