I love to fly fish for trout. There are several lakes within a half hour of my house. I can fly fish for trout for hours at each one of those lakes and never catch a trout. Why? There are no trout in those lakes. If I want to catch trout I need to go to a designated trout stream or lake where the trout are located.
Last summer I drove for over 22 hours to Glacier National Park in Montana to see friends and fly fish for trout. It was a beautiful morning as I approached the lake. I decided to fish off a point where a feeder stream was quietly flowing into the crystal clear water. As I waded slowly into the water, you could see trout everywhere. I knew I was going to catch trout that day. I was so excited. I was going to have a field day. Now all I needed to decide what they were feeding on. I tied on one of my favorite flies, a “Mickey Fin”, that has never failed me in the mountain lakes and let ‘er rip. After fifteen attempts, nothing. Not one trout. I couldn't believe it. Over the next hour I must have tied on ten of my favorite flies with zero action. I was stunned. If I was a trout, I would have easily taken one of these flies. These were the best looking flies I had in my box. I tied each one of those by hand with exact precision.
It was back to the drawing board. I waded out of the water, sat on a log and ate my sandwich. If the first hour was any indication of the day, I was the only one eating something that day. However, I have learned over the years, whether at fishing or sales, you can never give up. You must persevere if you want to have success at anything in life.
I finished my sandwich, waded slowly back into the water opened my fly box and saw the ugliest fly I have ever seen. I had no idea where it came from. I sure wouldn't tie anything that was that stark white and ugly. I thought, there is no way I would be attracted to that fly if I was a trout. Guess what? I'm not a trout. (Key point.) I made my first cast, the minute the fly hit the water, bang! I had the fight of my life. It took what seemed like an eternity to land that monster. It was a beautiful 18 inch cutthroat trout. The second cast, bang again. I couldn't believe it. It's like the trout were having a feeding frenzy. Within an hour I caught several beautiful cutthroat trout ranging from 14 – 20 inches. (By the way, I did lose the big one.) It was one of the most incredible fly fishing experiences I have ever had and will never forget. That experience taught me many things about sales.
As I reflect back on that day, there were many parallels to sales that I found interesting:
- Who is your target audience?
- Where are they located?
- Are you trying to sell what you would buy?
- Are you guessing at what you think the customer should buy?
- Are you telling instead of selling?
Selling is asking the right questions to find out what the other person wants and they will move mountains to get it. Remember this, our prospects and customers buy for their reasons not ours. What are their reasons?