The Fisherman and the Account Based Seller | FirstRain

The Fisherman and the Account Based Seller

We’ve heard of Hunters and Farmers. However, a recent webinar from Top Sales World, “Account Based Selling: Stop Selling & Start Guiding”, claims the Fisherman is the true MVP of selling. But who is the Fisherman?

An old, overlooked friend, the Fisherman is described by a 1990s article in relation to recruiting as a patient hirer with diverse requirements. The current seller definition follows the same tone. According to the Optis Group, the fishing salesperson is calm, realistic, and collaborative. For many, this sounds far from the aggressive Don Draper they think of. However, it seems increasingly likely that the Fisherman is the same person responsible for your top sales.

A survey was conducted on top salespeople in order to identify their core persona in terms of attributes that explain drive, motivations, and actions. I attended the survey’s accompanying webinar, “The Persona of Top Sales Professionals” by Velocify. Though this was intentionally not a personality test but rather a look into their perception of the world, for the purpose of testing my Fisherman hypotheses, I answered a short Myers Briggs test according to the survey’s top results and descriptions. Think of this as my Rosetta stone for comparing the Fisherman ideal to the current top sales performers’ persona.

The top answers by top salespeople indicate an ESTJ personality type. According to the Account Based Selling webinar, the Fisherman guides, not pushes, leads through the sales pipeline with support, advice, and appropriate interjection. Similar to Fishermen, ESTJs are described as those that provide “clear advice and guidance” while leading the way down difficult routes.

Dedicated planners, ESTJs value preparation and follow-through. This aligns nicely with the idea that knowledge and relevancy is key to Account Based Selling. Jonathan Farrington, host of the Account Based Selling webinar, proposes that to achieve relevancy, and therefore effective selling, knowledge must go beyond just product knowledge to encompass industry, sector, competitive, company, business, and self-knowledge. This concept carries over into the survey results with the group answering “knowledge is powerful” as essential to sales was the group found to have the highest quota attainment at 170%.

With solid comparisons found between Fishermen and the persona of current top salespeople, the metaphor may in fact be a useful tool for hirers of salespeople or current salespeople looking to adjust their own selling approach to modern consumers.

According to the webinars referenced:

  • For those hiring: The best question you can ask to identify the perception and sales intuition style of a prospect is “What was your favorite subject while in school?”
  • For salespeople looking to adjust: The Fishermen approach is particularly recommended for B2B selling.