I grew up in a military family.
My father was a sailor stationed at Winter Harbor, Maine, when he met my mother.
I was born a year after their nuptials.
After my father’s finished his enlistment in the Navy, he entered an Army ROTC program so he could become an Army Officer.
As a child, we moved every three years or so until he decided to become a paratrooper.
After jump school, we moved to Fort Bragg, NC, which is where I spent my adolescent years.
My mother’s family lived in Maine during most of my life.
Every few years, my mother drove us in her white minivan, the two-day drive to Bangor, Maine, so that we could spend a few weeks in Vacationland.
My grandparents owned a cabin on a lake, and we spent much of our time swimming, canoeing, and exploring the lands around the lake.
One day I found a fishing pole and decided I would test my angler skills.
It was my first time fishing.
I remember being somewhat grossed out as I sacrificed a worm while I attached it to the hook.
Then I threw the hook into the lake water and waited for some nibbles from the sun perches that were swimming in the water below.
At times the water was still as glass, and I looked into the water to see how many fishes were swimming around in the water.
With a little patience, I saw the red and white bobber dip under the water.
I pulled on the line, and I was in for a struggle as I reeled my fish in.
It was exhilarating to see a little sun perch fish on the hook at the end of my fishing line.
Then came the part I dreaded from fishing.
It was fun to catch the fish.
However, removing the hook from the fish was always a chore.
I had to grab the fish and push down its fin so that the fin spine would stab me.
I only had to be stabbed once by a fin spine to know it wasn’t something I wanted to experience again.
I remember the unease I felt as my hand enveloped the scaly body of the fish.
But I had a job to do.
None of the fish I caught were large enough to keep, so I had to return the fish back to their home.
Unhooking the fish was challenging for me as the hook stayed put in the fish’s mouth.
Most of the time, I was able to finagle the hook out of the fish’s mouth, and he went on to swimming until I threw another worm on a hook back into the water.
I had such great fun fishing.
I learned several lessons while fishing that have helped me tremendously in business.
If you want to catch fish, it helps if you go to where the fish are.
Before my first jaunt at fishing in the lake at my grandparent’s cabin, my mother taught me how to cast my hook into the water.
I grabbed my fishing pole and stood in the backyard of the cabin and cast the line.
Once I learned how to cast my hook on dry land, I was ready to cast my hook in the water.
As good as I got casting my hook on dry land, I never once caught a fish while I was in the backyard.
I also noticed that there were no fish swimming around in the backyard.
I guess that made sense because fish need to be in water.
There was not enough water for the fish to swim.
The same situation occurs in business.
When I’m looking to attract new customers, I can practice my sales presentation as much as I want in my office.
However, if there are no potential customers in my office, my likelihood of getting new customers is null.
I have to go to a pond where my ideal customers congregate.
The only bait I’ve ever used fishing was worms.
Worms were lovely bait for my desired sun perch in the lake at my grandparent’s cabin.
The reason why I know worms were good bait is that fish nibbled on my hook when there was a worm on it.
If the fish stopped nibbling at the hook, it would have been time to seek a new bait.
I still have dreams of going deep sea fishing off the coast of North Carolina.
Mahi-mahi is one of my favorite fish to eat.
Worms would be a lousy bait to use for fishing for Mahi-mahi.
Mahi-mahi like to eat fish, crabs, squid, and shrimp.
When I go fishing for Mahi-mahi, I will need to use a bait that appeals to those fish.
It’s the same thing with our customers.
When I’m looking to sell to my customers, I should learn about what they find appealing.
When I go to an Italian restaurant, I want to eat Italian food.
I would be disappointed by an Italian restaurant if all they served was hamburgers.
Catching fish takes time.
Sometimes fishing can be an arduous task for children.
I remember taking my children fishing, and they were loud and rambunctious.
Their loud voices would scare away the fish.
I had to teach them to be quiet and patient.
It took time for the fish to warm up to my worm on a hook.
Too much movement and the fish would ignore my bait.
When the fish weren’t biting, I would need to refresh my bait.
I continued to use worms because worms worked.
Worms worked as long as I was persistent in my fishing and allowed the fish to discover my baited hook.
I had to be patient and let nature take its course.
The same principle applies to business.
When selling to my customers I need to present my opportunities regularly.
At times I need to update my opportunities so that it is more appealing to my customers.
My customers go through a warming up process before they are ready to buy.
If I try to rush the warming up process, it will add fear, uncertainty, confusion, and doubt to my opportunities.
It takes time, and I have to be patient enough to let the sales process unfold naturally.
When looking to work with customers, it’s helpful to think of the sales process as a fishing process.
I’ve been more successful when I went to a pond where my customers were.
I’ve been better at serving my customers when I provided them with opportunities that were appealing to them.
I’ve had to remind myself at times that the sales process takes time.
It’s been important for me to let the sales process run its natural course.
The sales process will take time, and I must be patient during the process.
By keeping in mind the fishing process of my youth, I’ve been able to have success in working with new customers.