Published: October 4th, 2016

I am a firm believer that people need to be reminded, more than they need to be instructed, so treat this blog as a good reminder of something that we all need to do more of, and that we shouldn’t let get away.

Just like being reminded to go to the gym or squeeze in some reading time, I’m here to remind you all that you need to prospect more. A lot more.

But why don’t sales people proactively call out more? Let’s look at some sales psychology that many of you may be struggling with. Particularly, there are two types of people in sales: Hunters and Farmers.

What’s the difference?

It seems that 75 per cent of IT sales jobs are compensated and directed towards Farmers, even though the senior executives typically like the Hunters the most.

Farmers have an extremely important role, and that is to keep our best customers our best customers (aka happy). And it can be hard for them to find new business and relationships because they are busy trying to keep their biggest dogs the happiest. Unfortunately, most technology companies have so many technology issues and process gaps, that the Farmer is playing defense most of the time.

But if you’re a boss, chances are you want it all. Since Farmers don’t do a lot of hunting, it isn’t top of mind and isn’t an exercised muscle. Muscles that aren’t exercised tend to become soft.

On the other hand, hunting takes a TON of discipline to make it a career. Most Hunters burn out after a short period of time, and relegate to Farmers. Hunting also takes a TON of patience, which typically senior executives don’t have, so most of it is short lived. I, myself, have twice been a victim of impatient bosses in this regard, so I can speak first hand on the topic.

You see, the senior executives put a lot of pressure on the Hunters to bring in new large business quickly, get impatient, and put the stress on the poor Hunter rep, who either quits, gets fired or moved to a different position after failure. The company loses all positive momentum in those relationships, and the program all but stops. Then a year later, a senior executive says “We need an acquisition team!” And it reboots again. And typically, it fails again.

My belief is that if you’re a Farmer, even with a territory of accounts, you still need 25 per cent of your activity to be net new revenue generating business. You need to work that muscle and stay fresh, and if you are any good, it is what got you there to begin with.

Net new revenue should have two silos: A) new lines of business within an existing customer base and B) new relationships within a new customer (notice I didn’t say line of business… trust comes first).

So how do you make the time?

It’s easy: Do it early in the morning, before you get bogged down with a hundred emails and voicemails. And don’t open your outlook, social media, or fantasy sports pools.

Most people are in meetings from 10am to 4pm. So if you can make proactive calls from 830am to 10am, you have a better chance of getting people on the phone, and getting their attention. I have been lucky enough to have been enrolled in the best cold calling training on the planet TWICE, (at $5000 per day each time) and there is no doubt that early morning, and late afternoon, has the highest chance of getting people on the phone.

It’s time to make it rain! Stir the pot.

Leave your comments below, and stay tuned for my next blog.

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