Spear Fishing and the Art of Selling

I read a great quote recently from a CIO who wants to work with VARs (salespeople) who are ”spear fishing” when contacting him. It struck me that this was the perfect metaphor for selling today… sales expertise is like being an adept spear fisherman!

Now, I should say that I know nothing about spear fishing.  Whatever I do know about it (not much), I learned by watching Ozzie on the TV show “Survivor.” But, I really like the imagery.  See what you think…

Today’s salesperson must be focused in finding his “prey.”  He may only have enough air in his lungs (don’t waste time) to be able to navigate (be efficient) directly to the location (be specific) in which he will fish.   When he finds the fish he wants (know which buyer or buying group to focus on) he must use or throw his spear precisely (prepare) and be sure his one attempt (you won’t likely get another chance) is a bullseye (close the deal).   Lastly, leave enough breath to be able to bring the fish back to the surface (after all that effort, be sure to bring in a deal that will be acceptable to your company).

Then repeat the process.

Today’s buyers don’t want salespeople who are “fishing” for a deal. They want to work with salespeople who understand them and their company, and can offer solutions that they know will meet their needs when they are contacted.  Use your “spear” prudently, thoughtfully, and decisively and the buyer will want your solution.

We know that today’s “informed buyer” has investigated what he is seeking before a salesperson contacts him.  The one he wants to talk to, is the one who has the answers to his specific use case needs and can deliver the crafted solution.  In an “ocean of choices,” the buyer wants to work with a salesperson who uses the limited access provided to him, to offer something he knows will work .

A good spear fisherman will not flail around looking for something to catch. He will muster his resources and be prepared to strike, when the fish he wants is sighted.

The challenge for today’s sales leaders is preparing their sales teams to be effective with buyers like this CIO.   The successful sales leader is developing salespeople and preparing his company to be the best spear fishermen.  The top sales leaders design processes for making the spear fishing more productive.  They finely craft those processes, they train their sales people in the art of spear fishing, and assess the results of each “dive” made. They ensure that the processes are repeated continuously and then, make incremental improvements.

How are your spear fishing leadership skills?

About Marty Levy

Marty is a veteran Silicon Valley sales executive. With more than 20 years of experience in sales and sales leadership roles in the semiconductor, PC, software, and enterprise cloud application arenas, Marty is recognized for his thought leadership in sales strategy development and sales performance management in the technology industry. His expertise is with hybrid sales teams and channel development. As a Vice President of Sales he has led teams through an IPO, implemented a successful divisional turn-around, and established global major account relationships. He has managed global sales teams in two public companies and created and managed go-to-market strategies leading to adoption of a variety of leading edge technologies. Marty has deep knowledge of the OEM and enterprise B2B sales process for vertical markets and applications. Marty's passion for the sales profession is demonstrated in his work as Chairman of the Sales Leadership Council within ExecWorld, where he also serves as a Board member.
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One Response to Spear Fishing and the Art of Selling

  1. Ron Snyder says:

    Marty,
    I like your analogy.
    In order to “spear” the right fish in the most efficient and effective manner, a sales person must have a good plan and execute it well. This provides insight into the type of fish to go after, how to spear them (close the deal) and bring them home and eat them (how to make them happy).
    These days the waters are murky and the fish get to chose where they go, so we need to be better fisherman than ever!

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