The best salespeople seem to have something magical about them. Whether they have an easy demeanor, or come across as flashy and with A-type personalities, they tend to draw business to themselves like moths to a flame. Finding these salespeople, or developing them through sales training workshops, is the hardest role of any sales manager or sales executive.
Assuming you know what the “magic” is can lead you to make bad hiring decisions. You might think it is the ability to face a lot of rejection and keep on going. But the best salespeople really aren’t rejected that much, so that cannot be it. Sure, it’s part of the answer, but not the answer.
I am going to tell you the secret right now, and then tell you how to use it to build balanced teams of sales hunters (outside sales), sales farmers (inside sales), and closers (higher authority).
Without possessing this secret ingredient, it doesn’t matter how much rejection a candidate can take, nor how flashy her dress or his watch are, nor how white the smile is. Very little can compensate for a dearth of it.
Ready to hear what it is?
The Main Secret to Sales Success
The secret is natural aptitude.
And it’s not just aptitude for sales, its natural aptitude for the specific sales role a person will occupy. As you can imagine, this is going to vary for hunters, farmers, and closers.
When you think about it, it makes sense. People are very different and personality differences can make all the difference in job performance.
Fortunately, these differences can be tested for and revealed through an excellent tool known as the Advanced Personality Questionnaire (APQ).
When the APQ is employed to test all sales job candidates, and this is married with sales training workshops designed for specific roles, profits increase, turnover is reduced, and your good salespeople have a better chance at becoming sales superstars.
Let’s look at some of the traits those successful in each sales role possess. Use this as a guide when speaking with a candidate and testing is not possible at the moment. Confirm results with an APQ test as soon as possible.
Sales Hunters (Outside sales specialists)
A sales hunter is predictably associated with the term “go-getter.” They literally go out into the field or marketplace and get the business!
Sales hunters are highly desirable because they provide new blood in the form of fresh customers and leads through self-directed action, rather than lots of marketing dollars. With a business card and a few presentation tools, such as a tablet, they can land big accounts and open up your product or service to new markets. That’s why hunters are associated with another term, “business development.”
New businesses and those launching new products would benefit greatly by hiring a few sales hunters to penetrate the marketplace and drive up revenue quickly. Coupled with sales training workshops to polish their skills, their natural instincts help them identify new opportunities easily.
Common traits of sales hunters:
Excellent communication skills
Flexible with rules and regulations
One negative trait possessed is impulsiveness, which causes them to make mistakes by not paying attention to the details of a deal or over promising just to get a customer to sign up. They also tend to lose steam if not validated with positive feedback often.
Sales training workshops geared to sales hunters should include some time-management components so these busy people can fit all that they must do, including the dreaded paperwork, into their schedules.
A sales farmer is most associated with the term “nurturer.” He or she is a specialist at servicing existing accounts and maintaining good relationships with the firm’s customers.
Companies without sales farmers will experience turnover because their buyers will not receive enough attention. Farmers are not quite as aggressive as hunters, but they must still stay attuned to opportunities to cross sell and upsell the existing customer base. They also deal with customer service issues often, as client satisfaction is priority to them. Therefore, farmers are often associated with another term: “account management.”
While outside sales hunters are bringing in steady business, companies should build their farmer ranks to build loyalty and keep customers buying.
Common traits of sales farmers:
Good team member
Recognizes needs of others
Farmers have a weakness, they often have difficulty in dealing with assertive-type buyers, such as executives, who are often better handled by sales hunters. They also tend to work slowly and are stressed by tight deadlines or demands to be more creative.
Sales training workshops for sales farmers should include a segment on goal setting and motivation, as farmers tend to get somewhat passive over time.
To clarify, both hunters and farmers should know how to close. So, what is this specific role you might not have heard of before…the Closer?
They are someone brought in at the end of the deal should the original salesperson need some help. They are the boost needed to seal the deal, especially large or complex transactions where a bit of authority is needed to reassure the buyer. This role is usually handled by veteran salespeople or sales managers.
Concerned with results
High sense of urgency
Closers do have one negative, a lack of empathy due to their drive to close the deal no matter what. They have heard every possible objection, know that they are simply based on fear, and might seem too pushy.
Sales training workshops for closers should include a segment on Emotional IQ, so they can match their closing technique to the buyer’s personality and achieve greater success.
Building a Balanced Team
As suggested, the first logical hire is an outside sales hunter. If you are a one-man shop, that is of course going to be you. And you can imagine how fruitless it would be to “farm” accounts you don’t have. So the hunter role needs to be filled first. The APQ will help you identify this personality type.
Next, come the farmers and closers. Again, the APQ will help you identify them, but closers will generally come from your more experienced hunters at some point down the line as they share many traits.
To develop all three types, you need professional sales training workshops. Again, the APQ will make the ROI of your training investment far greater, as you will be training only those who are best qualified for their sales role. This inexpensive test can literally save you a fortune!
The APQ is THE SECRET WEAPON for identifying farmers and hunters. Use it!
Contact Asher Strategies to find out more about how this powerful tool can help your organization.
And for more on this topic, please refer to this handy infographic from Salesloft, which suggests a hybrid approach is necessary for the modern sales process. What do you think?