The One That Got Away! (Sales Lessons from a Fisherman)

As you may know, I just spent a week with a fisherman. Jerry's actually a son, husband, father, teacher and many other things, but I only want to talk about the fisherman.

A few random thoughts...

Jerry is a 'catch and release' fisherman. He typically brings a camera with him so that he can share his evidence of his victories when he's telling his fish stories. Jerry told me that fish were easier to catch early in the season because after they've been caught and released a few times, they become wizened to fishermen's lines and no longer take the bait. Doesn't this happen every day in the business world? Do your marketing. Make your calls, but your prospects have become wizened to your sales lines (or your competitors have caught and released them) and they ignore you.

big fishCraig and Jerry also talked about what fish were best to eat. I think they were talking about stripers and Craig said that you wanted to eat the smaller fish because the bigger fish tended to be fatty and less tasty. Haven't you experienced that with your customers? The bigger ones tend to have more fat, more red tape and by the way, aren't they more difficult to land? In hindsight, don't you enjoy your smaller customers more? Don't they appreciate your efforts more? Is it possible to enjoy the big ones as much as the small ones?


that bigI don't remember them talking about any of the ones that got away. You know, the big one that grabs your hook and runs. You work him for hours and eventually he breaks your line and gets away or tears his lip and you reel in an empty hook? When I've heard these stories in the past, I've typically heard all the things that the fisherman did to try to land the fish before he did whatever he did to get away. I hear this kind of story every day from salespeople and business owners. They saw the 'fly' or 'bait', nibbled, caught, but they couldn't land the sale.

Here are more similarities between fly fishing and business.

So, here's my closing question. Do you want to continue with your 'catch and release' approach to finding customers? If yes, thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts in the comments. If no, let's talk about the one that got away.

Topics: Sales, sales stories, sales process steps

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