Have you ever tried catching squid with your hands? I’m talking diving straight in to the sea and trying to snatch those slippery fellows out the water. Very difficult unless you’re Aquaman. Those squid would laugh at that weird hairless ape splashing around trying to snatch their tentacles and jet away into the sunset.
Now I don’t know much about catching squid, but I imagine their fishy cousins are quite similar.
As a teen, I used to do a bit of fishing down near the river by my house. Nothing fancy, I only had a cheap pole and some maggots. Some of my friends had real nice gear, thousands of pounds worth, with all sorts of gadgets and gizmos.
Anyway, it never occurred to us to jump right in the river to catch a fish, very impractical.
What we had to do was play the game. As much as we wanted to magic the fish out the river, we needed to go through the old song and dance of baiting them into our nets. Fish are rude like that, they just won’t do what we tell them.
So, to get the fish where we wanted them to be, we had to answer the question on every fish’s mind. ‘What’s in it for me?’
That’s where your trusty bait comes in.
You see, fish love nothing more than a tasty, protein packed and wriggling treat like a maggot. They cannot resist such an appetising dish.
Then when they chomp that little sucker, you hook them in and bobs your uncle. (I wish fishing was this easy.)
If you were selling sweet and juicy plums from door to door, how would you do it?
Barge your way into your prospects house and launch into a selling tirade?
Offer them a free sample and say you’ll come back later for a review?
It is the equivalent of trying to catch a squid with your hands going for the hard sell immediately. You’ll be met with much resistance and door slamming.
However, if you have a little piece of free bait to entice them in, it’s a whole new story. It makes the process a lot smoother and the prospect can’t say no to a freebie.
The online equivalent is usually offering a free e-book or report. Something of value to your prospects. If you’re an Email Copywriter, it could be ’10 Ways To Improve Your Response Via Email’. Or if you’re a Personal Trainer, give a free basic routine. Just ask for their email in return to stay in contact.
Then when they are firmly on your hook, you can unleash your mystical persuasion skills and secure the sale of your main product or service. It works with Squid, Fish and Humans. Amazing.
I know the fish on a hook metaphor is cliched as hell, but it perfectly shows the ham-fisted attempts of people trying to sell their stuff, blurting out a sales pitch like they have Tourette’s. Instead you need to hook them in with some great value which they can’t say no to.