Hunters vs Farmers: Why Does the Old Debate Still Apply in Sales Today? w/ Susan Barrett [Episode 119]

In today’s episode, Susan Barrett (CEO of Barrett Consulting Group) and I discuss why sales is a life skill, and not just a business skill.

Hunter vs Farmer?

The hunter is the doer, hunters aim to close as many deals as fast as possible, focusing on deal quantity instead of deal quality. The farmer develops long-term relationships with their customers. Sales people with this trait are happy working with fewer customers, allowing greater energy focused on creating lasting relationships. In today’s market, it is better to be a well-rounded sales rep, where the most successful are hunters that know how to farm, and farmers that know how to hunt when the time is right. What is our line of sight to the customer? How is my role affecting the relationship we have with our customers?

Does every body sell something?

The answer to this question is an astounding YES. Sales is a life skill, not just a business skill. Ultimately, at the end of the day we are engaging with each other, whether it is friendship or business. We are just trying to help and understand each other. Some of us do it better than others, and some of us do it for the right reasons, while others have questionable intentions.

What is the long-term strategy?

You make yourself available and useful to people, able to help sort things out or achieve key goals. Some people take advantage of that, if we don’t know how to stand up for ourselves. We need to articulate the REAL value of an offer. This will help people have foundations that will help create stability for them when they are dealing with a range of people. The majority of people want to do good business. We all need to watch for the bad eggs.

Why are Managers, CEOs, and Entrepreneurs stuck on these broad, easy labels for sales reps being a Hunter or Farmer?

Selling is a complex system of variables and approximations. It is not a linear process. People look for easy answers, or rather easy solutions. Hunters and Farmers are people looking for the easy answer and not knowing how to deal with the variables that go with a complex system like sales operations.

What are the ideal qualities of a sales rep?

  • Empathetic
  • Otherish (selfless person thinks less of themselves)
  • Curious
  • Problem Solver
  • Listener

What are the sales trends for 2016?

Less is more, decluttering because we are in the midst of an information tsunami. This wave of information is causing great angst for people regarding decision making. One of the trends for 2016 will be about competition zero, which is indecision. There are a multitude of competitors. Too much information leads to people getting overwhelmed. The trusted name you knew back then may not be as trustworthy or may no longer be in business. There are so many alternatives out there and it is hard to find the truth. 50 to 60% of qualified sales opportunities are ending in no decision.

Learn More About Susan Barrett:

What’s the most powerful sales tool in your arsenal?

Sales Person: Interest in other people and wanting to understand where they are coming from.

Sales Leader: The ability to be able to craft and communicate and deliver strategy.

Name the one tool or app you use for sales or sales management that you can’t live without.

Coaching Skills

Who’s your sales role model?

Susan’s dad is her role model.

What’s the one book that every sales person should read? 

Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success by Adam Grant

What’s the one question you get asked most frequently by sales people?

How to prospect?

What’s your favorite music to get you pumped up for a meeting or sales call?

Classical Music: Bach Cello Concerto

What’s the first sales activity you do every day?

Susan checks her plan and her schedule.