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Today I want to talk about your sales and business processes. In other words, I want to talk about how to grow your business by being either a hunter or a gatherer. Now, being a gatherer doesn’t necessarily grow business, but it can. But being a hunter, oh, they go find those new sales.

“Onga-gadonga”, right? Cavemen. That’s what I think of when I think of hunter versus gatherer.

The Sales Pitch

Let me give you an example. Yesterday I got a direct message inside LinkedIn, and this guy comes to me and says, “Hey, Brian, my name is Dude and I’m partnering with a global firm that’s looking for candidates a with marketing background such as yours. I wonder if you’re still open-minded about keeping options open for bigger and better opportunities.” He goes on and says, “Schedule a time to reach out to me tomorrow at 224 oh hell no. That’s 224 oh hell no.” I said, “Hey Dude, if it involves network marketing, new streams of income, or anything outside of hiring me as a consultant, then I’m not interested.” He comes back and says, “Great! Then reach out to me tomorrow. We’re looking for partners such as consultants like yourself.” I said, “Whoa, Dude, give me a website or something to look at so I can see it. What’s the name of the company?” Then he says, “Well, I’m looking for a leader who’s going to take the initiative and come into the office and learn more about who we are and what we’re planning on doing from the inside. I’m sorry, but if you want to have it, you’ve got to come and get it.” To which I replied, “Dude, whatever it is, I’m too busy to play hide and seek. No thanks.”

We’ve all seen these pitches, right. Salesmen can just be salesmen. But let’s talk a little bit about the difference between hunting and gathering.

I was having this conversation with one of my friends and cohorts. He happens to work for YRC Freight. His name is Jason Ollinger. We were talking about this hunter and gatherer thing, and I was asking him what his sales team was made of. He said, “Well, I’ve noticed that we have the hunters and the gatherers. The hunters are the ones that are out getting new business, and the gatherers are the ones that are kind of building on the existing business that we have.” He says, “I’m finding that the gatherers are giving us a lot more sustainability, and people are asking for more service out of what we do.”

Hunter vs Gatherer

That got me thinking, and I wondered, “What is the difference between a hunter and a gatherer?” Let’s define that. A hunter is somebody who is young, ambitious, energetic. They’re looking to make a new deal. They want to get it done, and move on to the next thing. A gatherer tends to be older, more experienced, maybe a little more steady. They tend to focus more on maintaining relationships. I look at the difference between hunting and gathering as the difference between growth and stability. To be honest, you want to have a mix of both. You want to have some growth, but you also want to have some stability.


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What’s the difference? A hunter sets a schedule. The way they do that is they reach out to prospects. Now the most successful ones have a servant attitude. They have to go in saying, “How can I help you? What are your needs? What do I need to know about you?” Their main goal is to create awareness. What they also do is communicate regularly. In other words, they provide weekly or daily content. They’re constantly out there providing new stuff. Then they engage with people that interact with them or their content, and by engagement I mean they do more than just like it; they’ll comment or they’ll have a conversation online with them. Then, they build on that relationship over time. They realize this is a long-term game, as opposed to the guy that came in and said, “Dude, if you want to come and get it.” No, if you don’t want to get to know me, I don’t want to get to know you. That’s just the way it is.


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Now a gatherer, on the other hand, tends to set a schedule too, but what they’re going to do is set up follow-up phone calls. They’re going to want to connect with people they’re already doing business with, and they’re going to want to provide updates: so here’s where you are, here’s where you’ve been, here’s some new stuff that we’ve got going on that can maybe help. They like to listen: what is your problem, what can I help you with? The next thing they do is they solve problems when they arise. They make sure that the customer feels comfortable, that if they have a problem they can be communicated with in whatever way the customer wants to. For example, it may be through the phone, it may be through email. The difference is, is in the old days when somebody sent an email, you could have up to 24 hours to respond back. Nowadays, if you don’t respond within 24 minutes there’s a chance that you could lose the relationship. The time to react has to be much quicker, which means you have to be accessible to those issues.

Like the hunter, they also communicate regularly. They go in and use a calendar to schedule these calls, and they’ll set up an email or do a direct message in social media and say, “Hey, I’d like to connect. What time works for you?” They make sure that they’re doing this and staying flexible. Bottom line, it’s on the client’s time and the client’s dime. If they don’t want to, don’t push it. If they do want to, then you have an opportunity to connect and continue the relationship and the conversation. The ultimate goal with all of this is to stay top of mind, to make sure that you are the first choice when they’re looking for a solution to their problem, that you, your product or service solves.

Measuring Results

Ultimately, they’re both going to measure results. The hunter measures results by new clients. New clients equal new business, and then they move on to the next one. The gatherer measures results by retaining satisfied clients.

Managing Time

Now as I said, there’s going to be a mix of all of this. One of the things I teach my coaching clients is how to become more productive. If you want to learn a little bit more about that, check out theproductivitybundle.com. I talk about three different things: MMA, BMA, CMA.

MMA: money making activities. That would be something that the hunter is totally focused on.

BMA: business making activities. That’s something that the hunter and the gatherer focus on — how do we build the business opportunities? For the hunter, it’s new clients; for the gatherer, maybe it’s new opportunities for old clients. Then finally, there are…

CMA: customer maintenance activities. Now, the hunter wants nothing to do with that, but the gatherer spends a lot of time and energy on it. They want to make sure that they’re maintaining those customer relationships and they’re solving those problems.

Money making activities: how do you generate more business?
Business making activities: how do you find ways to generate more business?
Client maintenance activities: how do you do things that keep your current customers happy and engaged with you and your products and services?

Final Thoughts

Now, having a complete balance would mean that you’re 50% focused on getting new business, and 50% maintaining old business. But in reality, the chances are that you and your time and your business is a little bit more 80/20, where it’s 80% trying to find new business and 20% trying to maintain, or vice versa. Whatever that mix is, the bottom line is you have to make sure that you’re measuring the results. In the words of Tom Peters who wrote the book In Search of Excellence, what gets measured gets done.

Ask yourself this: are you or your sales team more of a hunter, a gatherer, or a blend of both? Either way, understand how it affects your bottom line.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas or questions about showing the concepts presented. Have you had to overcome any of the presented concepts? What worked and what did not live up to expectations? Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?