Want To Cultivate Sales? Forget Farmer Or Hunter Types…Find A Pioneer – PsychTests’ Study Reveals The Profile Of Top Salespeople

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Research by PsychTests.com indicates that “pioneers” – salespeople skilled at making contacts and closing deals as well as customer relationship management – tend to be more successful in sales than “farmers” or “hunters” alone.

62% of salespeople with a Pioneer style were rated as “Excellent” by their supervisor in their most recent performance review, compared to 40% for Hunters, and 28% for Farmers.

Salespeople with a Pioneer sales style are the perfect amalgamation of a Hunter and a Farmer.

Pioneers possess the initiative and assertiveness that Hunters need to find prospects, but balance that ‘killer instinct’ with the warm and helpful attitude of Farmers.

Just as a team of only quarterbacks can’t win a football game, a sales team of only hunters or only farmers won’t necessarily net the most prospects – or profits. Most experts would agree that a good balance of hunters and farmers is essential, but what about throwing in a few of what researchers at PsychTests are calling “pioneers” – salespeople who possess the right aspects of both sales styles? Assessing 423 salespeople with their Sales Skills and Style Test, researchers at PsychTests reveal that top salespeople are able to take on the role of both a hunter and a farmer, and actually enjoy both aspects of the sales process.

As the name suggests, typical hunters “hunt” for prospects and customers, scouting their territory with their eyes locked on the prize. They measure their success by the headcount. They are opportunists who are perseverant, assertive, at ease about asking for business and skilled at closing. They face rejection on a daily basis, so they need to have a pretty thick skin and solid coping skills. It’s harsh on the psyche, and there is typically a high turnover rate in hunter positions, with cold-calling being especially soul-crushing.

Farmers’ mission is to tend the land – they are caretakers who ensure that customers, once acquired, stay put and keep using the company’s products and service. They lack the “killer instinct” of a hunter, and are likely to struggle if required to find new clients. However, they are good at keeping customers happy, finding the best solutions for their needs, and helping them to resolve issues. Farmers nurture relationships and do damage control when necessary, doing everything they can to ensure company or product loyalty.

It would seem that in order for a sales company to thrive, finding a good group of hunters and farmers is the most sensible route. Researchers at PsychTests, however, beg to differ. When they compared Hunters, Farmers, and those who possess an amalgamation of the two styles, it was these Pioneers who outperformed their individual counterparts on nearly every sales competency, including the following:

Pioneers vs. Hunters

  •     Pioneers are more comfortable with risk-taking (score of 88 vs. 79 on a scale from 0 to 100).
  •     Pioneers are more at ease making decisions (score of 85 vs. 68).
  •     Pioneers have better communication skills (score of 89 vs. 77).
  •     Pioneers possess a strong sense of self-efficacy (score of 86 vs. 76).
  •     Pioneers are more conscientious (score of 85 vs. 74).

Pioneers vs. Farmers

  •     Pioneers are more comfortable with public speaking or engaging new people in conversation (score of 85 vs. 55).
  •     Pioneers are better equipped, on a psychological level, to deal with rejection and criticism (score of 81 vs. 52).
  •     Pioneers are more confident (score of 86 vs. 54).
  •     Pioneers are better at adapting to change, unpredictable work environments, and new situations (score of 88 vs. 58).
  •     Pioneers are actually better at relationship building (score of 88 vs. 64).

“Of the 44 sales competencies we assessed, Pioneers outperformed Hunters on 36 of them – the remaining 9 did not reveal significant differences. Pioneers outscored Farmers on all scales,” explains Dr. Jerabek, president of PsychTests. “The Pioneer types have the best of both styles. They possess the initiative and assertiveness that Hunters need to find prospects, but can balance that ‘killer instinct’ with the warm and helpful attitude of Farmers. In fact, 62% of salespeople with a Pioneer style were rated as ‘Excellent’ by their supervisor in their most recent performance review, compared to 40% for Hunters, and 28% for Farmers. This isn’t to say that staffing your company with Farmers and Hunters alone would lead to failure. But if you take the time during your pre-employment process to find someone who can be a Pioneer, you may find your company in a much better position to adapt to different types of clients and sales avenues.”

Want to assess your sales skills? Go to [http://testyourself.psychtests.com/testid/2162

Professional users of this assessment (therapists, life coaches and counselors) can request a free demo of this or any other tests from ARCH Profile’s extensive battery: http://hrtests.archprofile.com/testdrive_gen_1

To learn more about psychological testing, download this free eBook: http://hrtests.archprofile.com/personality-tests-in-hr

About PsychTests.com
PsychTests.com is a subsidiary of PsychTests AIM Inc. PsychTests.com is a site that creates an interactive venue for self-exploration with a healthy dose of fun. The site offers a full range of professional-quality, scientifically validated psychological assessments that empower people to grow and reach their real potential through insightful feedback and detailed, custom-tailored analysis.

PsychTests AIM Inc. originally appeared on the internet scene in 1996. Since its inception, it has become a pre-eminent provider of psychological assessment products and services to human resource personnel, therapists, academics, researchers and a host of other professionals around the world. PsychTests AIM Inc. staff is comprised of a dedicated team of psychologists, test developers, researchers, statisticians, writers, and artificial intelligence experts (see ARCHProfile.com). The company’s research division, Plumeus Inc., is supported in part by Research and Development Tax Credit awarded by Industry Canada.

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Ilona Jerabek
PsychTests AIM Inc.
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