Let’s go fishin’

Let’s go fishin’

Intro by Skip Cohen

Years ago back in my Polaroid days, we had a guest speaker at a marketing meeting, Ed Foreman, a motivational speaker out of Texas. That was over forty years ago and I still remember his advice when it came to sales:

“If I can see the world through my client’s eyes, then I can sell my client what my client buys!”

This is so much bigger than the old line about putting yourself in your client’s shoes. It’s about seeing the world the way they do. It’s about understanding their priorities, concerns and what they need to build trust. In fact, it’s the very foundation of building relationships!

So, when I stumbled across this post from Beverly Walden, it really got me thinking about the importance of fishing…for business! You’ve got to know your target, understand how to reach them, have value in your product/offer and be patient.

And like all the great fisherman out there, you’ve got to master the skill set!


By Beverly Walden

Those of you who know me well know I don’t fish-it’s an aversion to all things slimy, but Tim’s Grand-Dad took him fishing as a little boy, so it’s his wisdom you are getting this week as we relate “Hooks in the water” to marketing thoughts.

Remember when “fish” were so hungry to have what we were all creating that they were biting on empty hooks and in fact, we couldn’t keep up with the business we had, so we got lazy. After all, why put any effort into marketing? We had full bellies!

In today’s overcrowded marketplace, your hooks not only need to be in the water, but you must wisely choose which bait to use along with these other thoughts on being a successful “fisherman.”

1. You need to know which fish are right for your business.

It’s the quality of your fish, not the quantity you can haul in that matters. How you market will either draw the right or the wrong kind of client. For a boutique business, you want to draw in the buyers who love what you do and are not shopping on price or looking for bargains. Those looking only at price are not your loyal clients and may be a drain on you over time.

2. You must choose the right BAIT to draw in those fish you desire.

On your printed marketing pieces, some fish are drawn to pieces that sizzle and flash, that glitter and shimmer. Pearl papers and metallic envelopes will appeal to these prospects. Women especially love uniquely shaped mailings with creative twists. If you are after classic clientele, many printers are now doing thick pieces with simple embossing on them or velvet finish on cards that have great “feel appeal.” Above all, fantastic graphic design is always the right bait to attract upscale clients.

3Present your bait in a way to catch attention or the fish just swim on. This adds the element of jazzing up the outside of your envelopes for direct mailings. Use unusual return address labels, interesting color envelopes or anything you can think of to create interest before the envelope is opened. Hand-stamping a pretty design adds interest as well if you have a bend towards crafting.

4. Learn where the fish you want to catch hang out.

Where do they shop and eat? What charities or arts do they support? Where do their children go to school and is there a possibility to give to a fund-raiser where they hang out? Be involved in your community to learn where the “schools” of fish are that you want as your clients. Enlarge your circle of acquaintances as these lead to larger and larger circles as your acquaintances introduce you to theirs and the multiplication of potential clients grows.

5. Timing is everything. 

Some fishing holes are great in the early morning while everything is quiet and still. Some are better in the dark of night. You simply have to know what you want to catch and the best time of day for success. Same holds true in marketing. Your timing must be matched to your goals. Be aware of the ebb and flow of the best times to mail to your clients (or email)-there is research online to help you figure this out. On any direct mail offers, we have found that a very short time frame has the best success as people tend to procrastinate if they have too much time to reply.

6. Be patient.

Seeing the results of your marketing efforts takes time. Stay the course and be consistent. Repeat your message often as most people don’t respond to anything the first time they see it. It takes repetition.

The next time you are thinking about your marketing, apply these fishing principles and get those hooks in the water. If you don’t have hooks in the water (active marketing going on), then sit down and create your own special hooks and bait for your business and get going! Happy fishing!

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This article was written by
Beverly Walden

Beverly, along with her husband, Tim, took over Walden’s Photography in 1980, taking the studio in an entirely different direction when they developed their trademark “Relationship” Black and White Fine Art Portraiture. Today, they run a high-end studio, providing beautifully crafted portraits with impeccable customer service, along with Walden Coaching (www.WaldenCoaching.com) helping photographers build a stronger brand and business.

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