There seems to be confusion around the definition of “hunting” for new business. We all know a “hunter” typically finds new customers. What about hunting within our current customer base for new business? Let me begin by saying that when helping clients find a new sales rep we come across few true ““hunters”. In fact, we estimate fewer than 15% of the reps we evaluate are hunters. Think about it for a minute. How many real rainmakers do you know?
Given the choice between solving an existing customer problem and prospecting, where do you turn? Let me guess; existing customer, right? It’s easier to deal with the customer you know rather than the prospect you haven’t met. Customers answer your call, return your email messages and know your name. Prospects often don’t do any of those things.
Let’s be clear. Not all new business comes from new customers. Some of it comes from different buying influences within existing customers.
Try this and see what you uncover.
- Track your time – just for a week – and see how much of your time is spent looking for new business versus time talking and visiting to the same buying influencers you’ve called on for years?
- Review the job description you were given when you were hired. You did get a job description; right? Compare the expectations of the job description with what you are actually doing today. How far apart are those expectations?
- Look at your customer profiles. Look in your CRM if you use one. How many contacts do you have at each of your customer locations? Is it just one, or two? You need more. How much of the available business are you getting versus your competitors? Have you even asked that question?
- Develop an org chart for each of your customers. Find your contact’s peers, supervisor and subordinates. Go meet them!
- When was the last time you asked for a referral from current customers and contacts?
Your boss wants new business, you want new business, but you may be missing easy new business. You claim not to have the time. Is it possible you are missing new business right under your nose? Let’s make sure we are getting all the business we can from our current customer base.
Sales quote: “Sometimes those who need it most are inclined the least”