Youve heard about the fellow who decided, after some heavy drinking, to go ice fishing. So he packed up all his equipment, his auger, catch covers, catch cover sleeves, scoop, rods, reels, lines, bait, bobbers, split shot, ice pick and propane heater, and off he staggered, down to the ice. He picked up his auger and was about to start cutting the hole, when a voice boomed down from above: There are no fish under the ice. He shook his head. Was he hearing things? Must have imagined it. So he started again, and again the voice rumbled, I said, There are no fish under the ice! The drunk looked up and asked nervously, Is that you, Lord? NO! the voice replied, This is the Ice Rink Manager!
Rika and I decided to take the scenic route back from Kelowna, BC, where I delivered a talk last week. On the way, we saw some people ice fishing in the middle of a lake. So we pottered across the lake and went to talk with them. This was the first time wed ever seen anybody ice fishing. The friendly fisher folk told us very interesting stories. The ice was twelve inches deep. Fascinating! Anyway, it reminded me of the joke, above.
In life and in business, I have found that we often waste time getting information from the wrong people or dealing with the wrong people. We tend, sometimes, to fish where there are no fish. Its like asking a bank manager about a business opportunity or a virgin about childbirth. With time so valuable, we should be very clear about how we spend it, and whom we spend it with. I talked with a chap recently who told me he attended ten business networking meetings and only met one good prospect. When he factored in the wasted time, gas, parking, membership fees, and so on, he felt he had wasted a lot of time and money, fishing where there were no fish.
Theres a simple rule of thumb to prevent disappointment: Do your due diligence and qualify people before you spend time on them. Check them out Google them do a Better Business Bureau check ask for references and testimonials call your friends and ask if they know them. Ask more questions. Be direct. Spend more time on the phone and e mail qualifying them before you give away information or go to a meeting with them. Ask them if they can make a buying decision and if they have the money and authority and when they intend buying or deciding. You will save time and money and catch good fish. Joint Venture with the right people.