We’ve all heard the analogy describing the difference between a Hunter and a Farmer Business Development Professional. Neither position is easy, and both are critical components to the success of any business. The biggest difference with farming is that BD Professionals have the opportunity to engage with people they already have a relationship with. Psychologically, this connection makes the process a bit easier in that customers are less reluctant to engage with you. However, the flip side is that BD Professionals are sometimes reluctant to press clients on business issues that need to be discussed.
Good farmers are always searching for the next opportunity with current clients. They understand that the best way to get additional business is to do a good job with existing business. By virtue of being a good farmer, they begin to develop more of a hunter mentality, looking for new opportunities over and above those already in the client base. They may not be required to deal with many new relationships, but they’ve developed a consummate skill of discovering the next problem that needs to be solved. Once they gain confidence in uncovering new problems and offering new solutions to clients in existing relationships, the next step for them is to move to providing existing or new services to individuals where a new relationship must be developed.
It’s substantially easier to develop a hunter mentality coming from a farming perspective, than having to develop a hunter mentality without previous farming experience. No one really likes making true cold calls. The opportunity to work with people that you know, press into new areas, uncover new challenges and offer new solutions is the best and fastest way to become a hunter. It’s far easier for a good farmer to grow into a hunter, than to require a natural or highly developed hunter to function in a farming role.
From our experience, the key to substantial organic growth within any organization is to provide the thinking, skills and discipline on how to hunt new revenue opportunities to everyone who interfaces with clients.