Stop Wasting Your Time When Customers Won’t ‘Bite’

A few weeks ago I took my oldest son fishing for the first time, and we shared the lake with this young married couple.

They were doing the typical “fishing thing”:

You pick a spot, plop yourself down, spear a fat juicy worm on your hook, throw it out there and…

Wait.

Patiently.

And wait some more.

Trying not to nod off while you stare intently at your bobber.

Hoping that at some point, some stray fish will swim by, see your worm and decide he's so bored, why not take a nibble.

Well I say, nuts to that.

Patience is for suckers, and not the fish kind.

Here's why:

In a lake like this that covers 5 acres, there are probably tens of thousands of fish.

So if you're not at least getting some nibbles pretty quick, that usually means one two things:

1. There aren't any fish in the particular spot you've chosen, OR

2. The fish in that spot aren't all that hungry.

My approach is to keep moving until I find where the action is.

The first thing I do is put on a pair of sunglasses and circle the lake,
watching the water for any signs of activity.

Like fish “kissing” the surface.

Or dark shadows moving just beneath the reflections.

Don't see anything? Keep moving.

Fish tend to congregate in certain spots, like near logs, under trees, or in patches of sunlight where the water is warm and shallow.

When I see some signs of fishy life, I'll start tossing little scraps of bread into the water.

Fish lazily floating right past and ignoring the scraps?

Keep moving.

The other day I walked all the way around the lake, and I found that the fish were really only hungry and aggressively feeding in one spot.

Just about anywhere in the entire lake, I couldn't have sat there like a chump and waited and waited and not caught anything.

But in that ONE spot I could pull fish after fish out of the water all day long.

This works in marketing too.

You look for groups of prospective customers with similar needs and pain points.

Then you make small quick tests to gauge how “hungry” the market is.

Customers show ZERO interest?

Don't assume time, patience and “repeat exposure” will make your idea work.

I'm always running little experiments, and many of them don't pan out.

For example, I've probably tried at least 10-20 different experiments to get more traffic over the last 3 months, and only 2 of them really worked out.

So…

Save yourself a lot of unnecessary frustration and don't just blindly throw your line in the water.

Test and evaluate, because there's no shortage of fish—

You just have to figure out where they're biting.