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Yesterday we visited a local tavern for some meze (Cypriot style ‘tapas’) in the picturesque village of Vouni together with some friends.

The food was delicious and perhaps even more enjoyable was the DJ’s great taste and selection of classic Greek songs that masterfully clothed our relaxing Sunday lunch with mesmerising and uplifting melodies. After reaching out and getting the DJ’ s business card I realised that the interaction exemplified a topic of the recent episode of my podcast, Marvel Talks, where I had the pleasure of engaging with best-selling author, trainer, and speaker, Michael Virardi.

Episode 20, which aired yesterday, delved into many intriguing aspects of professional and organisational growth, with one particularly standout topic being Michael’s explanation of the contrasting mindsets of so-called ‘hunters’ and ‘fishermen’ in business and sales development.

Here are a few thoughts and additional reflections on this fascinating theme.

Hunter and Fisherman: A Push vs Pull Dynamic

These mindsets offer two unique paths to business growth.

  • Hunters actively seek out their targets, leading to a ‘push’ dynamic. This approach includes cold calling and sending unsolicited messages on LinkedIn, often meeting with initial resistance.

  • Fishermen, on the other hand, take a ‘pull’ strategy, patiently waiting for their catch. This involves publishing content, writing articles, and promoting one’s brand, drawing interest over time.

The practical implications of these strategies, especially in sales of products or services, can’t be overstated. The direct approach of hunters can sometimes backfire, scaring potential clients away.

Clearly in the case of the DJ, the ‘fisherman’ dynamic was at play as our interest for his services (and business card) was ‘pulled’ by the quality of his performance, without him having to sell (or ‘push’) his services to us.

Combining Strategies for Greater Success

My experience over the last twenty years has shown me the value of blending these strategies. While the direct, hunter approach has its place, it’s most effective when backed by the solid reputation building of the fisherman approach.

Here are a few practical examples of successfully combining the best elements of both worlds.

Practical Scenarios Illustrating the Hunter-Fisherman Interplay

  1. Conference Networking: After presenting at a conference (fisherman approach), you identify and directly approach potential clients interested in your topic (hunter approach), leveraging the initial reputation-building to facilitate immediate engagement.

  2. Content Marketing and Direct Outreach: Publishing insightful articles on industry trends (fisherman approach) attracts attention. Following up with readers who leave comments or share your content by offering personalized consultations or services exemplifies the hunter approach in action.

  3. Social Media Engagement and Follow-Up: Regularly posting helpful tips or insights on LinkedIn (fisherman approach) builds a following. Actively reaching out to those who interact with your posts for a one-on-one discussion or feedback session transitions smoothly into hunter mode.

Strategic Balance: The Ideal Approach

The key to business development is finding the right balance between these mindsets. Crafting and promoting a solid reputation while engaging directly with potential clients can lead to deeper insights into their needs and the nuances of the industry.

Your Experiences?

How have you balanced these approaches in your business? Have you found one to be more effective, or perhaps a combination of both?

Feel free to share your insights and join the conversation!


P.S.: Check out the full Episode 20 of Marvel Talks here. Subscribe to my YouTube channel for more insights and engaging discussions on professional success.

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