Most of my time outside of the winter season is spent working on our small business and fly fishing. I live a very short walk from a good trout stream so I try and fish most days; at least for an hour or so. My daily routine consists of helping run a small business intermingled with some trout fishing, so I find a lot of correlations. It's hard not to occasionally let my thoughts drift back to business when I'm fishing (although I do try and escape). I was out fishing the other night thinking to myself, "I'm out here trying to sell to the trout. What am I doing wrong?" That is when I realized that success all comes down to presentation; both in sales and in fishing.
It's Not Necessarily The Offering
Watch almost anyone fly fishing and you will see them change their fly a lot. Fishermen always think that if they aren't catching fish then the fish must be eating something else. However, that is typically far from the truth. A fisherman is usually quite educated about what should be working, whether that tip came from a friend or a fishing report. Much like in our business we are out there prospecting with things that we believe should be selling, but sometimes they don't always sell. Typically the problem is not what you are selling, but rather the form of what you are selling and where you are trying to sell it. Let me explain further.
I learned a long time ago that if the fish are not eating your fly you should try something a little bit smaller or bigger than what you are currently using. That means that you should use the exact same offering but in a different size. Other tactics are to use the same type of fly but in a bit of a different color. These changes work more often than you would think. I reason that it's because the fish see so much of the same thing that when something comes by that looks just a bit different it stands out and they can't resist. In your business realize that modifying your offering just a little bit can go a long way towards gaining new customers.
Like I said in the beginning when fishermen aren't catching fish they immediately change flies and cast again in the same spot. Sometimes changing your angle or location in relation to your target will earn you that difficult fish. Fishermen also get confident in certain spots because they have had success there in the past. However, showing up at the same place with the same offering year after year is eventually going to stop working. You need to change things up in your business and keep your offerings fresh. Try some new networking events or maybe even consider some new tactics.
There are a lot of different ways you can present a fly to a trout. First, is your mode of prospecting; you can either be floating in a boat or wade fishing. In the spring and early summer, snow melt causes the rivers to rise making the wade fishing difficult. Additionally most of the fish are forced to find slower water, which is usually on the bank. Therefore, fishing from a boat is a preferred method when the river is high so you can cast to the bank rather than cast from it. Then you need to consider your actual fishing tactic of dry fly, nymph or streamer. Let's not get too technical here but you have some serious options. What you need to determine is what prospecting tactic will yield the best results given the current situation. In other words you need to calculate your ROI (return on investment) for your various prospecting tactics to determine what works best for your current environment. Selling, much like marketing, requires some financial reporting and analysis in order to become successful.
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Photo Credit - Taken by author Matt Roberge while rowing the boat