Are your salespeople strong enough to bring new customers in?

As we wind down 2017 and plan for a robust 2018, many organizations are putting a lot of thought in to how their sales department will not only grow revenues beyond 2017, but sell to new customers. If your business model requires your salespeople to ‘source their own leads,’ that is, to prospect, you must take an inventory of your sales team to see if you have the right salespeople in the right seats on the bus to make your new business goals more than just a “hope,” but probable.


Many salespeople are naturally good at working with existing clients, keeping them happy, occasionally upselling and cross-selling. We would call this type of a person a “servicer,” or account manager. Often times this person does better in a long selling cycle where patience, attention to detail and process is required. However, this type of salesperson often has difficulty looking for cross-selling and up-selling opportunities within developed relationships and does NOT see their primary responsibility as brining in a lot of new customers. Using the hunter vs. gatherer metaphor, this person is a gatherer.


On the other hand, there are salespeople who truly love “the hunt” for new clients. When looking at the makeup of a salesperson with a real ‘hunter’ mentality, we see some common traits that are critical to success.

  1. Hunters have that natural “fire in their belly.” When these people wake up each day, they rekindle a natural, innate drive to succeed. Their ambition to be the best drives their results and is ever-present. They tend to set very strong personal goals, have confidence in their abilities, and bring a high level of energy to their daily performance.

  2. Hunters create value and demand. Successful hunters understand that they are not simply fulfilling demand but are creating a demand for a particular product or service. They possess the skills to communicate the value of their products/services and deliver solutions to ease the unique ‘pain’ of each prospect.

  3. Hunters take control of the sales process. This is a critical trait for successful hunters because it is easy to default to the prospect’s process instead of staying true to their own. Taking control takes confidence, assertiveness, a healthy amount of influence and the ability to channel a nurturing demeanor. Quality hunters set appropriate expectations and make sure they and the prospects are on the same page every step of the way.

  4. Hunters take action. Simply put, the best hunters won’t sit on their hands waiting for someone else to make a move. They do not suffer from “paralysis by analysis” or concoct reasons why they aren’t going on the sales call. They set their goals, commit to the behaviors they will do and achieve them.

  5. Hunters take responsibility for their results. I’ve never met a great salesperson that didn’t accept responsibility for what was his to own. Too often people make excuses like, “I was given the worst territory” or “our competitors are beating us on price.” But not the hunters; they attack their goal no matter the obstacles. When faced with a challenge they figure out another way around the roadblock or obstacle, often on their own – with determination and fearlessness.

As we distinguish between hunters and gatherers, it is easy to see why some companies are disappointed with given salespeople on their team. The company leadership wants hunters, but they’ve hired people with a gatherer mentality and/or skillset. In that case, the leader is faced with the prospect of lowering or changing standards to accommodate their gatherers, train them to close the skill gaps that cause them to struggle, or help them find another role their better suited for.


The truth is, self-motivated and determined salespeople who love to find new business day in and day out do not grow on trees. Finding them can be difficult. The strongest sales organizations are always on the lookout for these people and use a structured hiring and interviewing system to be sure they have identified not only someone that CAN hunt and sell, but someone who WILL hunt and sell once hired. When you discover people with these rare traits, hire them and compensate them appropriately. It will be one of the most profitable decisions you ever make.


For the free whitepaper, ‘Why Sales People Fail-and What To Do About It’ contact Bob Bolak at . Bob Bolak is President/CEO of Sandler Training in the Greater Denver Area. As an accomplished leadership, management, customer service and sales consultant and trainer, he brings two and half decades of leadership, management and sales experience to the table, with a consistent track record of double and triple digit revenue and profit increases. Sandler Training has authored over two dozen books on effective leadership, management, customer service and sales.

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