Lessons Learned from a Hummingbird About Territory Management


Early this morning I watched the antics of a hummingbird. 

She’d flit up to the flowers, hover for a while and drink her fill. Then she’d fly off about her business. A little later she’d return and repeat the whole process. Except when another hummingbird appeared. Then she came back immediately and chased the intruder away.


Territorial? You bet she is. She protects her food source and does it quickly and decisively. If she doesn’t, her competition will quickly consume the available nectar.

Is there a lesson for all of us in terms of territory management? You bet there is. If you don’t take care of your customers, your competition will.

There’s a lot of hype about plenty to go around for everyone. Maybe there is, but I prefer to let the competition have the left- overs as opposed to being the one fighting for the scraps.


How can you protect your territory? How do you retain and grow the business you already have? You don’t have to chase them away physically like the hummingbird does. Instead, protect the business by taking great care of your customers.

Smoother them with such awesome service that they’ll never even look at the competition. Sound difficult? It’s not nearly as tough as trying to find new customers. Besides, it’s your job.


Think about how much you must sell to meet your objectives. Think how much of that volume comes from your established customers. If you’re like most people in sales, it’s a big percentage of your total revenue. It’s worth protecting.

The little hummingbird has a very high metabolism. When she’s active she needs to feed every hour. She can fly at speeds of 35 MPH and her wings flap 50 times a second. Her heart rate can reach 1,260 beats per minute. She needs to protect her food source just to survive.  When you think about it, so do you.


Most people in sales have 2 primary functions. One is taking care of existing customers … keeping their loyalty and maximizing their potential. Not always easy. Your best customer is someone else’s prospect. They’re getting offers from your competition every day, so you have to work your butt off just to keep them happy.

The other function is finding new business. Unless you’re consistently prospecting for new accounts, you will fail. No matter how well you nurture your existing customers, stuff happens. The market changes or collapses. Companies get bought out. Management changes. Your white knight moves on. There are hurricanes and blizzards. Stuff happens.


The hummingbird not only protects her existing food source, she is constantly looking for new sources. You must do the same. Take care of your current customers but always be prospecting for new ones. It’s called effective territory management.


I’m Oliver Connolly and I help people grow sales. For more information please go to or call me at 928 554 1657