Hunters vs. Farmers – it’s an ongoing debate in the world of business that is almost as old as the art of sales itself. When sales executives and business leaders are trying to maximize their revenue streams and increase their bottom lines, they obviously look to the most efficient and best form of selling to get the job done. As it stands, there are two common sales personas that tend to always be talked about – sales hunters and sales farmers. While both have their advantages, which one is better?
Before we talk about which one is better, let’s define each persona and take a closer look at them.
A sales hunter, much like a real life hunter, is someone who goes for the kill (to put it bluntly). Hunters are generally doers and like to see immediate results. Generally speaking, they like to close deals on a daily basis and generate as much immediate profit as possible. Quantity is the key here.
A sales hunter can be great for business because they generate a lot of new business and greatly contribute to a healthy bottom line. They are fierce, ferocious, competitive, and have an extreme drive to win & succeed. When you hear someone refer to a salesperson as a “savage”, it’s usually in reference to a sales hunter.
Almost on the opposite end of the spectrum lies the sales farmer. Again, much like a real life farmer, a sales farmer is someone who prefers to plant the seeds of trust and allow for them to grow in to repeat, long term business. Rather than producing a large quantity of sales, farmers like to develop sustained sales by taking care of the customers over long periods of time. They tend to focus on a happy, satisfied customer.
A sales farmer can also be great for business because happy and satisfied customers turn in to repeat customers, which can be the bread and butter for any business. Not to mention, in today’s age of information, poor customer service can quickly go viral, so it’s imperative to take care of the customer. Also, happy customers tend to bring in referral business, which can be of great benefit to any business.
Which is Better?
This debate has been going on for a while. For a long time, the general perception of salespeople were that of ruthless hunters. Thick-skinned and cutthroat people made it in sales, while everyone else withered away. Nowadays, this seems to be more of a stereotype than reality.
I’ll make the argument that being exclusively a hunter or a farmer can actually be a detriment, no matter what persona you are. If you are purely a sales hunter, you might scare away some of the more timid customers that could eventually bring in some big business. On the flip side, if you are purely a sales farmer, you might have a tough time generating immediate sales, which can be tough because salespeople get paid when they sell.
What’s the Solution?
Modern salespeople really have to be well-rounded to really succeed in the world of sales. It’s OK to have the personality of a hunter or a farmer, but if you really want to capture and close as many people as possible, you have to be somewhat of a hybrid between the two.
If you are more of a hunter, you have to know how to farm. If you are faced with a prospect who is more timid and who is not really in the market to purchase right now, you have to have the skills to develop that long-term relationship, follow up with them, and make that sale when it’s ready to be harvested.
If you are more of a farmer, you have to know how to hunt. When talking to a prospect who is in need of your product right now and is in the market to purchase, you have to have the skills to close them right there. Otherwise, you risk them going to the competition, which means a lost sale for you.
First, figure out what your persona is. Once you figure that out, learn the skills of the other persona. Once you are well-rounded enough to work on both ends, you’ll really see your sales volume increase.
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