Daniel Tardy: License To Sell

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There are three types of selling.  Each of them are difficult.  None of them are easy.  Very few people are successful over a long period of time at any of them:

1) Farming – Plant a lot of seeds.  Fertilize. Water. Wait. Harvest. Farming requires hundreds or thousands of seeds to be planted for the harvest to be worthwhile.  A single grain of wheat or a single stalk of corn is futile given the amount of time it takes to grow.  The seeds and the planting process are relatively cheap.  The cost is primarily in the purchase of the land (AKA gaining the brand awareness or a voice in the market place).  This method of selling typically involves seeds being planted by marketing dollars and the crop can be planted and harvested with a big tractor and minimal individual effort.

Farmers include anyone that gets on their tractor each day and as long as they can keep it in the right field they will reap some type of harvest: customer care center advisers; big box store floor reps; cell phone store reps; etc.  Typically the seeds have been planted by your firm and your prospects are coming to you.  If you can stay out of your own way then you will close sales.

2) Fishing – Bait your line with a shiny lure. Cast over and over. Set the hook. Reel. Repeat. Unlike farming, fishing requires more effort and more activity for each ‘unit’ (fish) harvested.  Why?  Because in farming when you plant a seed 95% of the time a plant will pop up.  Fishing involves coming up empty handed 95% of the time you cast your line…it’s the 5% of times that you do land a fish that makes the effort worth it.  However, many sales people give up before they get a bite.

Fishers include many traditional forms of selling and LOTS of cold calling.  Fishing relies on the law of averages that if you cast enough times then eventually you will get a bite.  Door to door sales, mall kiosk sells, trade show booths, outside B2B sales are all types of fishing.  If you only have one cast in you then you will be hungry.  If you get your line caught in a tree on your first cast then you’re screwed.  But even if you only have a ‘snoopy pole’ you can land a deal if you have the tenacity to cast enough times.

3) Hunting – Track your game (sometimes for days). One small window. One shot. One kill. Big game hunting is the most challenging and potentially disappointing form of selling that exists.  Very few sales people have the patience, tenacity and know how to track down a sale of this magnitude for weeks or months or years.  Calling on a major corporation where simply getting to a decision maker might involve a series of contacts of a lengthy period of time.  This form of selling can also be the most rewarding.  If you kill an elephant you can feed an entire village for weeks.  The key is not starving to death while you’re hunting one down.

Hunters are tough.  They have thick skin.  They sell big tickets like commercial real estate, they broker deals for the sell of an entire company, they find a prospect and force their firm to create a new product to fulfill the order because of how many zeros are on the end of the deal.  Hunters who sit in a tree stand for a while are a dime a dozen.  Hunters who can kill it over and over again are rare.

This blog is dedicated to helping high performance sales people become better Farmers, Fishers and Hunters. Regardless of your model or your approach the bottom line is you need food to eat.  And there ain’t no free lunch.  You have to put in the work to reap a harvest.  How efficiently and how smart you work will determine the difference between whether you are eating a modest meal of survival or whether you have a banquet feast to share with your friends and family.

Happy Hunting,

Daniel Tardy

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