DeWese--Turning a Grazer into a Hunter
The executive whined on. "It's worse than that. Eighty percent of the 20 percent who sell the 80 percent are retiring during the next 36 months. My top prospectors are headed for the pasture. My competitors are going to eat my lunch!"
I told the executive to get a hold of himself. I said that printers had a similar problem a few years ago, but I wrote a column on prospecting for new business, and all the salespeople read it, and now there's no longer a problem.
In fact, recent studies show that 100 percent of the print salespeople sell 110 percent of the work. Ten percent of the work is never produced because the plants either lose the jobs or just don't deliver them. At least that's the report I'm getting from America's print salespeople.
This big-time executive was starting to go to pieces on the phone. I had to get him off the line. I told him that I'd send him a narrative outline from a brief speech that I had made to some printing salespeople. Here's what I sent.
1. Prospecting self-perceptions. Experts view salespeople as "hunters" and "grazers." Hunters are highly prized because they thrive on opening new accounts. In fact, they live for the conquest. Grazers are only prized so long as they keep the business they've got. When sales experts talk about hunters, they speak in an enthusiastic but reverent tone. When a sales recruiter finds a hunter, it's akin to the Denver Broncos finding John Elway.
Salespeople must change their self-perception about prospecting for new business. They must honestly ask themselves: "Am I a hunter or a grazer?" Actually, printing salespeople and printing equipment salespeople need to be both. First, you must find and earn the new account, and then it must be maintained and grown.