The Patience Of A Fisherman

I am writing this as I am about to head off on vacation to a warmer climate.  By the time this posts, we will be home again.  But it makes me think of vacation things like fishing, although it’ll probably be more golfing and other things in the urban area of Phoenix.

Fishing is an exceptional analogy for sales.  You buy your gear, you find your spot, you bait your hook, cast your line, and wait for a fish to come along.  You get a bite, reel him in, and the fish is too small to keep.  You have to throw him back.  Next bite you get, your fish is the right size but he gets loose from the hook and swims away.  The time between bites could be a few minutes or an hour.  A lot of waiting and not much activity.

When you sell, you get paid when you close a deal.  When you get the signature on the dotted line or the customer purchases your product.  Does this happen a lot?  Not really.  Your main activity is prospecting.  Trying to find people willing to look at your literature or attend your sales presentation.  Sales people do all kinds of things to find prospects but many these days network.  They try to find a foothold somewhere, like a customer they know uses a similar product or service, then gets referrals from there.  They call the referrals and try to get more referrals, as well as more prospects.  And it goes on from there.  Salespeople can spend days or weeks just networking.

You can warm up your leads by advertising your product or service.  You can leverage your money and time by placing an advertisement to educate the public on what you’re offering and have people contact you if they have an interest.  Then you are only dealing with prospects.  Still, it is a distance from having a prospect to having a sale.  And the more expensive your product is, the more prospects you’ll go through before you get that first sale.

Having all of this activity with no sales can get frustrating if you let it.  You are spending all of this money and all of this time trying to sell your product and you just aren’t getting a yes.  You just have to remember that it is all a process, hopefully a well-defined process, and that you’ll get that yes eventually.  If you are frustrated, that will show through to the customer making that yes harder to get, so you really have to have the patience of a fisherman.

Anybody out there find a shortcut to the sales process?

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