Selling and Fishing:
What's the Difference?
By Landy Chase
There are two activities in my life to
which I have dedicated many hours: selling and fishing. One
generates revenue, and the other does not. Except for this one
differentiator, however, I have come to the conclusion that they are
virtually identical ways to spend one’s time.
Don't believe me? I submit the following
14 points of similarity. You be the judge. Is it merely coincidence
- or are fishing and selling one and the same?
1) In fishing, you prospect for results
in a body of water. In sales, you also prospect for results, but do
so on land.
2) In fishing, you have fish of varying
sizes. The most sought-after fish are the biggest ones. In sales,
you have prospects of varying sizes in your territory. The most
sought-after prospects are also the biggest ones.
3) In fishing, the biggest fish are the
most difficult to catch, and require considerably more skill and
planning. In sales, the biggest accounts are the most difficult to
catch, and also require considerably more skill and planning.
4) In fishing, some species of fish are
more desirable to catch than others. In fact, some fish are so
undesirable that they are thrown back. In sales, some prospective
customers are more desirable to catch than others. In fact, some
customers are so undesirable that you want to throw them back, as
5) In fishing, some species of fish have
teeth. Care must be taken when handling them to avoid a painful and
unpleasant experience. In sales, some species of clients have teeth.
Care must be taken in working with these clients to avoid a painful
and unpleasant experience.
6) In fishing, timing is everything. The
fish have to be biting at the time of your trip for your efforts to
be productive. In sales, timing is everything. Your prospects have
to be in a buying mode for your efforts to be productive.
7) In fishing, lure selection is
critical. You must understand your fish's bait preference to present
the right lure at the right time. In sales, needs analysis is
critical. You must understand your customer's buying needs to
present the right solution at the right time.
8) In fishing, a slow presentation works
best. Present your lure too quickly, and the fish will ignore it. In
sales, a slow presentation works best. Fast talkers are ignored by
9) In fishing, you experience a rush of
adrenaline when the fish takes your offer. In sales, you experience
a rush of adrenaline when your efforts close a sale.
10) In fishing, patience is required in
landing the fish. Attempting to rush the fish to the boat often
results in a lost catch. In sales, patience is required in landing
the account. Attempting to rush the prospect to closure often
results in a lost catch, as well.
11) In fishing, cheesy gimmicks and
useless information from lure manufacturers promise immediate
results to fishermen. In practice, however, most fish are too smart
to fall for gimmicks. In sales, cheesy gimmicks and uselelss
information promise immediate results to salespeople. In practice,
however, most prospects are too smart to fall for gimmicks.
12) In fishing, the most skilled
fisherman are always the biggest producers. In sales, the most
skilled sales people are always the biggest producers.
13) Fishermen often tell their peers
wildly inflated stories in which they boast about their successes.
Sales people, too, often tell their peers wildly inflated stories in
which they boast about their successes.
14) Successful fishermen are among the
happiest people you will ever meet.
successful sales people. However, a bad day fishing still beats a
good day at work!
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