October is the most beautiful time in the northeast. It is when I am finally able to accept the fact the summer is over and start appreciating the first signs of autumn; its colors, its smells, and the crisp air. In order to indulge in everything that this short and exquisite season that mother nature offers, my eleven year old daughter and I packed our tent and Dutch oven and ventured out on a camping trip to the northwestern Catskills.

In today’s busy life packed with work, travel, soccer practices, ballet rehearsals, homework and everything else in between, one cries for the connection with nature. To simply disconnect with all of that and reconnect with family, friends, and self…to feel grounded. That’s what I had been craving and itching to get out and do.

The trip for me was also an opportunity for a reintroduction to the world of fly fishing, which had been long lost for over a decade (thanks to my little girl). There I was, setting myself up to completely unplug myself from it all. Or so I thought. I was wrong. The session turned out to be a complete inventory process about my workflow as a salesperson. And I loved it.

Stream 2


Pre-game strategy

Flyfishing is busy with a lot going on at the same time. It is such a misconception that it is a meditational, relaxing activity. Maybe for master anglers yes, but not for me at least, a forever novice. First, the planning begins well before you hit the river.

  • What is the stream water level based on the past week of precipitation?  
  • What is the wind like?  
  • Which kind of insects are flying around at different times of the day during this time of the year?  
  • What is the water temperature?  
  • What is the best choice of fly and line suitable for the situation?

Based on your basic research of the environment, you assess the needs of your prospects, trout in my case, and come up with your strategy. This may be the most important step of the whole excursion to the river.  And we have not even gotten our feet wet.

Once you hit the water, you don’t have a lot of time or headspace to doubt yourself as it gets quite busy quickly. You start off in testing the water by casting the line back and forth, releasing the line little by little, trying to feel your line’s tension through the rod in your hand with the weight of the wind, while learning about your environment and knowing where you stand. Do I have my line out too long? Is my line going to catch the tree branch behind me? Is my fly landing at the right spot and floating the right path? There is a lot more listening than talking. That is a very good thing.

Constant planning and execution

Then your deal stalls. Why aren't the fish biting nor even jumping? Nothing is happening, but I am doing everything right! Wait, am I? Maybe I have been approaching this the wrong way. Maybe I didn’t have the right solution. Then you begin a reassessment process bt analyzing the situation, strategy, and execution. While you are out in the river, your environment is changing by the minute. How do you adapt to the changes and regroup? Sometimes you realize it’s time to start all over. If I had not listened well enough to assess the needs and the environment correctly, the solution I proposed and the carefully planned steps would be useless. Time to question everything I’ve done to identify what went wrong. Maybe a wrong fly, a wrong weight of line, or even a wrong type of rod I brought. Or it may not be the right time all altogether.

Sales graphic


It is a journey of constant assessments, adjustments, adaptations, and learning until what you offer and the prospect’s needs are met at the right timing. Knowing when to stick to the plans or to adjust the course of action completely comes from the experience of trial and error with many casts. Accepting that there potentially isn’t a fit is just as important, but it should happen early and then move on. It is a humbling experience and I appreciate all of the learning I take from fishing.

Rewards & Retrospect, Repeat

Many fishermen choose to catch and release (sometimes by requirement) as they enjoy the fishing for sport and not for food. I understand that a sport fisherman is content with repeating the process of planning, execution, and many adjustments along the way, with the final reward of his hard work paying off. Success in sales is when you have helped a customer with a solution you provided. The walk home and the ritual of carefully examining and putting away the gear readying it for the next trip is an opportunity to reflect and celebrate your experience, and to be excited for what’s next.

Flyfishing is just like the sales process. Who would have thought?

For more than 15 years, gap intelligence has served manufacturers and sellers by providing world-class services monitoring, reporting, and analyzing the 4Ps: prices, promotions, placements, and products. Email us at info@gapintelligence.com or call us at 619-574-1100 to learn more.