I once heard a great story about a little commercial fisherman who fishes off a well-known peninsula in New York. This man has become legendary in fishing circles and I even heard it rumored that he was the guy who captured the Great White shark that inspired the movie Jaws. Every morning, Captain Jack heads out bright and early to go fishing. But that’s pretty much where the similarity between him and every other commercial fisherman ends. Instead of hiring a big crew to help get his catch, Captain Jack has one lone deck hand.
And they don’t use nets to catch their fish. Call him old school, but he still prefers to use just fishing poles and lines.
But here’s the thing.
Every day for the past 20 years, without exception, Captain Jack catches not hundreds of fish, but thousands of fish. In fact, he out fishes every single commercial fishing operation in the area, usually by multiple times.
It doesn’t matter what the tides are doing, what time of year it is, or even if the fish are “running.” Captain Jack seems to have the “Midas touch.”
Over the years, he has been interviewed multiple times. Each time, the journalist tries to pry out of him the secret to his success. And every time, this is what he says (what’s most interesting is that it applies just as much to marketing as it does to fishing):
“I make it my business to know everything I can about my fish. I think like the fish, not the fisherman.”
That one little statement right there is the single biggest reason why his methods work while most methods fail.
It was made by an entrepreneur (it could have also been written by a marketer), who is thinking like his prospects, not like other entrepreneurs.
There is no one who knows more about fish in those waters than Captain Jack. For the last 20 years he’s documented the water currents, studied the fish migratory patterns, examined water temperature and, of course, knows his fish food sources.
A fisherman knows it’s all about putting the right bait on a hook to catch the right fish. If you’re looking to catch Cod and you bait your line with an old sock, you’re going to be very hungry come dinner time. On the other hand, if you use Peeler crab at a time when the Cod are looking for it, your chances of success multiply exponentially.
So why then do so many people make the mistake in their marketing of offering the wrong bait to their market? They offer things they themselves think their prospects should be interested in – but don’t actually know for sure what their prospects are looking for.
You are never your prospect. Even if you think you are. Assumptions are the most dangerous (and most expensive) things to make in marketing.
To catch a prospect, you have to think, act and talk like a prospect. Not like a marketer.
When I create advertising campaigns for my private clients, at least half of my time is spent studying the target market. I don’t even dare pick up a pen until I have a very firm grasp of whom I’m writing for and how they think. Copy is written very differently for business owners than for employees. You speak to a 30 year-old man very differently than you’d speak to a 40 year-old man; married women very differently than single women. Moms very differently from “empty nesters." Knowing and understanding these nuances makes all the difference to your marketing - it's the only way to attract more clients.
Think like the fish, not the fisherman and you'll experience your own Client Stampede!