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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 well.

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 buyers.

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.

Ditto for successful sales people. However, a bad day fishing still beats a good day at work!

Read other articles and learn more about Landy Chase.

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