Through my studies of the evolution and change of culture and society, there’s a distinction between humanity’s times for hunting and times for farming.
We’ve seen times of food abundance, and the need to leave home to hunt was not required. We have also seen cultures designed around farming efficiencies and seasonal and predictable cycles.
Whether these differences (hunting vs. farming culture) are brought on by the environment (scarcity or abundance) or man’s thirst for a better way, we need to appreciate the differences between the two.
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These differences include specific knowledge, skillsets (including attitude), and environmental conditions. If your only means of food is hunting, then feeding your family with a shovel would be tough, if not impossible.
Over the last year, there’s been a major shift in the remodeling business from a farming mentality to a hunting skill set.
Many remodeling organizations have seen dramatic drops in sales due to this dynamic. There are many business owners (and salespeople) that were quite successful a year ago but breathe out of a straw today.
The flip side is also true, with some remodelers having a record sales year (though only about 10 to 20% of remodelers). This has come from not just hard work but also adapting a hunter's mindset and disposition.
The following are a few aspects of each to compare and see if you’re a hunter or a farmer.
Farmers are very methodical (even dogmatic) about the sales and marketing process.
They believe if you pump out 1,000 direct mail pieces, you should get 10 to 20 leads or inquiries. And if you visit 10 people, you should close two to four prospects.
This mindset, while comforting and efficient, may be problematic today. Homeowners are not responding to some marketing the way they did in the past and require multiple visits to close (if at all).
A hunter is creative and flexible.
A hunter understands process, however, is light-footed and will deviate from the process to make the sale. The hunter understands numbers but will put a laser focus on one prospect if there is the right sense of urgency and all the buying signs are there.
Farmers are very reactive.
Farmers tend to sit and wait for the phone to ring (after doing some marketing efforts). When the phone is not ringing—which it is not for many—a farmer points fingers and blames the marketing department, the heat, or the economy for the lack of opportunities.
The hunter wakes up every day and creates a proactive hunting plan.
The hunter knows they will not eat if they don’t bring in the clients. The hunter has a radar for opportunities and goes after them rather than sits. The hunter believes they are accountable for generating opportunities, not others (and enjoys this challenge).
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Farmers tend to plant the same crops (product), year after year.
They have become masterful at not only these products, but also the process to give predictable results.
The farmer will say, “we don’t do X or Y,” and will continue to try to do what they have been doing, but better. The hunter’s product may change.
The hunter believes his hunting skills are transferable to other “game” and while he may have a preference or competence in a specific type or scale of the project, he remains flexible.
The hunter may do a smaller project or a commercial project or do a project on a cost-plus arrangement rather than a fixed-price contract. The hunter realizes that a different sale is better than no sale.
While you may interpret this theme as farmers are behind the times and everyone needs to move toward hunting, the point is more about taking inventory of your business (and sharing why your business is off).
Many remodelers are thirsty for the answers to those painful questions in marketing and sales. The important theme here is “change and action,” and the question is, are you changing along with the changes in your clients, the marketing world, and the sales strategies?
And just as, or more important, do you have people on the bus that can be hunters in today’s environment?