Mark Hunter, CSP is a high-profile keynote speaker, sales consultant, and author of two bestselling books on High-Profit Prospecting and High-Profit Selling.
Better known as ‘The Sales Hunter,’ Mark spends over 200 days in a year traveling all over the United States and other parts of the world delivering keynotes and sales training workshops.
His clients, who include Salesforce, Kawasaki, Lenovo, and hundreds more, learn about sales prospecting, pricing, and sales leadership and motivation tips for managers.
Before he became a sales consultant, Mark spent over 15 years building a sales career working for several Fortune 200 companies in marketing and sales leadership positions. He started as a sales rep for The Pillsbury Company, and ended up as Director of Sales Operations for ConAgra.
Mark Hunter, CSP has a BS in Business from Seattle Pacific University. He is a Seattle native who now lives in Omaha, Nebraska.
Q&A With Mark Hunter
Question1: First things first – What is this story of the Seattle PD being responsible for getting you into Sales?
Mark Hunter: I was not looking to go into sales, I went to college to get a degree in Marketing and saw my future in advertising until I met the Seattle Police Department. I should say, they met me by giving me three tickets for speeding in the course of three months which soon resulted in my auto insurance being unaffordable. The situation left me with one option, I needed to get a job that provided me with a car, which meant an outside sales job. Yes, you can say the Seattle Police Department altered my career plans, looking back on how it happened, I’m glad I got those tickets!
Sales Prospecting, Pricing, Leadership and Motivation
Question2: As a sales consultant for all these large enterprise clients, you mention prospecting, pricing, leadership and motivation. Is it possible for you to explain each one using examples? For instance, you list a year working with Salesforce for leadership, I think? What exactly did you do, and how has it helped them?
Mark Hunter: There are 4 major components required if we’re going to close a sale. First the salesperson has to be motivated which is only going to occur if there is sales leadership being demonstrated at every level of the company. We do not place enough emphasis on the value of having a sales culture but it is absolutely imperative and it starts with leadership and motivation.
Salesforce is a company that demonstrates this from the CEO all the way through the organization to the newest hire. When people see leadership that respects them as a person and is focused on helping them to be successful it becomes much easier to be motivated. This brings up a very interesting idea, I do not believe anyone can motivate anyone. The best we can do is create an environment for people to motivate themselves. To me this is a critical outcome of leadership.
Let’s talk now about prospecting and pricing. Too many salespeople close deals at a discount, we can discuss them not having the right skills which is certainly the case many times but I believe it’s bigger than that. If we don’t focus on having the right prospects we’ll wind up with customers we can only close at a discount. My feeling is when we get the prospecting process right we’ll get the pricing right.
Question3: Now about High-Profit Prospecting – Lovely book with a foreword from Jeb Blount. Must-read if you are in Sales. This book will help you find better leads, use referrals, avoid the classic prospecting and cold calling pitfalls, and make better use of social media. Please buy the book to find out more. But as a teaser, Mark, can you share with us this one thing – What is high-profit prospecting?
Mark Hunter: It’s all about not wasting our time attracting prospects we’re not going to be able to profitably close. It comes down to a strategy that says we want to qualify every lead fast to ensure we are only spending time with the best prospects. The goal is to be spending more time with fewer prospects. Yes, that sounds totally counter to what we want to believe but too many prospecting funnels are nothing more than sewer pipes, plugged up with stuff that’s not going anywhere.
When we qualify fast we are able to use our most precious resource, our time more effectively. By spending more time with fewer prospects we’ll be able to uncover their needs and outcomes much better than if we were rushing due to a lack of time. In the end this process allows us to close more sales not only at a higher price but faster.
What Matters Most in Social Media Marketing?
Question4: Can we talk about social media? I read you say somewhere that you can’t eat a tweet or something like that. Can you give me a sound ‘byte’ like that, and tell us how to do social media marketing the right way?
Mark Hunter: #SocialSelling without social connection is social stupidity! We can’t expect to make our sales quota by just posting a bunch of stuff and expecting the phone to ring. The goal with social media is to create connections on-line so you can talk to them off-line, on the telephone! I’m on social media quite a bit but it’s designed to do two things, first to allow others to understand my thinking and second to create relationships. I measure my success with social media not by the number of followers I have but by the number of phone calls I have. It’s the phone call that will ultimately lead to a sale, not the number of likes.
Prospecting and Cold Calling Tips from The Sales Hunter
Question5: Can you share with us your top 3 prospecting tips, and your top 3 cold calling tips?
- You must be disciplined by having dedicated times to prospect without distractions, regardless how good things might be going.
- Repeat! Never expect one call to be all that’s needed. I’m never going to give up until I’ve made at least 6 – 8 contacts.
- My goal is to always learn something that will allow me to have another call with you.
- Don’t discount the power of voicemails. The art is being able to leave message that is 11-14 seconds, yes, it’s tight but the key is merely allowing them to understand you’re not wasting their time and second, you’re a human with a personality.
- Never repeat the same message twice. Nothing will turn off a prospect faster than them getting the same message from you time after time.
- Never forget it’s not what you say, it’s the questions you ask. My goal with any cold call is to ask you a question to engage you. The last thing the other person wants to hear on a prospecting call is for you to say how wonderful you are.
Question6: One question about lead response, if you don’t mind, because Lucep is an instant response sales acceleration platform. In your corporate sales career and through your vast experience as a consultant, what has been the benefit and value of responding quickly to leads?
Mark Hunter: A fast response is critical. Any type of an inbound lead will always have depreciating value while those leads generated purely through cold-calling have appreciating value. I’ll explain more, the person who responds to something as a lead has clearly expressed an interest.
Challenge with their interest is we don’t know if it’s high or low and we won’t know until we reach out to them, fast! The longer we wait to reach out the more likely the person will move onto other issues. Conversely the person we cold-call is not expecting our call, typically what happens is it takes multiple messages / conversations to build the awareness and need, thus they have appreciating value.
Question7: Anything else you want to say to our audience? Advice, tips, suggestions for anyone and everyone in Sales?
Mark Hunter: Sales is not a job, it’s not an activity, it’s a lifestyle because it’s the one job where our total focus is on helping our customers achieve something they didn’t think was possible. For me, that is exciting and is why I’m so passionate about sales and yes, that’s why I thank the Seattle Police Department for guiding me into sales.