Many have the dubious honor of sitting through the “Hunt vs Farm” sermon, usually delivered by a Sales Manager or Boss. As common sales strategies go, it’s both accurate and unfortunate. If we’re to follow this analogy to its conclusion, eventually the one pursued is consumed. Can you imagine any client being comfortable as “your prospect”. If you want an endless cycle of chasing business, the world is your field to hunt. Congratulations! Your activities are easy to define and will look a lot like your competition (ugh)! If you want people coming to you, I recommend learning to Woo.
How to Woo, Step #1: Do what you do, well. Be professional, diligent and studious. Work hard. Learn your craft and live it. No one is more trusted than a consummate professional displaying understanding and discipline. Once developed, your skills must be seen and required by those who need you…
How to Woo, Step #2: Build your network. Surround yourself with fellow professionals who come into contact with your prospects and look for opportunities to refer you. Their expertise in other areas of business produces mutual need, respect and a desire to learn about YOU. This takes time, intention and effort. Intentional networking often means giving more in a season than you receive but the long view is much rosy. In my humble opinion, this is preferred by most over being “on the hunt” for the rest of your career…
How to Woo, Step #3 Honor your network. I met with a Sales Rep. who’d landed a nice piece of recurring work via referral, leading to other pieces of closed business as well. But this Sales Rep informed me he was “moving on”. His network wasn’t producing anymore.
Me: “Really? That’s a shame. How long has this been going on?”
Sales Rep: “Oh, months now”.
Me: “But haven’t you been receiving repeated closed business from ____ Company, based on the same referral source”.
Sales Rep: “Well, yes, but I’ve had that for months now”.
Happy “chasing” and don’t be surprised when your network becomes your bystanders. Wooing requires effort, but it cultivates results that can be managed instead of constructed. Your network is a series of relationships and the manner in which you treat those connections will dictate whether you Chase or Woo. Respectfully, my work DOES require some hunting. It’s part of the industry and there’s no shame or apology in that. Some seasons require a lot of giving, while others produce more receiving. Some season are nothing but hunting. But all of these are seasons, not final results.
Honoring your network can be a challenge when it seems one-sided. If your network isn’t producing what you think it should, consider what you’ve given to it. Have you cultivated business for connections as well as yourself? Have you asked how you can help? Most importantly, have you helped someone else find a payday? Make Wooing your style and your days will be more fun and profitable!
Photo credit: Ekaterina Shevchenko