What can IT sales managers learn from fishers?

Max Sydorenko
Jul 23, 2018 · 5 min read

People are used to compare everything. In fact, it is a vital part of people’s nature. Sometimes, such comparison leads to depression and grows the overall uncertainty of a person (saying “hello” to Insta addicts)). Obviously, if you compare yourself to Bill Gates, you may assume that you are the most unsuccessful person on the planet :)

But, when it comes to learning and uncovering something new in your activity, the comparative method can help you out with making some new conclusions and checking if you are doing right things and what you should change. Having more than 7 years of experience in IT sales under my belt, I’ve found that sales have a lot of similarities with fishing.

1. Be proactive.

The more you try the more you get. This rule works in most life situations. It is especially important for fishers. If you want to catch a pike, you have to make hundreds of attempts, change several places, and the result will come.

Fishing and sales are all about conversions. So, the first questions you should ask yourself when you have no desired result is “was I active enough?”.

2. Know your target fish.

It is impossible to catch a fish of exact kind without knowing its habits, time of feeding, preferable type of bait, habitat etc. Every experienced fisher knows much about the kind of fish he is trying to catch. First books about fishing, actually, where about the behavior of species.

The same is in sales. Without knowing your target audience, needs of your potential clients, your sales activities will not bring any result. Ask yourself a few simple questions:

  • Who is my client? = What is the fish, I am trying to catch?
  • When does my client most need my services? = When does my fish feed?
  • Which channel should I use to reach my clients attention? = Where does my fish live and feed?
  • What is important for my client? = What bait does my fish love?
  • What is my USP? = What lure should I use?

As you see, questions above are quite similar for selling and fishing.

3. Make experiments.

Every fisher knows that it is important to try various baits in order to define the best one for particular weather conditions, exact water temperature, air pressure, period of time etc. You never know which spoon or lure will work better. So, do not hesitate to make experiments.

To catch the codfish you have to change several places

4. Season matters.

You have to be aware of when the best period is for catching the kind of fish you are looking for. The same with sales. Very often I saw managers, who demanded sales from their subordinates in so-called dead season.

Ask yourself “when is the season high?” and be ready for a “big fishing”.

5. Be aware of and use modern tools.

After the invention of echo lots, smart baits, carbon rods, ultra strong needles and other staff, the life of fishers was changed dramatically. When you visit a competition of carp fishers, you will find that their equipment looks very technologically. In fact, it is extra technological. You will even find that some fishers use water cameras to see the moment when the fish is going to peck…

The same is in sales. A cold calling and direct mailing are well known tools that proved their efficiency, but now those tools are not the best to be used. There are a lot of tools from Salesforce and other CRM developers, who offer advanced lead scoring, email funnels building etc.

Learn news sales techniques and approaches to be efficient in sales.

Be ready to invest in your tools if you want to catch the trophy!

6. Rely on your intuition.

Every fisher knows that intuition matters not less than other important things. In fact, the more you practice, the more you develop your intuition. Many times when I was fishing a pike, I relied on my intuition and said “oh, my pike is waiting for me over there”. And many times the next attempt with my spinning brought the desired spike to my boat.

Intuition is important in selling. Analyze and remember your feelings when you talked to your prospect, who became your client. What did you feel? Have you thought that this person would become your client?

Rely on you intuition in the next similar situation.

7. Be patient when to catch the trophy.

Do you know why women are not expected to fish? Because they cannot imagine how it is possible to sit for 3 days in a row and wait… Just wait and do nothing… Every carp-fisher knows that it takes 2–3 days to catch your trophy. Feed your fish, check your lure from time to time and wait. The trophy will come.

Feed your fish

The same in sales. You will catch a big fish. Be patient, wait and be sure that your trophy will be in your cage.

8. Keep silence.

It is a common rule for every fisher not to tell anyone about his places. Try to ask someone about the place where the trophies are and the topic of the dialog will be changed for sure ;)

I am sure that the world gives opportunity to everyone to catch his own fish. But imagine the situation when everyone has come to your place…

9. Enjoy the process!

Get up at 4 am, pack your car with number of bags, freeze in the morning, get attacked by mosquitos, stay without a shower and a comfortable bad for 3 days… Yes, you have to love the process if you are ready to put up with all these inconveniences.

The same is for a sales process.

Get hundreds of refusals, talk to toxic people, stay under pressure from your boss, who has a new sales plan…. If you do not love the process, if you do not enjoy what you do, you will barely stay in sales for a while. But if you DO, your reward will be more than fruitful!

And good luck to you!

P.S. Watch the video and remember… always stay a human, release a fish! ;)

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