Sales: How to Bait a Hook

How to Win Friends & Influence People

In his book “How to Win Friends & Influence People,” Dale Carnegie uses the following anecdote:

“I often went fishing up in Maine during the summer. Personally I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I went fishing, I didn’t think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted. I didn’t bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or a grasshopper in front of the fish and said, ‘Would you like to have that?’”

Carnegie shares this anecdote in the chapter that discusses how to “arouse in other people an eager want.” This includes a want to do something, a want to buy something, etc.

In the health and fitness industry you are also tasked with this challenge — you need to arouse in other people an “eager want” to workout at your club, and buy a membership to do so.

How? According to Carnegie, “the only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.”

As you consult with prospects to your gym, keep this in mind. Be sure to get to the “why” a prospect is seeking a gym membership — why are they there? What are they hoping to achieve? Then, and only then, focus on how your gym can help them with that “why.”

This is a simple concept, but one worth mentioning in sales especially, where being able to work with and influence people in a positive way is a must.

Remember: Bait the hook with what the prospect wants, not what you want.

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