From Buffaloes To Leopards

I’ve blogged before on the usefulness of animal analogies (including from a sporting source and philosophically speaking) to evoke the desired traits a winning salesperson must embrace.

I recently heard a business owner lament that their staff were being slow, clunky and had to “have meetings about meetings before making a decision”.

They were, she went on, like buffaloes and elephants. When what they needed to be was more like cheetahs and leopards. They needed the ability to think on their feet and show initiative. She even used the recent business buzzword, agile.

Many years ago it was my job to give a rabble-rousing kick-off rah-rah. I decided to ask certain salesteam members what animal they modelled themselves on and why.

I recall the eruption of laughter when one old school account manager claimed he was a tiger.

Despite the comedy aspect, the answers were incredibly revealing. And I successfully used references to each one’s choice animal of connection in various conversations throughout the year.

It strikes me as a fun little 30-minuter for a sales conference. Ask groups or pairs to go away and come up with the animal that they reckon they are most like, link with elements of the ‘offering’, and explain why it’s a good thing for any prospect. It could be most insightful. Not just through humour betraying true feelings, but with which aspects and features of your offering that they choose to align with.

And one other point, knowing this is a winner, I wondered how helpful it would be to suggest the type of customer ‘animal’ that enjoys the best results from a relationship with us…

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