How a Conservationist’s Approach Crushes Sales

How a Conservationist’s Approach Crushes Sales

A lot of times, in sales you get great hunters, they’re fueled by stalking their client and getting the deal. More often than not, those people are not great conservationists. They set the deal up and don’t maintain the relationship. It’s a problem that has a severe domino effect across the entire organization, from brand perception to customer retention.

There is a common thought in the hunting world that hunters go through five stages in their life.

  1. The Shooter Stage. Hunters at this stage simply want to do a lot of shooting. They want to test their shooting abilities, as well as that of their rifle, shotgun, or bow. These hunters are usually young and beginners. I liken the salesperson at this stage to one who is constantly prospecting, setting meetings and just trying to close the deal. But what are they doing when that deal is closed?


  1. Limiting Out. Eventually, simply burning through a lot of ammunition is no longer sufficient. Hunters at this stage still gain a lot of satisfaction from shooting, but now the number of birds or animals bagged becomes important too, and limiting-out, or filling a tag, is the gold standard. Imagine you’ve set your goals for the month and you have your number to hit. Let’s say it’s $100,000 for the month and your goal is $1.2MM for the year. You’re hitting that number month after month, making your sales calls. You’re the king or queen of the meeting.  But what are you doing once that deal is closed?


  1. The Trophy Stage. Eventually, the weight of the game bag becomes less important and the emphasis shifts from quantity to quality. Hunters at this stage gain satisfaction from being selective in taking game, such as a duck hunter who shoots only greenheads, a turkey hunter who only shoots long beards, or a deer hunter who takes only mature bucks. These hunters often travel long distances to hunt trophy animals. Salespeople at this stage are chasing the whales. They want to get the big deal, but a lot of times, their smaller clients and smaller targets don’t matter to them. The allure of closing that whale shifts your focus significantly, causing a major problem. Most companies aren’t built to sustain on only closing large deals. Regular income into the business from all of those smaller deals and accounts is vital. The salesperson’s ego is now clouding their judgment.


  1. The Method Stage. For this hunter, taking game is still important, but more important is how that game is taken. True satisfaction comes from the method used to take game, with particular emphasis on more challenging methods such as archery or muzzleloading. This hunter will spend a lot of time scouting and using trail cameras, studying their quarry and practicing hunting skills such as calling and, in the case of a deer hunter, may even choose to target one specific animal. At this stage in a salesperson’s career, they’ve matured and are starting to even out. There is still, however, that one underlying issue, they’re not practicing conservation. They’re focused in on certain clients and certain client types, but not maintaining their relationships with their other accounts. So I ask again, what are you doing once that deal is closed?


  1. The Sportsman Stage. After many years in the field, the hunter begins to place the emphasis on the total hunting experience. Being in the outdoors, enjoying the company of friends and family, and seeing nature in all its beauty, now outweigh the need for taking game every time they have the opportunity. They’ve become conservationists. As a salesperson, you can’t just be a conservationist. In the ‘Sportsman Stage’ you still hunt, but you do it with more finesse. You’ve learned that customer retention through building valuable relationships with your clients is vital, but so is new business. You’ve learned that the success of your clients is as important to what you’re doing as your own success. You’re building and growing together as a cohesive unit. They’re your partner and you’re invested into conserving and growing their business alongside with them.

As business leaders growing and training ourselves and our sales teams, being hunters and conservationists go hand in hand. So I’ll ask again, what are you doing when your deals are closed? I know for me, maintaining relationships is as important if not more important than building new ones. I want to ask all of you, are you being a conservationist in your business?