We wanted to see whales. More than that, we wanted the whales to come close to us and check us out.OzWhaleWatching

It was an extremely chilly morning.  Clear skies.  Barely 6 degrees out on the wharf at Darling Harbour in Sydney.  Waiting for the whale watching boat to pick us up.

We’d be going out of the harbour into open waters for about 4 hours and hopefully see some whales up close and personal while they migrate up the coast.

What followed was a great set of lessons in marketing

Enter “Biggles” and Travis.  Guide and Skipper respectively.  Both masters at their craft.

Biggles has been involved in whale volunteering/spotting for most of his life.  His father and grandfather were both involved in the whaling industry which incidentally only stopped in Sydney in 1982!

Lesson 1: Go where your prospects are.

All too often we see businesses wasting time networking or advertising in places where there’s no likelihood of meeting qualified prospects.

These guys knew where the whales were likely to be.  Took the boat there.  Told us what to look out for and how to spot them in the distance.  Educated us constantly as to whale habits, movements and a host of other interesting stuff.

Lesson 2: Understand your market

Biggles is all about “respect” for whales.  We’d be in their world and we needed to treat them with respect to build up trust so they wouldn’t flee in the other direction.

A whale’s world is mainly sound.  Sound travels extremely well in water so whales hear engine noise from miles away.  It’s critical not to frighten them and let them get used to us.

In human terms, understand your prospects’ issues, wants, needs and desires.  By educating them through your marketing material (white papers, articles, newsletters, case studies etc.), get them curious as to how you can help and seek you out.

Be too loud and over the top and you’re likely to repel them.  Be respectful.  Educate them as to who you are and why you could help.

Lesson 3: Slow and steady wins the race

One of Biggles’ favourite phrases is “less is more”.  No racing around changing speed and direction which would spook them, driving them away.  Slow and steady wins the attraction race.

People buy when they’re ready.  Your job is to be there when that occurs.

Which is why you must have a never-ending communication platform.  Realise that at any one time only a very small percentage of people will read anything you send.  Each time you send something, chances are another percentage will read it and so on.

Every one of our “Whale – high value” clients have come to us from this newsletter list which we’ve published for years.  Drip, drip, drip.

Lesson 4: There is always competition

Success breeds copycats.  We’d been out there for a while when other boats showed up.  Some churned the water significantly while they roared up.

To a whale this was the equivalent of a haranguing salesman, right in your face, coming on far too strong.  And ironically this pushed the whales closer to us as they were used to our engine’s steady beat and felt safer next to the boat!

No matter what your business, you will have competition.  Your job is to make your prospects feel you’re a safe pair of hands, trusting you to provide a great solution.

Ironically, the more value you give away while educating your prospects, the greater the likelihood it is they’ll choose to buy from you while being repelled from the competition.

Now it’s only fair we give Oz Whale Watching a plug.  Biggles really knew his stuff.  His constant commentary, not just about whales, but the history of the harbour and surrounds lifted the whole experience.  And Skipper Travis knew exactly how to position the boat for best effect while not spooking the whales.

It was the combination which made the day successful.

Today’s marketers need to understand both how to deal with humans as well as how to effectively leverage technology to best effect.  Something we excel at.  So if you’d like to improve your conversion rate and attract more high quality prospects, give us a hoy.

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