Online Exclusives

Hiring the right salesperson

By Rock LaManna | February 4, 2014

The key to finding the right salesperson is to define exactly what kind of role you want the person to fill.

It’s a common refrain among owners of label companies, no matter if times are good or times are bad: “I need a salesperson.” Yet the term “salesperson” seems to be a catchall phrase. Some owners think of it as a description of a person who can go out and cold call customers. Others think it’s someone who can upsell current customers. Many think it’s a mix of both.

The truth is, salespeople come in many varieties. The key to finding the right one is to define exactly what kind of role you want the person to fill. Discovering that role can be achieved when you understand how to define the different types of salesperson.

Do you Need a hunter or a farmer?
A simple, broad-based way to define salespeople is to think of them in two ways: hunter or farmer.

The hunter is the person who can take a list of names, cold-call into a business, and sell products or services. This is a unique kind of person, who lives for the hunt. They love the roller-coaster emotional ride that sales give them, particularly the highs. The drawback to the hunter is that he doesn’t pay close attention to details. Once he’s captured his prey, he doesn’t want to spend any more time cultivating the customer and growing business slowly and methodically.  He’s on to the next big thrill.

On the other hand, there is the farmer. The farmer is an exceptional salesperson as well, but he isn’t the big game seeker like the Hunter. He’s much better at taking an established customer and cultivating new business. Unlike the hunter, the farmer is very detail-oriented. He takes meticulous care of your customer, providing exceptional service. He also is adept at developing relationships.  He takes pride in delivering on the little details, and customers love him for it. With trust established, the farmer is very good at then upselling current customers into new products or services. The customer relies on him, and knows he’s focused on long-term success. He has to be. He’s not a hunter, right?

Can you just hire both?
You may think the ideal candidate would be someone who can deliver on both levels, but I’m sorry to say, sales people just aren’t built that way. The exceptional ones are either one way or the other. If you find a person who says they can deliver on both counts, they’re probably trying to sell you on hiring them. Don’t fall for it.

To ensure you’re hiring the right person for the job, identify the objective of your sales person. It’s very simple:


  • If you want to grow your business from scratch, get yourself a hunter.
  • If you need to build on your current client, go with the farmer.
  • By defining the two roles, you’ll expedite the recruitment process and look like a much more attractive place for a prospect to work. 
Finally, don’t be afraid to pursue the ultimate solution: Eventually, a successful organization needs a hunter and a farmer. Hire them both.

Rock LaManna
Rock LaManna helps printing owners and CEOs use their company financials to prioritize and choose the proper strategic path. He is President and CEO of the LaManna Alliance, and provides guidance on how to grow a printing business, merge with a synergistic partner, make a strategic acquisition, or create a succession plan. Rock can be reached by email at