If you are frustrated by marketing efforts that miss the mark and leave you wondering why prospects don’t take the bait, fly-fishing might be a good remedy. While standing thigh-deep in a crystal blue stream on a hot summer evening may not be your idea of a good time, the process of fly-fishing is a powerful illustration for a marketing campaign or overall business strategy.
Preparation: Gearing up involves waders, one of those cool vests with too many pockets, extra flies, a few little gadgets, and the net. The last thing you want is to wade out to your spot mid-stream and realize that you left something critical on the bank. Knowing what you’ll need and have it ready before you start always makes sense – not only in fly fishing but also in diaper changing, gourmet cooking, and business. Determine before you start what you want to catch and what you will do with it once you do?
Study the hatch – Fly-fishing involves careful consideration of the “hatch,” meaning whatever insect is currently buzzing just above the water’s surface. Matching your fly to the hatch means you are offering exactly what they are hungry for at the moment. Look at any angler’s tackle box, and you will see a dizzying assortment of colors, sizes, and styles. Over the course of one fishing session, you may change your fly several times as various insects become more active and the trout’s preferences change. It happens with your customers too. Be ready to tweak your message or offer so your client will think, “that’s exactly what I was looking for.”
Presentation: Presentation is the key, as these clever fish can quickly size up the offering. If the fishing line is visible or the fly hits the water in a way that is unnatural, the trout will keep swimming on by. Don’t just flop your message out there and wait – fine tune your presentation to strike the right chord with your potential client. If it sounds unnatural or insincere, chances are your audience will pass right by.
Repetition: Instead of a lazy afternoon sitting on the banks, fly-fishing involves technique, timing, and repetition. Trout want a moving target that resembles a tasty, live insect. You are continually throwing out your line and reeling it back in, only to try again in fly-fishing. Just like reaching your customers, it takes several “touches” to get them to notice and often, even more, to get them to bite.
Preparation: Be prepared once they bite! I hooked a potential catch several times, but didn’t “set” the hook in time. They bit, but I wasn’t ready! If you have a nibble, be sure you are ready to bring that customer in with a clear call to action. It’s too late to wait until you have a bite and then formulate a plan.
Strategy: Once I had one, it took some patience and persistence to reel in and net my dancing, silvery prize. Just like bringing in a jumping trout, consistent, controlled response and follow-up strategy is as important as the preparation. Establish a sales funnel that will lead your customer to your products or services in a strategic manner.
Use a guide– Hiring a guide increases your chance of a successful catch. A guide knows where the fish gather when they are active and what others have used to catch them. The guide will interpret all the elements for you and coach you through the cast, set, and reeling in.
Why reinvent the wheel when research, a coach, or a consultant can provide vital information such as your potential customers’ demographics or desires? Rather than throw something out there and see what happens, you’ll know exactly where you need to cast your line.
One of the many reasons I love fly-fishing are the lessons it teaches that apply to life and success. If you’ve been putting out the same old tired message and not getting a nibble, perhaps it’s time to take a look at your gear up, read the hatch, perfect your presentation…or hire a guide.