The first thing that I noticed when I got onto the small boat at the harbour in Enniscrone, Co. Sligo, was the cleanliness and order of the boat. The skipper in charge had all of the rods, upright, with their lines neatly tucked away, in holders. The holders were made out of piping, about 30cm long, which had been welded to the side of the boat.
A simple, inexpensive aid had made me sit up and pay attention. This skipper thought about his customers, and this device left a strong impression. We then got a very short lecture on safety, checked we had our life jackets on, and off we went. About 12 of us!
Finding your target market
About 12 minutes later, the skipper stopped the boat, and told us we should find some mackerel here. He explained that the lures on the hooks looked just like what mackerel wanted to eat. It certainly was not something I would have fancied!
He explained that through his experience and the help of a little sonar gadget on his boat, that he knew there was a shoal of fish below. We all slung our rods over the side and dropped our lines.
Reeling in the sale
Now I don't know about you, but this was totally new to me. I wound up the line frantically, as soon as I felt a tug, and hey presto, there were three fish dangling off the hooks. I started flailing about, one jumped off before I even got it in over the side, and when I was trying to reel it in the final bit I lost an other one. The one that I got in, I lost down the gutter when I finally got it off the hook.
The skipper explained to me, that once a fish took the bait, I should give a quick tug on the rod, to make sure it was firmly hooked. I should then take my time, to reel it in. Secure the rod in the holder, with the fish hanging over the bucket and deal with them one by one - I did, and I ended up with 20 fish, which delighted me, as I had set a target of 10, since my friend had caught 9 on his first time
So what are the lessons for marketing - if you are still with me, and have not already got most of them, here they are in business speak;
1. Set goals and targets that are realistic, and based on some valid foundation or research.
2. Have simple procedures set up, to make it easy to operate and for your customers to conduct business with you.
3. Speak in your prospects language, about what they want - it's a bit like the fish bait, unlikely that strawberries and cream will catch many mackerel!
4. Once you know what your prospects like, find out where they are, do some research and target them accordingly - as in our example, not much point in putting down shark bait in a shoal of mackerel.
5. Once you get your customers attention, or have a lead, qualify it, and ensure you follow up at all time to close the sale. Again the use of a good sales process is essential here.
The bottom line, if you know what problems or desires your customers have, and you can solve or fulfill these, while providing value for money, you will always be a winner.
And if you don't know the answer to that question, go ask the people who have already bought from you - they do!
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