The Hunter and Farmer sales model revolves around the very different roles each plays in the sales process. Typically a company would have a team of ‘Hunters’ who’s sole job is to go out and find leads as well as a team of ‘Farmers’ who’s job is to nurture existing clients and encourage long term business.
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It’s important to be clear on the necessary traits for each role so you can hire and develop each accordingly. Here’s the difference between Hunters and Farmers in sales and what to look for when hiring them.
Hunters vs Farmers
Hunters are salespeople who love to go after new leads and sales. They relish the challenge and have thick skin to handle all of the rejection they are likely to face. Farmers prefer to get more business out of their existing clients and are more interested in long-term customers than quick sales.
We recently welcomed a new person to our team in the role of business development. We knew for this role we would need a real hunter. Someone who is hungry and eager, not afraid of rejection and doesn’t need convincing to sell more. The role of the hunter versus farmer is one of the most demanding positions in sales. So when it comes to finding the perfect person, these are the sales hunter skills you should look for:
Sales Hunter Skills
Does your candidate call you to make sure you got their resume? Do they follow up with you after the interview to see how things are going? If these are things you expect your business development person to do, you should expect them to display these traits in the interview process! Skip the ones who don’t call you back, or have courage to ask you tough questions in the interview, because chances are they’ll treat your prospective customers the same way.
Focuses On Commissions
Ask your candidate how much money they want to make. If the answer is somewhere around your base salary (or if they want a really high base), show them the door! If they strive to be a million dollar salesperson, they won’t care about the base because they’re focused on the commission. Give them unlimited earning potential!
Builds Rapport Quickly
Your candidate should be able to build rapport within seconds, because that’s all of the time they’ll have on calls and appointments. Are they confident and exhibit positive body language? Or sit timidly waiting for you to take the lead? While a subdued personality may be useful for some roles, you need someone confident and outgoing to hunt for business.
Managing a Hunter
Don’t be threatened by a hunter. Their persistent (sometimes pushy) personality is what makes them great at what they do. Instead, step aside and let them bring in the sales!
Compensating a Hunter
Hunters are used to dealing with risk and thrive on the challenge to close deals. They’ll often settle for lower base wages in favour of higher commission rates. It’s important to reward them appropriately for their hard work.
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Here’s what to look for in a farmer and when to hire a farmer instead of a hunter.
Farmer Sales Structure
While hunters find new business, farmers cultivate customer loyalty. When it comes to finding the perfect person, this is what you should look for:
Sales Farmer Skills
Although a hunter will call a potential employer and follow up, a farmer is unlikely to make a peep. Instead, look for how they build rapport. Do they engage you on the phone? Do they have a bright smile in person? Do they know how to come across as being friendly in email? All of these are skills essential to cultivating lasting relationships.
Focuses on Rapport
Some of the best farmers, are ones that are true friends to their customers. They connect with them on social media and might even meet outside of work. Farmers should be the type of person that everyone loves. This relationship will ensure they are always top of mind with customers.
Builds Lasting Relationships
To like someone enough to buy from them once is one thing, to like and trust someone so much that you always look to them to provide solutions to your problems is another. When the trust and relationship is there, not only is repeat business natural, referrals come easily.
Managing a Farmer
Building relationships is important, but sales are what keep the business running. Farmers need direction on how to ask for the sale. Remind them to ask for referrals and the importance of their role in bringing in repeat business.
Compensating a Farmer
While hunters want higher commission rates, farmers are typically happy with lower compensation rates in exchange for stable income.
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- Tom Abbott is the author of 'The SOHO Solution' and 'Social Selling' and the creator of the online sales training platform SOCO Academy. Sales leaders engage Tom for his proven solutions to building high performance sales teams that exceed targets and for motivational keynotes that energise their audiences.
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