In my experience selling and managing sales teams, I have found it quite interesting to watch the different personalities of my team members unveil.  I have worked with some seemingly quiet and methodical team members who seem quite reserved about going out to prospect (look for new clients/customers), but surprise me when they do, by bringing in big accounts and closing the sale.

I have also worked with some team members who are always on the go, willing to get out there and cold call or speak to prospects at the drop of a pin, these people were sometimes not the best at qualifying prospects, but were able to keep our lead (a potential client/customer) pool full of new prospects. By observing these personalities, I was often puzzled at the combination that would build a successful sales team until I came upon a definition of these sales personalities:

  1. Hunter: like the proverbial hunter, this is someone who goes out to hunt for clients. This individual lives for the thrill of the hunt. They are always very excited to pursue a new lead and introduce the company’s products. In the minds of a lot of people, a hunter is their definition of what a sales person should be. The hunter is competitive and takes glory in meeting their numbers. The down side to a hunter is that she/he might not pay attention to the sales process or ensure the deal is good enough to invest their time or resources.
  1. Farmer: this personality like the proverbial farmer thrives by cultivating relationships. They are able to nurture relationships for many years and engender repeat patronage. By the very nature of the farmer, they are more likely to qualify prospects better and bring in more quality deals. The down side of a farmer is their hesitation to go out there to look for new leads and grow their prospect pool.
  1. Combination: there are few people who are a combination of these two personalities; they are either Farmer-hunters or Hunter-farmers. A combination personality would make a great team leader as she/he would be able to recognize their team members’ strengths and apply it appropriately.

My advice is to build a sales team that has both hunters and farmers. However if you are a small business, you might need to find a sales person that has a combination.

What is your sales personality? I would be happy to hear from you!

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