Hunger the quality that separates sales ‘men’ from ‘boys’



Hunger the quality that separates. A labourer’s appetite works for him, the Bible proclaims; his hunger drives him on.

Hunger. The mark of a true salesman.  What makes the newspaper vendor trot after you in traffic? Hunger. Hunger makes the hawker I met in the evening traffic the other day plead as a tactic to a sale. “Ninunulie machungwa tu unifungie kazi, boss” (“ Buy some oranges from me please; this is my only remaining sale”). Hunger keeps the successful salesperson closing more and more sales.  Hunger keeps the salesperson seeking for a selling strategy that works. Hunger shows in the salesperson face; it comes from within; the prospect senses and respects it. Hunger is part of the salesperson frame of mind that propels the momentum to closing the sale.

What is hunger? Hunger the quality that separates

What is hunger? First, what it is not. Hunger isn’t desperation. Desperation is the salesperson, poorly clad, sweaty collar with dust filled shoes and famine stricken face. Hunger isn’t a craving. Craving is the pregnant lady yearning for a specific brand of charcoal over a 9 month period. Hunger is not specific to a period; it is perennial. Hunger is the salesperson’s killer instinct that aims to professionally shorten the sales cycle; it is hunger that keeps the salesperson appreciating that pride comes before a fall. Therefore, hunger lets the salesperson stoop to conquer.

Hunger the quality that separates

Hubris is not hunger. Hunger the quality that separates

The average salesperson thinks asking for the cheque is beneath him; he is too proud to do so. “I cannot be seen to be begging”, he tells himself. The progressive salesperson, on the other hand, knows the prospect wants to be asked for the cheque and does not hesitate to do so. The average salesperson tells himself, “I cannot keep following-up the sale; if the prospect wants the deal he can also call me.” Meantime, the leading salesperson in his team follows up in like manner to the nibbling of the rat; he bites and blows, professionally pushing and pausing till fruition. Hunger.

The progressive salesperson knows when and how to stoop without exposing himself to being kicked on the hind side. Such a salesperson doesn’t cheapen himself; he or she still holds his own throughout the stooping process such that at the end he conquers. It is much akin to wisely playing the bigger person in a situation that puts him on a collision course with the prospect.  The hawker who told me to buy from him, nimfungie kazi, surely wasn’t going to close shop after I buy from him. But he made me feel important and in that instant he stooped; and with the sale in hand, he had conquered. No skin off his nose.

The labourer’s appetite works for him

Hunger the quality that separates. A labourer’s appetite works for him, the Bible proclaims; his hunger drives him on. Hunger, like ambition, is drive. Successful salespeople are restlessly ambitious; their unquenched hunger drives them on. Yet, this hunger does not make them reckless; theirs is not a case of the end justifies the means. No. Far from it. They diligently follow the sales cycle. They also know that product knowledge, integrity, believability, reliability, and hard work are important to have. But without hunger these are not enough-they cannot grow the salesperson- hunger does. It’s hunger that makes the progressive salesperson keep abreast of his competitors products and the goings-on in his industry

Hunger is not begging

The lamentation by the business owner, “You’ve lost your spark”, in reference to a salesperson, implies complacency on the part of the salesperson. Lacking the look of hunger on his face, the salesperson projects this contentment to the prospect; and more often than not the sale is lost. 

Many are those, in or out of the sales profession, who say they cannot be seen to be begging (that’s how they see hunger). Paradoxically they also speak highly of the successful salesperson. My take: anyone can argue about hunger; no one can argue with success.

Read also: Cultivate hunger in sales team to boost sales


Check out our short courses and other services here. If you are interested in having your sales team sell more, we can help. In order for us to do so we propose a free consultation meeting or a call. If in agreement please complete the form below and we will get in touch after receiving your details, none of which will be public. Thank you.

Views – 385

About Author

Related posts

The sales odyssey: Lessons in persistence. The Paul Kinuthia story

Persistence and the art of connecting the dots pave the path to your success in selling. They are cornerstones of the sales odyssey; the sales journey. Here are two compelling stories that demonstrate this—one of unwavering persistence and another of methodical dot-connecting. The stories illuminate the essence of thriving in the competitive realm of sales.

Read More

How to sell in a crisis: a step-by-step guide. The case of Airbnb.

What if your product was mired in a scandal like Airbnb is right now? What would you do? Would you roll with the punches or throw in the towel? Would you rise to the challenge or, like an errant seller, sink to resignation, blaming the product and employer? “Na niliwaambia tu.” (I told them but

Read More

Is it the economy that needs fixing? Or, is it just you? Let’s find out.

“It’s not me, it’s the economy,” so you say. And, to justify your many misses and rare hits those in your corner energize you’re position: “It’s not you; it’s the prospects that don’t have money. The problem is the economy; this economy needs fixing by the government.”  Maybe. Maybe not; maybe it’s not the economy,

Read More
Stay ahead in a rapidly changing world with Lend Me Your Ears. It’s Free! Most sales newsletters offer tips on “What” to do. But, rarely do they provide insight on exactly “How” to do it. Without the “How” newsletters are a waste of time.