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Fishing for sales

Are you a good fisherman?

By Brian Barfield

120749042-mainIn the world of sales, we are judged based on our performance. Those who perform well often find success and fulfilment. Then there are those who underachieve and find themselves fading into obscurity. It is a two-way street, and you either are moving in one direction or the other.

Today I want to share with you some insight that can help you see clearly which direction you are headed. The best way to do this is to take a life experience and apply it to the sales world. With that being said, I ask you to compare the concept of fishing with selling. What you will find in either is that success and failure are based on three main principles: location, equipment, and bait.

When you think of fishing, location is the first important factor to finding success. In every body of water, there are areas fishermen call hot spots. These are where fish are known to be and the odds of success of catching them are greater. Hot spots are desirable because the location is set for success.

The problem is many fishermen keep their hot spots a secret, withholding this valuable information from fellow fishermen. Without it, you find yourself at the watering hole hoping for a bite. At this point you have two options. You can stay where you are and sit there until something happens or move around from place to place looking for the hot spot.

Sadly, many sales associates choose to stay at the same spot, doing the same thing and getting the same results. Eventually they will make a sale or find success, but the wait is boring and tedious. If only they knew they could move around and try different areas until they found a hot spot, selling would become more meaningful and enjoyable with success upon success. I encourage you to try new concepts and ideas until you find what works for you. When you find the right location, you’ll discover a much more rewarding experience filled with success.

The next important key to finding success in fishing is equipment. Fishing from a boat is much easier than fishing from shore. It allows access to areas of the water that could not be reached from shore. Then there is the type of pole you use and the fishing line. The fishing line is very important. If you had a 15-lb line and hooked a 30-lb fish, odds are your line is going to break. And if you were just using a stick and some line, you can forget about it. In the sales industry, your equipment is your sales skills. Make sure you have the right equipment to find success.

Finally, bait is the third-most important ingredient for successful fishing. You may have the right location and the proper equipment, but if you use the wrong bait, it ruins your chances for success. Can you imagine trying to catch a fish with a piece of candy? You would be sitting there all day with zero results.

In the sales world, your bait is your selling style and many associates use the wrong kind. What may seem good to you may not be appealing to your customer. You should really think about this concept and discover the meaning behind it. Make sure you give your customers what they desire.

I will leave you with something to think about, namely the bad fisherman. This is the one who sits at the same spot for hours every day just hoping for a nibble. What they often find is their bait was taken long ago and their efforts were meaningless. As a sales associate, don’t be a bad fisherman. I challenge you to move around and find your hot spots, then sharpen your skills so you have the best equipment to find success. Finally, create a selling style and presentation that will appeal to your customers and keep them coming back for more.

Hopefully, this has opened your mind to the concept of how you sell your customers. Sometimes, we just need to see things in a different light to help us understand it more clearly.

This article is based on the book, “Modern Day Selling: Unlocking your Hidden Potential,” by Brian Barfield. For more information, visit his website at or e-mail him at

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