This morning, I was talking to Christina, the local U.S. Bank manager here in Branson and we were discussing sales, and one of the major principles of excelling in sales came up, and that’s the concept of fishing v. hunting. I think most of us know the old bible saying that goes, “give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, but teach him to fish and he’ll eat for life.” That reminded me of how people think sales is like hunting.
When you hunt, you get your rifle or bow and you go looking for the game. When you do that, you hike through the woods as quietly as possible, but more often than not, the game sees or smells you coming and it runs. In sales, suspects and prospects can smell you a mile away and can sense you’re selling. So, what do those people do just like a hunted animal? They run. Then you go chasing after them and that makes them run even faster. In sales, it makes you annoying and they shut their doors, never to open them again. If you don’t want to be that guy or gal, you have to change your idea about what sales should be. It’s not hunting, it’s fishing.
In my book, Online Marketing Secrets (available on Amazon.com) I talk about this and a lot more to help people understand the difference. So, let’s look at fishing. I’m not talking about standing on the bank with a bobber in the water, a lawn chair and an ice chest full of beer. That’s not fishing. That’s hoping. you’re sitting there hoping to catch a fish. That’s no way to sell either. You can’t put up a shingle on a store front and hope people come in. You may as well be chasing them through the woods. They’re not just going to come in unless you’re paying a seriously high rent in a popular place. But, if do the following, you’ll catch fish… in this case… clients and customers.
A real fisherman gets the right lure, a fish finder, a boat that can take him to where the fish are, and guess what… he almost always catches fish. In sales, you have to get the right bait. And what is the right bait? Something your customer wants. Something that solves a problem for them. And, in sales, you have to figure out where your customers hang out. Whether it’s online or locally, who are your customers and where do they hang out? That’s your fish finder. If you are not sure, you have to do some homework. If you blanket advertise, you’re throwing money away. In today’s online world and even locally, you shouldn’t throw advertising dollars at people who don’t want your product. That’s hunting. You should throw advertising dollars, specifically at your target audience. That’s fishing.
As for bait, a good deal on a valuable product or service can be very enticing. A limited time offer that stacks value is also a great way to get your potential customer’s attention. If you offer a great product at a competitive price, you will be able to deliver what you promise. And, remember, fish…. don’t hunt. But, to be successful, figure out who your customers are, entice them with bait you know they want, focus your advertising on people who want what you’re selling. And, finally… build your brand so you stand out from the crowd and they choose you instead of your competition.