I love to bass fish and since fishing is more fishing than catching, there’s a lot of time for thinking. Thinking about fishing and thinking about everything else. Maybe that’s a big part of why I like it so much.
I find myself using fishing analogies as I explain business concepts to clients and co-workers. Maybe I’m thinking about fishing too much, but I’ve found some sound correlations between successful fishing and successful business.
Fish where there’s a good fish population.
Time is precious so spend your time fishing the most productive water you can find. Too many people spend a great deal of effort fishing lakes and rivers with poor fish populations. Your catch will be a sampling of the overall fish population of a body of water. Use that fact to your advantage.
The same applies in business. If you are selling products or services, make sure you are doing business in an area where the probability of success is the highest. This area can be geographic, demographic or whatever other qualifier makes the difference.
Keep your lure in the strike zone.
This is about increasing productivity. If most of the active fish are close to shore work your lure close to shore. If they are deeper, concentrate on that water. Most anglers cast from shallow to deep all the time. It doesn’t make sense to spend half the time fishing water where the fish aren’t active.
In business, this relates to face time or touch points. The more time you spend top-of-mind with a prospect, the higher the probability of her/him taking the bait. Also it’s important to be communicating with people that are actually interested in your offering at the time their interest is peaking.
Try several techniques until a pattern emerges, then fine tune your presentation.
Junk fishing is a term to describe using multiple lures and presentations to find out what they’re biting on. It’s a good way to learn what your prey is interested in, at that particular time. Once you catch a few fish a pattern emerges, then slight changes in presentation, like color, size or speed of a lure can improve the outcome.
People identify and related to different things. As you develop a relationship with a potential client, you may need to try discussing different aspects of your products or services until something resonates with them. At that point it’s all about the details to further solidify your understanding of their needs.
It’s all a numbers game.
More time spent on prime water making productive casts with a high-probability presentation equals more fish.
More time spent selling to interested consumers and communicating to them repeatedly while they are receptive equals more sales.
Be the ball.
In order to effectively fish a lure, one must visualize what the lure is doing beneath the surface: how it’s moving; what it’s bouncing off of; why it stopped all create awareness and increase sensitivity. Pay attention.
The same can be said for listening to what consumers are saying about your brand. Make sure you are acutely aware and are sensitive to the perception of your constituents towards your business.
Use good equipment.
On the water problems are often attributed to using improper or faulty equipment. Poorly maintained boat motors break down; old fishing line snaps and dull hooks miss fish. High-tech electronics give us insight into the fish’s world and professional-grade tools increase productivity.
Well-designed facilities, hardware, software and other tools make doing business faster, safer and more dependable, and can give one an edge over the competition.
Talk to other fishermen and share information.
I always talk to the anglers at the boat ramp and every fisherman I pass while fishing. I volunteer information and empathize with the ones having no luck.
Ask questions. People like to be experts. Let them. You’ll learn more, faster, by asking than figuring it out yourself.
Always be ready for the big one.
Catching a monster bass doesn’t happen very often, maybe only once in a lifetime, so always expect it to happen and be ready. This is the single most motivating factor most people fish for bass. A photo of a prized catch is always better than a sad story about the one that got away.
Owners work hard and make a lot of sacrifices to build a business. One never knows where or when the big break will come, so as with fishing, readiness to seize the moment is what separates the winners from the losers.
The more you do it, the better you become.
This is true with anything. Experience matters. It increases the quality and quantity of your work.
Become a specialist, but be verastile.
The best anglers usually excel at 2 or 3 fishing techniques. They have taken the time to master those methods and use those as their confidence techniques, but when the conditions aren’t working out they are still proficient at other more favorable approaches to be affective in a variety of situations.
Most businesses and business people have core competencies. They should be experts at them, but at times other services or skills may be required to get the job done or close the deal and the good ones rise to the occasion for success.