When I was a 10-year-old boy growing up in a rural West Tennessee community, I really liked to fish. Every farm had at least one stock pond with bluegill which was easy to catch. The larger pools had a few largemouth bass in them. We upgraded those to “lakes.” Bass was much harder to catch.
My best friend and I knew a man named Norton Bass who lived in our town. We knew “Mr. Norton” to be a fishing expert because of that largemouth bass he had mounted on his wall. He obviously knew the secret which was a mystery to us.
We could not resist asking him every time we saw him, “have you caught any fish lately?” He was retired and had the time. His answer almost always was, “Yep. Caught three (or some) yesterday afternoon.” After hearing that response enough times, my buddy and I got the courage to ask him to take us fishing. So he agreed to take us to Bennett’s Lake, his favourite hot spot which contained bass and shared their water with 50 head of Hereford cattle. He told us to bring our own rods and reels, and he would furnish the bait which was an artificial plug called a “Sonic.”
Upon getting there we fished for about two hours. Mr. Norton caught four largemouths. We did not catch any. On the way home my buddy and I were glum. Mr. Norton was in his usual good mood. Finally, the burning question escaped. “Mr. Norton, we do not understand. You caught all those fish, and we did not catch any. Why is that?”
“Boys, that’s easy after I saw you fish today,” he answered. “I walked the entire bank around the lake. I cast straight out, at angles to the bank, and parallel to the bank. I made at least 150 casts. the line on the reel), and getting your bait out of the trees than actually casting into the water. “In the time it took you to make one cast, I had already made 10.” He concluded, “I’ve found that there is a direct relationship to catching fish with the quantity and quality of the casts you make.” No matter where you market your products, assuming they are useful and legal, someone is buying. Even in a recession, automobiles will be purchased, homes will be sold, groceries will be bought, people will need healthcare and legal services. All that has changed is the number sold compared to a previous period.
Here’s your takeaway based on Norton Bass’s theory:
- Encourage your sales staff to make the most of the market that’s there. Provide them sales training and leads. An outside trainer will present a different approach.
- Equip your sales staff in two ways: A. to increase their sales call VOLUME, and B. to improve their sales call QUALITY. See to it that your staff improves its knowledge of the products sold by both you and your competitors.
- Make sure your sales staff knows you are on their team. A good sales manager is a bus driver who knows when to add the gas, and when to apply the brakes. Encourage. Do not nag.
- Top management: make sales calls, and listen to your clients … whether they are buying now or not. You are sewing seeds for a future harvest. Being a good listener now will improve your future market share.
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