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Timing Matters in Fishing and Business Development

By Joey Havens

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It’s finally spring and between my anticipation and the crappie’s early movement into shallower water—I may be on the edge of a fishing frenzy, one that reared its ugly head on my last fishing trip.

It actually started the day before as I had some early fishing success. As I arrived at the lake, a bass fisherman, who was coming out of the lake as I was putting in for an afternoon trip, mentioned he had caught two very large crappie in shallow on his bass baits. So I decided to fish the shallower water (my favorite) near some tree lines. After getting started, another angler came by and shared that he had caught eight crappie in the trees in about three feet of water. Great information that confirmed my strategy.

Now it was very windy and only a few boats had ventured out on the water, but I had protection from the tree line and an island that juts into the water where I was fishing. Due to being partially protected from the raging wind, I was able to present the baits close to the trees while fighting the waves. After catching 12 very nice crappie in shallow water around a specific group of trees—the frenzy was on and I stayed on the water to dark.

Despite a big drop in temperature, a drop in the barometer and a north wind (opposite direction from yesterday) that virtually negated any protection from the waves for fishing this small hot spot that I had located, I planned another trip to start at dawn.

As I arrived at the lake, only five others were frenzied enough to brave the weather. At this point, the water was white capping and doing so in the exact area I planned to fish. But I had my plan. I knew where they were and that my best chance for success was getting to those trees.

Freezing and soaking wet, I got my two jig poles ready but the wind kept pushing me off the trees and I was unable to put the baits in the right spots. And my trolling motor battery was weak and it went down. So I left my jig poles with baits hanging off the front of the boat so I could quickly start fishing once I swapped batteries. The boat and my two jig poles were quickly drifting away from my spot with a full 20 mph north wind pushing me. It was ugly. After getting the battery loose, I looked up to see one jig pole hang a near-by tree and watched as it was pulled over board and left floating in the water.  Almost simultaneously the second jig pole hung up on something beneath the surface and snapped my line as the boat continued to build speed away from the trees. Yes, I had a mess on my hands. 

I quickly cranked my motor and after getting my equipment back in the boat, I tied the boat to a tree while I hooked up my spare battery.  Then I re-rigged both poles for fishing. So now, I have been on the water an hour, I’m freezing cold, and I have not fished five minutes. 

Not to be deterred, I trolled back towards the trees that were holding crappie the day before, white capping waves and water splashing in my face all the way.  As I sat on the front of the boat and held my jig poles, the waves were just too rough and I could not hold them in a steady position. Although I knew the crappie were still probably holding in the area, it was simply not the right time—the conditions were too rough to catch fish today.

As I loaded my boat and began the drive home, I realized how often we have the same frenzy in business development where we rush in with solutions rather than waiting for the right timing. 

Just because a prospect or client needs our services, it takes preparation and timing to make it a successful win. Consider some of our business development signals that might indicate a fishing frenzy rather than a strategy.

  1. We have some success with one client or prospect, so we immediately believe the message or service is just right for all of the others. In a frenzy we meet with as many prospects as possible, confident from our recent win, but not qualifying anyone. (My quick plan to fish again the next day.) Is this the right service, solution or message for them?  Does it match their immediate pain/need?
  2. We push for a meeting or call before we check or understand what the decision makers have on their plate. They might very well need additional services, but is it the right timing or does the prospect or client have some urgent matters that have priority right now? (My ignoring the drastic weather change.)
  3. We are so excited to pitch a business development opportunity that we do not make sure we are relevant in how we approach the prospect or client. (My leaving the jig poles hanging out of the boat.) So even with the right opportunities, we must be strategic enough to take the time to prepare to be relevant in the encounter with our client or prospect. 
  4. We get so energized and excited that sometimes we show up with the wrong team or alone. (My weak trolling motor.) Involving team members always leads to better business development results. From planning to inclusion in the meeting, more team member input is better than the lone ranger. Who needs to be involved in planning and presenting this opportunity?

I love the urgency for business development and growth. Let’s use that energy to qualify, prepare, collaborate and execute on our business development opportunities in a way that captures the power of our team and the power of being relevant. Hope you have a great fishing season.