Entry #4: Hunting vs. Farming: Cultivating Sales

October Entry 4 Luna Metrics

Many companies hunt for sales. They hire a salesperson, pay the base salary plus commission and the sales costs that go with it.  The salesperson closes one sale out of every ten leads (an estimate, different for every business.) So, a lot of effort goes into creating and working leads that never turn into sales.

I gave up that model before I ever started this business.  It wasn’t a strategic or financial decision: I didn’t have the money to hire a salesperson, and I’m not a very good hunter myself.

Instead, we farmed:  my employees and I blogged about our business and found opportunities to speak with or train potential customers.  Those potential customers often called and said, “Hey, can we talk about you doing some consulting for us?”

Farming is a much more efficient way to do sales than hunting:

  • The customer who comes to you is partially qualified.  They almost always need what you’re selling.  Sure, they may not be able to afford your price points. But you can qualify that on the first phone call.
  • They have identified your company as one they are potentially interested in doing business with.  That means you don’t have to turn somersaults to prove your worth. I learned that when I would ask at the end of a call, “Do you have any questions for us?” and the answer would be, “Oh, we already know you guys. We’ve been reading your blog for years.”
  • The person who contacts you may not be the final decision-maker, but is usually part of the decision process.  And just think how long it takes when you’re hunting to figure out who the right person is and then get them to take your call…
  • You may be able to be the only vendor competing for the business.  Lots of companies have rules about how many vendors must bid on a job, but plenty don’t.  Even if the company has those kinds of procurement rules, you’ve already made the short list.

Recently, I did an analysis of five years worth of leads, which for technical reasons had to include clearly unqualified inbound calls. We closed one out of four.  “You were lucky,” a sales coach said to me.  “Nah,” I replied, “those companies already wanted to do business with us. They just needed a little guidance.”

Robbin Steif
Tel: 1.412.381.5500


About Dan Gallo

I'm a small business lifer, starting/running businesses since I sold seeds door-to-door as a kid in The Bronx. I've played guitar and enjoyed baseball since I was 5 (born a NY Yankees fan). Just prior to marrying Kim in 1983 I became a Christian. We have two sons; Daniel's a musician & social media expert with a smart, insightful sense of humor, and Adam who recently graduated from Brooklyn College double majoring in Creative Writing/Literature and Anthropology. Adam now works in the non-profit sector. Since 2002 one thing we love to do together is go on service/missions trips to Belize. We've collectively spent 60+ weeks in Belize with this missions organization http://twaw.org. I started my 1st company in January 1985, and been self-employed ever since. I sold my last company, Mentor Communications Group, in '04. After 2 years w/ the acquiring company I started The Allasso Group, LLC doing Small Business Consulting, Fund Raising/Capital Raise-up Campaigns, Sales Strategy, Outsourced Sales Agency work, & Digital Marketing Programs (Social Media, SEM, etc.) since April 2006. Notable projects: Hired as Small Business Advocate and Social Media Director for IBM's "Supplier-Connection" - Feb '11-Dec '13. Hired as COO to help turn-around late stage start-up software company myVRM. Jul12-Dec '13 Hired as CEO of CoupleWise.com, a Digital Health2.0 app, to write business plan, raise seed capital, & completely redesign and relaunch the app. Aug '16 I won a Finalist spot for MassChallenge UK's 2016 fall cohort in London from Sept thru Nov. Started Oct15 - Current. I enjoy helping turn-around struggling small businesses, and launching new business ventures. Feel free to contact me with opportunities.
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