In Norman Maclean’s, A River Runs Through It, he tells a story of two brothers growing up in rural Montana and fishing the Big Blackfoot River in Montana. The book is a lyrical and beautiful story, and I highly recommend the book over the movie. In one passage, the older brother, Norman, after watching his younger brother Paul catch an enormous fish while being swept into the rapids, remembers:
“However one closeup picture of him at the end of this day remains in my mind, as if fixed by some chemical bath. Usually, just after he finished fishing he had little to say unless he saw he could have fished better. Otherwise, he merely smiled. Now flies danced around his hatband. Large drops of water ran from under his has on to his face and then into his lips when he smiled.
At the end of this day, then, I remember him both as a distant abstraction in artistry and as a closeup in water and laughter.
My father always felt shy when compelled to praise one of his family, and his family always felt shy when he praised them. My father said, “You are a fine fisherman.”
My brother said, “I’m a pretty good with a rod, but I need three more years before I can think like a fish.”
How does this relate to sales and marketing? Simply, that if we want to be better marketers and sales people, we need to “think like a client.” Too often, for example, marketers think; how can I send more emails, rather than how can I provide content that is valuable to my clients? Or sales people think; how can I close this deal, rather than, is this the right product of service for my client?
How is your company** geared to think like a client? From your call answering message, to your website navigation, to your ease of doing business, if you want to catch (develop) clients, you need to think like a client. The first step is to look at your business and interactions as they would.
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Prairie Sky Group
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* Like fish portraints? Shop this guy: http://www.fishartist.net/fish-artist-gallery.htm
** Footnote: An old colleague, Dave Peterson, once told me he could tell the profitability of a set of manufacturing companies to +/- 1% within ten seconds of walking onto the manufacturing floor. He based his estimates on the neatness of the floor which gave him an estimate of the facilities process efficiency. I can now apply Stocking’s corollary to the Peterson Rule: The profitability of a company is directly proportional to the client experience.