be-hungryBeing hungry (metaphorically that is) is a good thing when it comes to business. Years ago, as a new business development manager, it was how I was described by many of my clients and it was that impression that made them want to work with me. They knew, that despite my lack of direct experience, I would do what it took to get the job done for them and it won me a lot of business very quickly.

You see, the people who chose to work with me understood, when someone lacks that hunger, they could be more talented, knowledgeable and experienced, but still let them down. The stakes for what I like to call the “full belly” people aren’t as high. They simply don’t take it that seriously and more importantly tend to be less appreciative (and therefore less proactive) with the opportunities they come across.

The hunger can come from a lot of places. For me, my hunger came from growing up without much. There were times as a young adult, when I was literally hungry or in jeopardy of eviction from my apartment. Now, there is the constant drive to keep my family and me away from those past experiences. The memory of that real hunger, keeps me motivated–it keeps my mental hunger alive.

That said, there is a fine line where hunger can cross into the regions of desperation and greed-neither of which are healthy or received well by anyone. This can manifest in many ways: repetitive yelp-style cold calls, spam emails, unwanted LinkedIn invites, pop-up ads and all the other invasive ways people market and sell. Or it may be something as simple as spewing your canned sales pitch at someone instead of taking the time to learn about them as a human being. With desperation and greed we miss the opportunity to find out if they actually need what we have. Worse yet, we destroy any chance of actually connecting with them on a human level.

You have to use your hunger as a tool without letting it wholly define you. The trick is to stay just hungry enough mentally without allowing yourself to become desperate/greedy or to gorge yourself into not caring. When you “eat” do so from a perspective of gratitude and always look for people to share your bounty with. After all, what is a good meal without good company? Look for these traits in the people you hire and partners you work with–even the clients you choose. Don’t be afraid to contemplate it in your company’s brand and culture. That hunger will help you–whether in your direct sales, your marketing or in your daily dealings with people–both personally and professionally.

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