Hunting The Hunter

Hunting The Hunter
Dan’s target client is not worth tangling with

I used to hunt for new clients at the big trade shows in Chicago. Often small start-up companies would buy booth space, hoping to get discovered by sales reps or even big companies that might have interest in their new product. As a guerrilla-marketing expert, I could quickly analyze the value of a product to a niche, then offer to consult with lead generation and sales coaching.

This product was unusual, yet ingenious in its simplicity. It was a pet comb with a razor blade built into it. You could trim a dog or cat and the animal didn’t know it was being clipped, it was just getting a brushing.

The owner was interested in my expertise and invited me into his home. That was unusual, but I arrived on time and was lead into a living room of dead animals. Tiger heads and hides on the walls, gazelle feet on the chairs. The chairs and footstools were also covered with animal skins. There were some very serious weapons on display as well.

He grinned as I filled up the air with “oohs,” “wows” and ”very cools.” He was a big game hunter and this was his temporary office while he was in the middle of a nasty separation from his wife.

With a barking (hyena-like?) laugh he mentioned that he was in a little trouble for handling home situations a bit too physically.

I politely finished the call and never got back to him. I just got a really bad feeling about the guy. The monthly retainer didn’t seem very tempting as I wondered: what if he ever got mad at my service – would he shoot me?

POSTMORTEM: Do you trust your feelings? I found that as I got better at selling, my feelings got “smarter.” Previously, my sales managers used to hate hearing how I felt about the potential of a sales call I returned from. I was always optimistic, so I confused my hopes with my instincts. I just knew a sale was going to happen – and I was usually wrong. How accurate are your feelings while selling? Did you ever come back from a call and just know the prospect was going to buy? Were you later proven right or wrong? When you can distinguish your dreams from reality in dealing with prospects, you will avoid flawed expectations and surprises. You will then be much better mentally equipped to handle the ups and downs of a selling life. Learn to trust your feelings, it will have great value in your personal and professional relationships.

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