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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Difference Between Hunting and Fishing

This morning, as I drove to the office, I was listening to a CD that came with an issue of Success magazine. On it was an interview with Chris Widener, a leadership expert, professional speaker, author, and a TV/radio host.

During the interview, which was mainly on the subject of leadership, Chris explained the difference between "hunting" and "fishing". He talked about sales, where the common practice is to hunt for people to sell to. He said that just as in hunting for game, the prey, when sensing they are being hunted tends to move away to avoid the hunter.

So if in your sales, or marketing efforts, you are going out to try to hunt people down to sell to them, the natural thing that's going to happen is that they will run away from you.

Conversely, when you are "fishing", you are attracting the query to you. They are not running away. He said that whether you are selling, marketing or whatever, and you are using a "fishing" rather than "hunting" strategy, there are some basic rules that come into play. First of all, there has to be "fish" and in the human sense, that means prospects who are interested in what you have to offer. So you must determine whether there is actually a market for your product. You wouldn't go fishing in an empty barrel would you?

Second, the fish, or prospects, must be hungry and in this case that means ready to buy. If they're not ready, you will be wasting your time.

Third, just as in fishing, you need to use the right bait. Now Chris was talking about leadership skills—becoming attractive to people who will want to follow you. So personality and attitude were the most important criteria here. But the same things apply to sales and marketing—if you want to attract the right prospect to your product, or service, you need to use "bait" that is attractive to them. In our case bait might be the advertising message, the offer, the price, the retail environment and location of that product or service that the prospect has a need for. And just as in leadership, personality and attitude also are extremely important, especially if you are selling your services.

Fourth was presentation. Chris said that this is often the thing that people put first. But you must understand what it is you are selling and why people want it. You can then determine the type of "bait" that's going to get the best result. Is it price? ...or fashion? ...or are you appealing to early adopters with the latest technology? When you know who you are "fishing" for, and understand why they will want what you are offering, then you will know what "bait" is most appropriate.

I've taken great liberties with Chris's interview here but his "hunting and fishing" analogy is a good one. If you want to know more about Chris Widener, go to:

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