Cultivate hunger to boost sales

Of hunger the Good Book says, “A labourer’s appetite works for him, his hunger drives him on.” Most sellers stop at appetite.

“What do you think of this?” I was asked.. This, was the buzz of activity outside the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) offices in Upper hill. Specifically, the sellers holding up placards announcing, ‘Cybercafe’ aggressively competing for attention, despite policemen shooing them away. So, what do I think of this? I think they represent the same thing that vegetable vendors (usually out of town) who rush, like bees to honey, at every vehicle that stops outside their market.

Both sellers represent a rare quality; the quality that separates mediocre salespeople from progressive salespeople’; and that quality is hunger. We can argue about the ethics of both scenarios another day. For now let’s focus on the craving to thrive- the hunger. Any sales manager will tell you they have salespeople that have so much potential but they limit themselves. In fact, statistically, 20-25 per cent of every sales team globally comprises members in this category. And you know they are in this category because when they apply themselves they fly. It’s almost as if they become a different person. Unfortunately, such moments are few and far between.

Hunger is the reason why a hawker will run after you in traffic to follow a sale through to completion. Of hunger the Good Book says, “A labourer’s appetite works for him, his hunger drives him on.” Sellers who sell just enough for the day sell for their appetite. Those that jostle for space to announce their wares in competition with others are not satisfied by simply being present and hoping for the best. No. Their hunger drives them on. Why work for appetite when you can do so hunger? Why hope the NTSA client needing to access the internet will find his way to your shop or spill over from a competitor’s, when you can guide him there? Why limit yourself to ten print jobs, when you can get one hundred? Easy contentment.

“Why bother?” The salary will still come in anyway. “Why bother?” Two accounts are enough for the week. I’ll get by on them and still have a job. “Why bother? It’s so much easier to earn via a desk job. With a desk job, work comes to you, like an appetite; with sales you hunger (look) for the work. And how hard you look is largely dependent on how hungry you are. And if all sellers exercised the same hunger then we would not be having this discussion because that would be normal and all sales teams would have stellar sellers. Alas! This is not the case, and almost always 20 per cent of the team brings in 80 per cent of the sales. And the twenty are perennially hungry-even in a pandemic.

Can hunger be cultivated in the eighty? Yes. Dynamic competitions, customised rewards, personalised recognition, individual coaching and appropriate punishment are all intended to motivate sellers to apply themselves that bit more. This is usually the sales manager’s job.

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