The Story Of The Hunter And The Farmer

Simply put, we can say that there are two sales personalities: the hunter and the farmer. Let’s take a look at what makes them different.

The hunter

- focuses on making a single sale to potential customers
- tries to get a decision in the short run, based on his capacities to inspire and generate trust
- can stir up buying interest and is focused on closing the deal
- is willing to and knows how to prospect. Enjoys the hunt for new customers
- is motivated by challenges or competitions. Winning spirit. Wants the trophy
- likes to penetrate the market and expand the company’s activity

The farmer

- likes repeat sales to existing customers
- builds and cultivates relationships on the middle or long term. Creates customer relations and loyalty. Sells based on his capacities to achieve credibility and trustworthiness.
- is focused on giving excellent service
- doesn’t really enjoy prospecting. Enjoys deepening¬† long-term relationships through communication.
- protects the market share and helps the company with customer retention

The truth is that to be successful a company needs both types of sales people, as they need to acquire new customers and build relationships with existing customers. The only problem is that it’s not so hard to find farmers, whereas hunters can be difficult to find. Not every sales person is suitable for prospecting, as it requires a well-developed hunting instinct, a winning spirit, resolution and lots of perseverance. Hunters don’t hang their head when they are confronted with setbacks. Nothing will keep them from getting results. But this isn’t enough. The modern day hunter is a true professional: efficient, well-structured, organized and disciplined. He or she is a communication expert who knows how to be an active listener and ask relevant questions. Because hunters are assertive people they sometimes can appear pushy, but this is something they can learn to keep under control through communication training.

So, which type are you? Hunter or farmer?


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11 Responses to “The Story Of The Hunter And The Farmer”

  • Einar | Sales techniques on August 21, 2011

    Combination of both, but more farmer than hunter…

    • Wim on August 27, 2011

      Hi Einar,

      You first hunt these wild animals down, then domesticate them and take good care for them on your countryside farm.

      Way to go! :)


  • Ashvini on August 22, 2011

    Hi Wim,

    I am more of a mix of farmer/hunter. Sometimes , I have been told that I am a little aggressive in my dealings. I have made course correction wherever possible. In my opinion, both kinds of people are required to make sales. Infact hunters can be the first line of offense followed by farmers. In my opinion, good farmers are equally difficult to find as hunters.

    • Wim on August 27, 2011

      Hi Ashvini,

      From my experience it’s better to be a bit on the aggressive side than to be too timid. Just make sure you “tune in” to the specific customer’s vibe and not overwhelm them.


  • Bill Dorman on August 22, 2011

    Hey Wim, that is so funny; I did a GP today a @Lifeforinstance and used the hunter/farmer but it was about friendships.

    Similar theme however in that you do have to hunt your prospects but you have to nurture the relationships once you have obtained them.

    We must be on the same wavelength……….cool.

    • Lori Gosselin on August 25, 2011

      Well Wim’s wavelength is a good one to be on! I was thinking the same thing, Bill, as I read this post! LOL

  • Jk Allen on August 22, 2011

    I must say I’m a little of both – but the most dominant side of me is that of a nurturer…a farmer.

    Great analogy between this topic and sales. You know your stuff man. I’ve been around the block and can recognize game when I see it. You’re all game (and if you don’t know, in the states – that means you’re golden! The real deal!).


    • Wim on August 27, 2011

      Haha thanks for pointing that out JK, for a moment I thought you were calling me a fake :)

      Stay game!

  • Lori Gosselin on August 25, 2011

    Hi Wim,
    I think I’m supposed to be a Hunter, but I’m realizing that I’m not all that good at it! This is something I’ll be focusing on as I get back to it come September. This means more visits HERE!

    • Wim on August 27, 2011

      Hi Lori,

      It’s crucial to know your own strengths. You don’t have to be a hunter to be successful as a salesperson or entrepreneur. It might take a bit more effort to put yourself out there in front of the customer and hook them in, but once they’re in, they’re in for the long run!


  • Mike Weinberg on October 13, 2011

    I admit that I’m a little late to the party on this post– like 6 weeks late! A client pointed me to your blog today and I’ve been scanning your posts.

    Love this piece about hunters and farmers. Honestly, this is one of the biggest issues facing sales organizations today. I agree with you: there are few hunters. And for some reason, many companies that have hunters also ask them to clean, cook and serve the fish after catching it. It’s a mystery to me.

    Thanks for writing.
    Best to you,

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