Selling Excellence = Hunting + Farming

20th February 2018

By John McKee LinkedIn

Sales are the very life-blood of any business. It’s this flow of value back to a supplier from their customers that keeps the doors open, pays the bills, the salaries and funds the Christmas party every year. But selling is by no means a simple or predictable process. 

Part art, part science selling is an activity that businesses have struggled with since bartering was invented and this struggle will continue long after we are all gone.

Selling Excellence is the result of a continual pursuit toward the perfection of two age-old activities, namely: Hunting + Farming.

Hunting… the winning of new accounts. 

Farming… sustaining and growing existing accounts.

It’s easy for those tasked with bringing in the sales to focus almost exclusively on new business (that’s the hunting piece!).  

Beating the bushes, opening new markets, wearing out the shoe leathercall it what you like. More often than not, our view of successful selling is measured by what the hunter carries back on their shoulder at the end of the week. But perhaps this focus comes at a cost; that being the opportunity cost of making more of the existing healthy and well-established relationships with customers we already have. 

A couple of questions for us all: 

  1. When did you last visit an existing customer just to say hello and find out how things are going, how many of the Mondeo business miles were to addresses already in the CRM system?
  2. Are your reps incentivised to win new work alone, or are they also working hard to farm and grow the accounts where the cost of sale has already been paid?

For any of us in business, small or large, there may well be some value in considering how we sell, and measuring how much of our activity is dedicated to farming as well as to the hunt!! 

Perhaps with some rebalancing we can get back on the road to Selling Excellence.

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