30 Sep Effective Sales Leaders Know Their Eagles from Their Ducks
Article by The Brunel Group
One of your most important roles as a sales leader is to know your people – their triggers, where they do their best work, what they are like when they are overextended, their personal goals, and their career goals. This helps you observe, notice, and coach them, as you decide the most appropriate roles/responsibilities for them on your sales team. Do your best work to know who on your team are eagles, and who on your team are ducks.
On any sales team there are those who prefer – and are naturally stronger at – going out to find new clients. Those are the eagles. And there are those who prefer – and are naturally better at – developing and retaining existing clients. These are the ducks. Both are important and bring value to the team and…they each have a different set of skills and qualities.
Eagles have natural qualities like: competitive savvy, methodical prospecting, stimulating ideas, detailed proposal, and a decisive close. They are able to assess a competitor’s perceived strengths and determine where their own solution is similar to and different from those strengths. Then they tailor their next move accordingly. They take the time to learn what methods have worked with the client in the past so they can quickly build rapport. They exude enthusiasm, and transfer that enthusiasm to the client. They anticipate and pre-empt questions by looking at things from the client’s perspective. Their proposals are rich in detail, and include a clear plan for the next steps required to implement the proposal successfully. To achieve a decisive close, they focus on gaining clear agreements around central goals for both parties, and then securing a commitment.
Ducks have natural qualities like: galvanize relationships, drive to deliver, rigorous execution, accommodating service, and co-creating next steps. Ducks take new relationships and ensure that commitments are kept and that any obstacles are overcome so that targets are delivered on time. While managing current agreements, they look for new client opportunities where they can propose solutions. They maintain open lines of communication with clients, and convey a strong service mentality. They are proactive in advising clients about changing circumstances or delays. They partner with clients to co-create solutions and problem solve with the goal of building a long term relationship.
You have heard of hunter roles and you have heard of farmer role in sales. Both are needed and necessary to build relationships, create optimal results, and produce predictable and profitable revenue. When someone who is more naturally a duck (a farmer) is put into the role of an eagle (a hunter), it can be pure pain for that person because now his or her top traits are being put into a new environment thus creating a new personality. Most of the time it is an overextended and stressed personality not allowing them to do their best work. It is equally painful for someone who is more naturally an eagle to be put in the role of a duck.
In this world there are ducks and there are eagles. Never send your ducks to eagle school because it frustrates the eagles and visa versa. Every company needs more ducks than eagles. You must know who your ducks are and who your eagles are. If people really are your most valuable asset, then it is always good to inventory those assets. What is in your sales professional’s eyes? Grow the business or maintain the business?