September 27th, 2013

Why New Client Acquisition is a Lot like Flounder Fishing


Why New Client Acquisition is a Lot like Flounder Fishing

This past summer, I spent some time fishing for flounder. While I was moderately successful, I still had plenty of time to think about the similarities between flounder fishing and new client acquisition. Consider the ways in which both work.

Step One, Market Identification – If you are going for flounder, you have to go where the flounder go. How do you identify these targets?

1)      Guess. Just throw your line in the water and hope for the best

2)      Follow other fisherman, see where they hang out, and fish near them

3)      Conduct research on the Web and social media sites to find where flounder have been hitting

Similarly, when attempting to acquire new clients, you need to identify the market, then the territory, and finally the specific targets.

Step Two, Create Awareness – Once you identify where you want to fish, you have to use the right bait to attract flounder. Simply put, you set your boat in a certain area and let the tide move you and the fishing line, in a tactic called drifting. You throw out your line, which has bait and a weight, and you hope to capture the flounder’s attention while the weight drifts on the bottom of the ocean.

In today’s business environment, we essentially follow a similar process. We begin the new client acquisition process with a message – our bait – to attract the interest of the buyer. We then use a variety of tactics, like Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, content marketing, public relations, and advertising to get our message out into the marketplace. Then we wait, hoping to be in the right place at the right time to get a nibble from the buyer.

Step Three, Catching the Big One – If we have selected the right fishing area and used the right bait, then it should be only a matter of time before the fish bite. Even then, our work is not done.  We have to reel them in carefully, or they can get away. We don’t know whatis on the end of the line until we land it in the boat. It could be a huge flounder or a little shark stealing the bait. In New Jersey, to keep a flounder, the fish has to be over 18 inches.

Now think about new client acquisition. After we have developed a targeted message and sent out the communication, we sit and wait until we get a response, or a bite. Once we do, our work still is not over. We have to set nurturing activities in motion to reel them in. At first, we don’t know what the opportunity is. Is the lead a keeper or a time-stealer? We must further qualify it using our criteria before it can officially be labeled a Sales Qualified Lead, or “keeper.”


So I am a Fisherman!

The similarities between fishing and new client acquisition are interesting to think about. In fact, these basic processes can be used for many areas of business and everyday life. The best part of this aha! moment for me was that, for many years, I had trouble explaining to my young kids exactly what I did for a living. Then I thought about the similarities to fishing. I walked them through the fishing analogy, and they finally got it.  My ten year old said, “Now I understand, you fish for businesses; you are a business fisherman.” I can’t wait to explain this one at the next Parents Day at school.



Selling with Insights™

Richardson’s Selling with Insights™ is a customized sales training solution that teaches your sales reps advanced preparation techniques and dialogue skills to effectively present insights, create needs and shape the customer’s thinking, add more value, differentiate your solution, and build credibility as a trusted business partner. Richardson’s Selling with Insights™ program specifically targets modes of selling that we have identified in our work with top clients and industry experts, especially Create and Shape.  In these modes, reps share insights, but what they share and how they share it depends on the appropriate response to the buyer’s location in their process.  The goal in each mode is to increase your ability to influence decisions and win. To learn more, please click here.

About The Author: James A. Brodo

Jim Brodo is Senior Vice President of Marketing at Richardson. Jim brings over a decade experience to this position with Richardson, where he oversees all marketing and communications efforts for the organization including SEO, SEM, planning, public relations, advertising, lead nurturing, and brand strategy. Jim is currently focused on updating the corporate identity, especially through the use of organic SEO and SEM tactics. He spearheaded the implementation of professional social networking strategies, launch of the new website, updated messaging, and marketing materials. In addition, Jim is credited for creating a content marketing syndication strategy that focuses on adding value to clients and prospects. As the leader of the corporate marketing operations, Jim aims to strengthen Richardson’s brand as the top sales training company in the industry.

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2 Responses to “Why New Client Acquisition is a Lot like Flounder Fishing”

  1. September 27, 2013 at 3:03 pm, Wayne said:

    Just an FYI….Summer FLounder are called “Fluke” and they need to 17.5 inches.


  2. September 27, 2013 at 5:15 pm, Gerhard Vierthaler said:

    Great article James. Love the analogy! My newsletter drew similar parallels:


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