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Super Bowl and the Wolf of Main Street

wolf sales

Can we make the wolf persona mainstream in sales? Should I buy a Super Bowl ad to communicate my new wolf sales model to the world? Too big or too lofty a goal? I need to share the model and test interest with the world to answer these questions. A virus mutates to survive, so sales models must adapt to the changing buyer. The 2009 financial crisis gave birth to the challenger sale model in 2011. My goal is to use the 2020 pandemic to introduce the Wolf Sales Model to the world in 2022.

Currently, there are ten top sales models. Some you may have heard of, while others are more obscure to the non-sales community. Many hybrid models also exist within the whitespace between each model. I will explore two as an introduction to the Wolf Sales Model for selling.

But first, let us examine the wolf. Throughout history, the wolf gets depicted as the enemy. The wolf is neither good nor bad. The wolf is precisely what thousands of years of genetic coding have created. The mere fact that man has spent thousands of years breeding dogs from the base DNA of the wolf is essential to consider. The wolf is not better nor worse than the lamb.

Wolves are a species of canids, which groups more than 50 subspecies. This great variety of subspecies is since their physical characteristics allow them to adapt to various ecosystems, and they have spread throughout almost the entire Northern Hemisphere. Despite their resemblance and closeness to the dog, wolves are difficult to tame.

Although some individuals can live alone, these mammals live in packs and maintain a hierarchical social structure. They are great hunters thanks to their sharp senses, the strength of their jaws, and the speed of their legs. Their weight depends on the breed and the availability of food.

Common wolf traits:

  1. Wolves are fast
  2. Wolves are adaptable to most habitats
  3. Wolves have powerful senses
  4. Wolves typically live in groups (packs)
  5. Generally, only the male and female leaders reproduce in the pack
  6. Wolf fur color adapts to the environment
  7. Wolves are communicators
  8. Wolves have different moods, including playful and affectionate
  9. Wolves are ravenous and can eat up to 20 pounds at one time (remember this)

The Challenger Sale breaks sellers into five buckets: Relationship Builders, Hard Workers, Lone Wolves, Reactive Problem Solvers, and Challengers. Instead of unraveling the needs and demands of the customers, the Challenger Sale model uses the framework of teaching, tailoring, and taking control of the buying journey.

Solution Selling is the basic idea that you should sell a solution rather than a product. Since released by Mike Bosworth in 1988, this has been a foundation for several other methodologies. It was a reaction to the trend of vendors starting to sell solutions that were much more complicated than they had ever before been. Solution Selling provides a deeper insight into today's mature and informed buyers. This methodology has evolved based on an extensive network of trainers that help the method keep pace with complex and rapidly changing business climates.

The Wolf Sales Model has a preference for hunters rather than relationship builders. This model is geared toward the new business acquisition and not geared toward relationships or customer service models. This model has four phases:  The Hunt, The Stalk, The Attack, and The Kill, also known as HSAK. The hunt is target identification. Create a finite list, focused, written, and workable (FFWW). The stalk is prospecting. Once you identify the qualified prospects, a plan gets developed for engagement. The attack is the engagement. This step includes qualification, discovery, and proposal delivery in person. The kill is closing or getting the deal inked – a contract. The model can get deployed by individuals or coordinated packs with account-based sales techniques. Upselling/cross-selling, on the other hand, are typically done by account managers or customer service professionals.

Who is best suited to leverage this model? Since engineers tend to be more rational than relational, technical-minded sales reps are an ideal population for this model. Technicians tend to be most effective at the rigidity and repeatability of this skills-based approach. Instead of relying solely on instincts during the buying journey, wolf sales reps also rely on learned skills. For example, they use analytics to determine the best time to call a prospective buyer. Or develop the skills to leave a well-crafted voicemail. 

Wolf sales reps are best for industries that move fast. Long buying cycles are least suited to this model. Aggressive sectors such as engineering solutions for acute opportunities or challenges match the wolf model for sales. Wolves tend to be impatient and derail deals that take years to close.

Wolf sales reps are adaptable to many industries such as energy, aerospace, or bioengineering, which present complicated solutions to customer problems. A true wolf can sell in various sectors with time to adapt and learn. They are smart.

These sales reps tend to have good instincts when it comes to people. They use specific skills to detect buyer needs and then utilize this information to negotiate. Wolf sales reps dislike discounts as an indication of poor value clarification. They utilize calculated risks to move decision-makers toward a close. Consider these reps as rational with a finely tuned instinct or sense of smell.

Avoid the tendency to consider wolf reps for sales manager roles. They are hunters and will do poorly in functions that prevent them from engaging with prospective buyers. They lack the patience to teach and coach other reps. Since they tend to be high achievers, they become frustrated and impatient with others who do not match them intellectually. They tend to make and execute decisions quickly. One wolf sales rep (in charge) should lead the buyer along the journey in an account-based sale. All other sales reps are subordinate to the leader of the pack.

Wolf sales reps communicate with data and information mostly. In some cases, solutions can be math problems to get solved. This preoccupation with information can curse these reps with knowledge. They can have a difficult time translating abstract concepts into concrete examples. These reps must keep things simple, so less sophisticated buyers remain engaged.

Wolf sales reps are rewarded by achievement and tend to be highly competitive. They want to win (on their terms) more than make money. As natural closers, these reps must be reminded not to close too early and leave opportunities on the table.   The phases: hunt, stalk, attack, and kill are skills-based. They learn skills that are repeatable after success and failure. They adapt from every failure by attempting to do something differently. If one strategy fails, they will try another and then another. When something new works, they remember the utility of the skill to reapply in the future.

This model is certainly not for all sales reps across the business landscape. It can be called too aggressive for some markets and industries. Wolf reps struggle in highly creative, political, or emotional areas that challenge rational thinking.

This model applies to mainstream sales thinking. It is not a niche selling strategy and maintains broad application in business development. Yes, it is not for everyone who desires to succeed in sales. It applies to business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C). The four-step framework applies consistently to selling engineering solutions or large screen televisions. This model is adaptable to Main Street.

Should I purchase an ad during the Super Bowl? I am going to pass on the expensive advertisement this year. It is far above my budget this year. In the movie, The Wolf of Wall Street, Leonardo DiCaprio played the true-to-life character of Jordan Belfort. I am sure Hollywood glorified and exaggerated the story as unethical and sensational to capture attention for the world of sales. I do not endorse the behavior depicted in the movie. However, I'm afraid I have to disagree with the negative depiction of the wolf. These animals have far more excellent characteristics for nature than humanity has admitted for generations. As predators, they must hunt to survive. Unless killed during a hunt, every wolf is doomed to the painful death of disease or starvation. Do not hate a wolf for being a wolf. Do not hate the Wolf Sales Rep for being who she is. Wolves want to eat!