Every hunter has their own method and way to go about tracking it's prey. Lions, Alligators, Hawks, and any other predator uses it's unique talents and abilities to seek out their next meal. Some lie in wait while others strike quickly. Patience and accuracy is a must or else you'll go without. It's not just exclusive to the animal kingdom either. Humans that hunt for their food also need to know the intricacies of their prey. Where do they gather? When do they feed? What time of day can they be most seen?
Regardless of the hunting style, it's universally known that a moving target is much harder to hit than one standing still. A second accepted truth about hunting is that not every attempt is successful. Even the most skilled sportsman can be out-maneuvered and out-witted by a perceptive and shifty herd. In the wild, predators or humans can't go too long without a successful hunt or else they'll starve. It's the same in the business world. We can only afford to miss so many targets before we start to experience the negative consequences.
So as business professionals how do we become better hunters? How do we track down our target audiences and shoot our marketing arrows with enough accuracy to hit as many targets as possible? Here's Five ways to be a better hunter:
1. Be Patient
How many National Geographic television programs have you watched that show a predator crouched down in the grass lying in wait for their prey to come closer? Deer hunters can sit up in their tree stands for days before setting their sights on even one passing Buck. In the business world hunting for clients takes time. Whether you sit in your hiding place with your wild animal call hoping the herd comes to you, or whether you arm yourself with a good compass and go chasing after them. Either way requires patience. There are multiple trails to take and many different calls to sound before you will run in to what you were chasing. Good hunters know to remain vigilant and patient.
2. Determine your target
Have you even narrowed down what you're trying to pursue? What exactly are you hunting for? You can't have a successful hunt without determining precisely what you're going after. If the target audience for your business is an age group of young teenagers then why would you market and advertise yourself in a golf course pro-shop? That's not where teenagers will be. They'll never get your message. You should be advertising in malls, movie theaters, ice cream shops, and other places where your teenage demographic spends their time. But if you're not even sure what you're hunting for then you'll never know how to capture your intended target.
3. Use the proper equipment
It's almost impossible to catch a fish without a pole, lure, bait, or a net. Sure it can be done, but the success rate is minimal at best and it would take way more time and effort than it's worth. Do you have the proper tools and hunting equipment? A rapidly growing number of individuals are exclusively using mobile technology. Have you tailored your business to match the shifting winds or commerce? Can you meet your audience where they're at which is mostly on-line? Are you using Smart Phones, Tablets, and E-business to your advantage? Are you one of the few hold outs that have refused to jump in to the social media pool? Well you better start swimming fast because the herd is leaving you behind. If you don't have the right equipment you risk coming back from your hunting trip empty handed.
4. Stay one step ahead of the Pack
Any good hunter knows the migrating patterns of their prey. They've spent years studying their habits and tendencies. They know when they'll be in certain areas and how long they'll be there. To ensure a successful hunt they'll arrive at their target's destination ahead of time, hunker down, and spring in to action when the herd appears. Do you stay one step ahead of your potential clients? Do you know when winter visitors come in to town? Are you aware of the spending habits of your audience? As business professionals we have to constantly stay one step ahead and anticipate our clients next move so we can be ready to capture their attention when they're in front of us.
5. Get that Moving Target to Stand Still
If a moving target is harder to hit then how do we get them to stay put long enough to deliver our message? The best way to get your potential business to stand still is to personally engage them. Animals run away when they hear a hunter because they know they're in danger. Does potential business run away from you because they don't want to be trapped in a conversation they know is going to lead to a sales pitch? Or do you carefully approach your audience with hand extended as if to let them know it's ok to approach you? Just like sitting out in the woods with a handful of acorns, a curious squirrel will eventually wander up to you. Getting to know your potential clients in a more engaging and personal way will help draw them in to you. Individuals are much more inclined to stay put and remain engaged in a conversation with you if they feel safe and comfortable.
6. Ensure the Hunt is Ethical
No one likes poachers! They leave a bad mark on those who play by the rules, get all the proper licenses and tags, and hunt in the correct, designated areas. If you've been in business long enough you've come across others who don't feel it's necessary to abide by the warning signs that are posted. The only thing we can do is report poachers to the proper authorities. However, we can do a great service to our individual industries by holding ourselves to a higher standard. We can uphold and recognize those who follow business guidelines set forth by the governing bodies. There is enough food to go around for everyone to have their fill. Nothing positive can come from unethical hunting practices.
Hunting in the business world takes, practice, skill, and determination. You won't always have a successful hunt. However, there will also be times when you run out of ammunition because the size of your haul was so plentiful. In either case, we should always strive to straighten our aim and sharpen our arrows to become the best business hunters we can be.