Sunday, 5 June 2011

Farming, Hunting or Fishing?

Before anyone mentions it, I absolutely accept that this is not my original idea. However, it so aligns with how I fundamentally feel about sales, that I have no qualms ‘passing it on’.

Most of the time sales structures are based on Hunters and Farmers. The accepted theory being that some sale people love to find and win the initial deal, but are poor at long term relationship building and account development – the Hunters. While their mirror images are uncomfortable dealing with new prospects that they don’t know or understand, but thrive on delivering long term sustainable value and growing the client from a one-off purchaser, to a major repeat customer over an extended period – the Farmers.

The problem is, particularly in a Consultancy Selling environment, you need to do both. The fisherman (and Fisherwoman) actually blends the Farmer and Hunter characteristics very well. Fishing requires significant planning about where to go to find the fish, research about what the fish like to eat, and the bait that might get them interested. It requires patience while the fish are nibbling and aggressiveness when its time to reel it in. It also takes the courage to throw some fish back in when it’s not right for either them or the fish. A good fisherman knows when the conditions are right to catch the ‘big one’, but knows that some times its better to concentrate on catching lots of small fish to make up the weight. And critically, a Fisherman gets a great deal of satisfaction out of the whole process of fishing, as well as the enjoyment of catching the fish.

Maybe the next time someone tries to put you in the Farmer or Hunter sales box, you can suggested your skills are right down the middle?

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