The Right Kind of Sales Career for You


If you decide to enter a career in sales, it’s important to know how you sell. Review your skill sets and determine how easily you can apply these skills to a particular sales position.

Are You a Hunter or A Farmer?
Asking yourself one critical question will help you determine the best sales position for you: Am I a hunter or a farmer?

In sales, there are two types of salespeople who are successful based off these basic skills: hunting and farming.

As a hunter, you will start selling from scratch and hunt for new opportunities, building your client base from the ground up.

Hunting is a skill set that requires the ability to be unafraid of the risks ahead. A hunter is the type of salesperson who would be willing to tackle any risk in favor of securing the end result– a closed deal. Hunters typically require a mindset that is calculating, while also able to multitask at a moment’s notice in order to address whatever situation is in front of them in the pursuit of the sale.

If you’re a hunter at heart, you probably won’t like, or excel at, a sales job that requires the cultivating temperament of the farmer.

Farmers have the ability to service clients over an extended period of time. In sales, your ability to develop trust and confidence through your stellar service to clients is key to long-term success. A farmer type of salesperson enjoys working with existing accounts– growing existing relationships, cross-selling, and upselling their existing client base.

Successful Salespeople Are Both.
A truly successful salesperson has to have both hunting and farming skills in order to be successful. However, they don’t necessarily have to have equal strengths in both areas. For instance, you can be more of a farmer than a hunter. If you enter into a sales career that requires more attention to a client over the long-term and that client rewards you with continuous sales, than you will likely succeed more by applying your farming skills.

If you have a short sales cycle and you are selling something one time that will not require another sale opportunity until much later down the road, then a strong hunter’s skillset would work best for this type of sales career.

In my personal commercial real estate career, I choose to represent entrepreneurial type of clients who are similar to me. I have stronger hunting skills and better farming skills for a more immediate sale.

On the other hand, institutional investment brokers need more farming skillsets and less hunting skillsets. They need to be able to nurture their deals with more extensive understanding of the financial impact of a sale. The ability to provide accurate data to their clients so that they can make the proper investment decision will lead to better purchases by their clients and more loyalty for future purchases. The need to hunt is lessened, although they still have to find opportunities for their clients to invest in.

Hunters tend to be less organized and have a stronger ability to multitask. Farmers tend to be more cautious taking their time to layout their plans to service a particular client.

To be a successful salesperson, you need to have both hunting and farming skills. Regardless, you will fail as a salesperson if you don’t take the time to learn where your own strengths lie.

Photo Credit: Keith Chastain via Compfight cc

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