The Hunter-Farmer Salesperson

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For modern business leaders, identifying successful salespeople and properly leveraging their talents is key to long term firm performance in the marketplace. In that vein, business researchers studying how to affect a superior salesforce have developed the concept of “hunters” and “farmers” to help organizations identify desired qualities in a salesperson and understand how to bring out the best in their sales staff to be successful. University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business Professor Thomas E. DeCarlo, along with Son K. Lam, has contributed to the discourse on the subject.

Why This Subject is Important

Students pursuing degrees in business should understand the characteristics they can tap into to be successful in the workplace. Indeed, job seekers in general looking for sales positions should identify their own characteristics as either a hunter or a farmer and the work expectations and environments in which they are most likely to shine. And future managers should understand how to best leverage these personalities to help their firms be successful.

Basic Leadership Skills and Activities in Sales

  • Recruit appropriate sales people with the skills the company requires.
  • Customer acquisition.
  • Customer retention.
  • Provide proper incentives and motivation for keeping salespeople motivated.

Sales Hunters vs. Sales Farmers

How do sales hunters differ from sales farmers? Some interesting differences include the below.

Sales hunters are “promotion focused” workers who:

  • Value gains over losses.
  • Tend to go out of their way to generate leads and land new clients.
  • Act quickly – “kill or be killed.”
  • Display a natural optimism.

Sales farmers are “prevention focused” people who:

  • Are usually motivated by wanting to maintain what already exists and avoid any losses.
  • Maintain customer relationships over generating new leads.
  • Display a more laid-back personality.
  • Are comfortable with routine.

To learn more, like the pros and cons of these personality types for sales and tips for using the hunter/farmer theory to be successful, view the UAB Collat School of Business infographic below:

Are you a hunter or a farmer?

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