Do you have the "hunter" sales talent & skills?
There are critical sales hunting skills every successful hunter/rainmaker possesses. When you are hiring a sales executive to hunt, you want to be sure your candidate has these skills before you hire. If your objective is to place/hire an A-player, put these skills at the top of your interview list and assess them. Then, step back and take a hard look at the sales hunters you have on staff to evaluate their effectiveness.
Will these reps (or candidates) get you to your goal? If you’re the salesperson, will you achieve your own goal? How do you stack up?
Cold Calling Attitude
Hunting success starts with a salesperson’s attitude. Cold calling is hard. It’s why hunters typically are compensated much higher than account managers. If anybody could do it, every business would be growing. But that’s not the case. Look for these sales hunting skills to determine if your candidates – or you – have the right cold calling approach and attitude:
By nature, natural sales hunters possess an inherent desire to hit the phones, LinkedIn, video, email, and even the pavement to drum up new business. They’re always looking for the next opportunity no matter where they are. (My personal favorites are airplanes, my home office and coffee shops, followed by video emails.)
You work independently to uncover new opportunities. You aren’t sitting around waiting for inbound marketing qualified leads or someone to run a campaign.
Excellent hunters set their own quotas and self-monitor key success metrics. Many companies don’t give their salespeople quotas. The best sales hunters know they have to have their own personal goals.
Great hunters are continually looking for ways to boost their performance. They seek out prospecting training to fix issues or learn new approaches. They hold themselves accountable to uncovering and working qualified prospects. When you do these things, you know precisely where to focus your energy.
3. Comfortable with uncertainty
In sales hunting, you never know where your next lead will come from. Successful hunters thrive on the unknown. They know that if they stay positive and focused, new opportunities will appear.
In sales calls, you never know how deep a prospect may want to take a conversation. It’s a new contact! Will they want a 3-minute conversation to qualify you or 30 minutes to share their deepest issues? As a skillful hunter, you are capable of carrying on a conversation long enough to schedule an appointment or get the right person on the phone.
Sales Hunting Activities
When you want to hire a skilled sales hunter, the first thing most business owners think to query is what are a candidate’s go-to prospecting activities. These 3 will quickly identify if your hunter is skilled at using prospecting activities to gain access to the right people at the right time.
1. Prospect The best sales hunters have their own plan for executing the activities that will generate the leads they need. They use the Bloodhound Follow-up Strategy with tenacity. They are entrepreneurial by nature. They continually adapt cold calling approaches, and are first to try new technologies and techniques to break through.
If your company has a B2B lead generation system, that’s even better — but as a great hunter, you don’t hesitate to supplement it to blow away your quota.
2. Get visible
Great hunters want to meet new people. They don’t shy away from prospecting time. They eagerly embrace it and are frustrated when you pull them away from their designated time.
Sales hunters text, ask for referrals, create video emails, and send email calendar invites. These activities set you apart from your competitors and make you memorable. They are arrows in your quiver, and you’re not afraid to use them even when your peers pull back.
3. LinkedIn savvy
LinkedIn prospecting is critical to identifying, researching, and connecting with potential prospects. Great sales hunters understand this. You use these tools to uncover and engage with qualified prospects. You set aside time each day to network on LinkedIn, meet new people, reconnect, and – set first appointments.
It’s not enough to get the door open and score the first appointment. If a hunter is going to convert a prospect to a sales qualified lead, a real opportunity, they have to be able to sell too. Sales hunting skills aren’t limited to prospecting activities. Look for these 4 skills in your candidates and hunters.
1. Don’t take no for an answer the first time When great sales hunters reach a prospect, their goal is to extend the conversation long enough to establish a relationship through good discussion. You know that the longer you engage prospects, the better your chances are of scheduling an appointment. You are respectful, yet persistent.
You may have to call again at a better time, but you use what you learn from each encounter to move past the no to the next step in the process, from first appointment to close.
2. Great listeners Most sales reps talk too much. Top sales hunters, on the other hand, know when to be quiet. They recognize when to listen, because it will allow them to learn enough about the prospect to get in the door and make the appropriate recommendation.
You listen for the issues you can address and additional people you should talk with.
3. Inquisitive and insightful Skilled hunters have a keen ability to ask smart, insightful questions. Their queries make prospects think about their situation, needs, and criteria, which almost always leaves a lasting impression. Your ideas and recommendations make prospects want to work with you because they sense you can help. You build trust through your inquisitive nature. If prospects aren’t ready to meet with you now, they probably will be in the future.
4. Progressive qualifier The best hunters progressively qualify sales prospects throughout the sales process. It begins with the first call and continues through each subsequent meeting. You space your qualification questions throughout the sales process, continually learning more, while also re-qualifying that the opportunity has not changed. Your closing ratio reflects your finesse.
Assess Sales Candidates
So how do your candidates, your team, and you stack up?
When you hire sales hunters who have these 10 sales hunting skills, they reach full productivity faster. When your whole staff has these skills, you achieve your personal and growth objectives. Plan to assess every sales candidate early in the hiring process to weed out those people who might sway you because of their likeablity, not their sales ability. If you’re wondering about your current staff, step back and analyze them.
If you’d like to assess sales candidates as you’re hiring, or evaluate if you have the right salespeople in the right sales seats, contact us at M. Allen via email@example.com. Together we’ll examine the role you need, implement a predictive, proven sales candidate assessment, and help you avoid hiring mistakes.