I’ve been fishing for the past 13 years with my three boys, and we enjoy the thrill of the catch. When they were little, we went for small sunfish. We graduated to larger sunfish and then to crappie, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, pike — and then this past year we went out and caught seven 40-in.-plus striped bass.
We didn’t catch every day. As a matter of fact, there were days we flat out got skunked. But there were also those days we just couldn’t do anything wrong. Some days we caught a lot of small fish; other days we caught a couple of big fish. We even turned some fishing trips into a competition to see who could catch the most or the biggest. We also looked at places to fish that we wanted to go in the future. We recognized early on that you really have to change up your bait when fishing for different species. And we also had to change up our equipment.
What I recognized is that I understand why they call it fishing, not catching.
In the professional sales arena, we call it sales when in fact it should be called professional prospecting. Every day you should be prospecting for opportunities. No matter what product or service you provide, you must continue to prospect (or fish) for your potential next sale. Every day, you need to review what you’re doing and ways to do these tasks efficiently and creatively.
If you have 10 poles in the water, you have a better chance of catching more fish than if you had only one pole. If you have the wrong bait, or the hooks are old and rusty, or you’re not there when the pole needs to be set, you won’t catch as many fish.
In sales, if you’re doing the same thing every day and you’re expecting better results, you won’t be there when the potential clients want to rethink what they’re currently doing. The same holds true if you don’t have the best sound bite prepared that helps customers understand why they should talk to you. Also, if you’re not looking in every direction you can for new customers and additional opportunities, you’re probably just fishing and not catching.
Change up from time to time and understand that you must fish to catch, or prospect to sell. Then we can truly keep the great position of salesperson.