fishing for clientsLast week I was fishing off Port Renfrew located on the West Coast of Vancouver Island North of Victoria. It occurred to me while out on the boat, very early in the morning, the metaphor that is used many times in business; ‘fishing for clients.’ This analogy may bring some clarity about why you may not be ‘hocking’ the clients that you may be going after.

1. One of the most important questions that you must continually ask yourself is: “Who is my ideal client?” It was like that early morning. We could have gone after halibut, or, salmon. We had decided the previous night that we were going after salmon. Therefore, we knew what we wanted to ‘hook and land.’ There were no questions. It was the salmon season and even though there was halibut around we decided to go after salmon. Listen to Joe da Silva's Podcast Episode on iTunes

2. Do you know where your prospects live? No, not their residence, but where are the specific groups they belong to? Are there networking events they go to? Sports clubs or even bars that they hang out from time to time? This would be apart from their office. If you know where they go, then you must go also. They are certainly not going to come to you. It is with this information that we left the dock and went to some of the more popular feeding areas for these salmon. What did we find there? More boats looking for the same fish. Along the way, we saw other boats fishing in different areas, but they were scattered. Here was the concentration, therefore, here was where the fish tended to bite.

3. Do you know what your prospects want? Is your product/service really what they need? In other words, there is no use throwing out your ‘line’ if the ‘bait’ is wrong. All that is going to net you is a whole lot of nothing. Since I was fishing with people that fish the area almost every day, we knew exactly what the fish wanted and we put out our lines with exactly the bait that worked the previous day.

4. Do you know how to ‘hook’ your prospect? What questions are you going to ask? Do you have your ‘Power Statement’ ready, this is developed in The Action Suite? How about your ‘pitch,’ is it effective? Does it explain your value statement? Is it long enough or too long, again developed in The Action Suite? How about your CAP, Customer Approval Protocol? Are you ready to apply it so that the ‘hook” is set and you have a greater chance of ’landing’ your prospect? During our excursion we had all the modern gear; fish finder, down riggers, flashers, lures etc., to give us all the advantages we could have in order to land the big one.

5. What happens if you do ‘hook’ that prospect and they somehow got away? One of the things that we have to continually do is to reflect on the process and the system that you are using. You have to really look at the questions, such as, were they really an ideal client? Did they really need what I had to offer? Did I use the correct ‘bait,’? In this case, it would be your questioning techniques and once the ‘hook´ was set, did I do a hard sell because I was excited instead of having the prospect buy? For people fishing, once you get a ‘hit’, some get so excited that instead of playing with the fish to get it on the boat they attempt to land it right away and the fish snaps the line and another opportunity to ‘land the big one’ is wasted.

As for my trip, we did not catch any fish except for one that was only a foot long and maybe weighed in at 2 lbs. We let him go with the hope that he gets bigger for next time. You see, that was not my ideal customer as I was looking for 15 lbs plus. No one else was catching any either and sometimes that is just fine. After all, I spent 6 hours on a boat with family I rarely see in one of the most majestic areas in the world.

I would submit to you that it was still a successful day.

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