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Hybrid strength: Farmers who hunt, hunters who farm

Consider a powerful turbo engine mated to a smooth-shifting transmission, or a delicious entrée paired with an exquisite wine…the finer things in life are often best experienced as a blend. Similarly, all great relationships are built on compromise, often between two vastly different personalities.

In the sales industry, we have our own “Type A and Type B” personalities, known as Hunters and Farmers.

Hunters are independent, aggressive, competitive, and love the chase. They tend to “play by their own rules” and do what it takes to land the business, worrying little about process, procedure, and who gets hurt along the way.

Farmers on the other hand are collaborators who nurture clients and cultivate loyalty. They emphasize bringing in repeat business and prefer to focus on what they perceive as “quality” versus quantity.

Too often, managers have a bias toward one or the other (often hunters) and seek those who best exemplify the type they prefer. The reality, though, is that farmers and hunters may have tremendous assets, but equally strong weaknesses. To be over weighted in either exposes your organization to risk and opportunity loss.

Building a team equally weighted to both extremes does not increase success or limit risk, it just magnifies the problems. Instead, your organization should learn to recognize, hire, support, and encourage “hybrids.” This could be a natural farmer who gets jazzed by the hunt, or a natural hunter willing to go to the extra mile to ensure a client remains loyal for the long term. Add a couple of these stars to your team and you’ll be in a very good place. You can spot a hybrid by these personality traits:

Curiosity — Hybrids have an innate curiosity about the world, their prospects, and clients. In client interactions, they don’t just focus on closing deals, they act as a partner. The best hybrids earn the role of counselor and can be a go-to source for industry information.

Strategic thinker — Rather than just focusing on their own bottom line, hybrids think about what’s best for the organization overall and consider themselves invested in its success as a whole.

Team player — This may come a bit more naturally to the farmers, but hunter hybrids are team players, too. Hybrids are willing and able to teach techniques to those who don’t have the same natural acumen and are genuinely motivated by the success of others…in addition to their own!

Intuitive — Knowing when to turn on the charm, when to back off, when to push, and when to relax is a hybrid hallmark. They are not cookie cutter in their approach. Of course they research their prospects, but they are able to deftly mix up their techniques depending on the circumstances.

As part of the Sandler Training / Peak Sales Performance process, we teach critical leadership building skills like collaboration, identifying core strengths and weaknesses, and smart prospecting. Our methods will help surface the hybrids trapped within your farmers and hunters.


Ed Schultek

Founder and Managing Partner

Sandler - Peak Sales Performance

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