Each day when I head into the office I know that my day requires some basic preparation…and today to celebrate my husband’s recent promotion; I’m going to use an analogy that is near and dear to his heart—fishing!
Our fishing outings require preparation, contemplation, strategy, finesse, patience and persistence…much like a typical sales day. Fishing begins by plugging in the trolling motor to charge the battery before we head up river…for me; I charge my batteries with a decent breakfast, tons of coffee and reading the Word of the Day to get my “charge” from Above.
Next begins the process of selecting what fish to go after, which poles to get ready and what types of bait to use. Truly, if I started my work day preparing to fish, I might land a few more big ones in the boat. In my sales experience, I have not only been prepared for what I want to catch, I have to be willing to either cast a wider net or use different bait…it’s about being prepared for anything.
In the boat, we bring rain jackets, bug spray and emergency lights in case of a sudden change in weather or environment. And if you’re in sales, you know that it has gone from sunny to overcast in so many industries that the fisherman most able to adapt to change is dominating at weigh-in time.
There are times when I’m out there on the river that I bait my hook, cast my line and picture what the fish thinks as I dance my worm above him. I try to think like the fish…which sounds half crazy, I know, but almost inevitably when I get into this mode, I catch fish! There are other times, it doesn’t come so easy and rather than pack up the poles and head home, we move to a new location and try another angle or lure…again, it’s about being flexible and creative…and persistent.
Naturally if it works with fish it could work with people. I can’t ever be so rigid in my strategy that I forget to think about what the sponsor is looking for. I can better adapt to their message if I think like they think. I can better deliver them an experience they’ll benefit from if I empathize with their audience and their objectives. I know this is a given, but so many times salespeople forget that the sale is not about them. It’s not about anyone buying anything…it’s about creating a unique and beneficial solution that fulfills a need for the customer.
Knowing that makes it more relevant that your worm is fresh, bright, and stands out from the many that dangle in front of them. To the fish, the low-hanging may not be the most appealing…and the ordinary almost never catches their eye! Having the flashiest or the shiniest doesn’t always work either. There’s a place in between that shows the fish and your customer that you understand his world, you’re sympathetic to his needs and you’re primary concern is his satisfaction…for the worm, he is temporarily getting his needs met and for the customer, it’s not a temporary fix he’s looking for.
I practice the “catch and release” rule when fishing, but not in my business. I am completely committed and usually they are, too. It’s not about a one-time hook; it’s about catching and keeping. Catching and keeping takes patience, persistence and practice…and speaking of practice, I gotta go! My husband has the boat hooked up and we’re headed to the river. There are so many things on my to-do list that will still be there tomorrow. The big fish, however…today just might be my lucky day!