As an avid angler, I often pose a question to the audience when speaking at an event. Consider all the necessary “things” needed for a successful fishing trip. Out of all the “things” necessary when you go fishing, what is the most important above all else?
The most common answers I hear are hooks, bait, fishing pole, fishing line, and even beer. All of these may be necessary for a good fishing trip. However, none of these items will amount to anything without the fish. I’m sure you’ll agree that fish are the single most important “thing” needed when you go fishing. Yes, fish! Consider the obvious. Without them, all the equipment in the world will amount to absolutely nothing. Being a smart and successful angler means you must thoroughly plan ahead before going out. You need to determine who is catching what kind of fish, where the current hot spots are located, and the types of bait that work best.
It has always amazed me how much time and money people will spend on marketing or leads, without first knowing if there are fish (potential customers) in the waters they are targeting.
Once out fishing, you should always keep the fish in the forefront of your mind. You need to adapt and refine your fishing techniques as needed based on the conditions. The approach to marketing and sales is the same and just as obvious. The fish are your target market. You first need to find where your target fish are; then develop and implement a successful plan to target them.
To locate the waters where your fish are found, you’ll first need to find and identify your target market to be able to sell to the right fish. The people most likely to buy your products and services are the ones you need to concentrate your sales efforts on. What types of people may need or benefit from what you have to offer? You’ll need to figure out who your customer is and learn what they want.
Identify the key locations with the highest population of your ideal customers. Be careful not to constrain yourself to too small of an area. It is also necessary at times to take some calculated risk, but do this in a well-informed manner, and always remember to keep your target audience in mind when putting your presentation into the water.
As you find your key audience of customers, begin building your database of the right fish and continue to develop appropriate strategies to bring in newer contacts as well as keep those already found biting at your bait. Be sure to craft the right message and presentation. Just as in fishing when choosing the right bait or lure, you’ll need to deliver the right message, at the right time, to the right customer.
Once you define your products and services, you know your target customer base, and are ready to fish; it’s on to the bait. A wise fisherman said you need a line with several hooks so as to catch the largest amount of fish possible. Individual fish are tempted to bite at different types of hooks and bait. To bait as many customers as possible, you’ll need to have several marketing hooks to pull them in. Each avenue will bring in more people and in turn create more sales. You should have as many types of advertising, marketing, and promotional tools as possible specific to your particular needs.
Be sure to create your own unique sales edge that will give you your own advantage in the market. You should have and follow a specific sales and marketing plan that is reviewed on a regular basis for effectiveness that you can adapt accordingly. There is always room for improvement, as sales are an organic cycle in constant change. For optimum success, it is mandatory to evaluate your results and keep up with the ebb and flow of changing market trends.
Follow this model, and you’ll start catching fish and be able to continue to catch plenty of fish. The more tuned in you are to the fish, where they are located, and how to target them and keep them hooked, the more successful and prosperous your business endeavors will be.