What a real fisherman taught a salesman
Some 20 plus years ago I was asked by an older friend to accompany him on a fishing trip to Canada. The trip was kind of a reunion of his friends after many years. This group originally would canoe and fish the boundary waters of Canada above Minnesota. The group being older now, the canoes were set aside, and we flew to a fishing lodge after a long drive to International Falls.
Personally, I am not a fisherman but went along as a favor to my friend not knowing that I would learn one of the best lessons of my life.
One sunny morning while I was walking to the lodge for breakfast one of the guys in the group, Jim, a plumber, was coming in from an early morning “fishing run”. I asked him as he was docking his boat, “Jim did you catch anything”? “No”, he said, “but that really isn’t important to me”. Um, I thought, what’s the point of fishing if you don’t catch anything. Jim went on to explain.
“Rich, I love everything about fishing. I love winding the lines on my reel, love baiting the hook, I love tying knots on my lures, love casting, I just love everything about just getting ready to fish.” Wow, I thought, all this love and no fish.” Off I went to breakfast.
Later during the day, I was contemplating my conversation with Jim and I was jealous for his enthusiasm for his fishing, without catching a fish. I began wondering about my sales job and questioning if the only thing I loved was getting the sale and not the process. Did I love; organizing my day, preparing my presentations, making my 10th follow-up call, like a cast into the water for the elusive fish? Did I embrace every step and the work that leads to a sale? I came to the conclusion that I wanted to like and love the process that leads to a sale, not just the “sale”. Jim’s attitude compelled me to re-evaluate my own purpose and drive for what I did. I wanted to be like Jim.
My encouragement to those who sell for a living is to learn to love the process. When that happens each step along the way can be enjoyed and the collection of small celebrations as you complete each step in the sales journey will add enrichment to your work life. The goal is to have a “fish in the frying pan” no doubt, but the sales activity takes on a new life when we learn to love the process.