Palatka, Fla. is known as the “bass capital of the world.” The St. Johns River and many tributaries abound. I live about 30 miles from Palatka and have gone fishing there many times.

When I was just a teenager, I learned a very valuable lesson about bass fishing: You can’t catch them if the lure isn’t in the water. Sounds silly, doesn’t it? Of course; it is.

However, how many producers hope they can get new clients without getting the lure in the water, so to speak. Prospecting is like fishing in many ways. Sometimes you just put an artificial lure or worm on the hook and let it sit on the bottom or just wiggle it occasionally. Every now and then a bass will swim by and take the bait. Fish generally don’t take the bait unless they are hungry. That’s why we lure as many as possible so that we find a hungry one.

When you are fishing for prospects, you are looking for one who might be looking for you. It takes patience, casting (activity) and persistence to catch a bass. Some lures won’t work where I’m fishing and I need to change lures to find what works. When I find a lure that works at a particular fishing spot, I just keep using the same lure.

When you prospect, find a lure that works and don’t change the lure until it stops working. Then, either change the lure and be patient again or move to another spot. If the fish have moved on, move on to find them.

Changes in the weather and seasons definitely affect fishing. It’s also true of prospecting. Pay attention to seasonal changes and how people react to them, as well as holidays and vacation travel.

A good bass fisherman will have an electric trolling motor to ease slowly and quietly around the water and find where fish are hiding. Gently and methodically, he will move and cast, move and cast.

One of my young friends would change lures every few minutes, not because the fish might like a different lure, but because he liked a different one. Some company would come out with a fancy new lure and he had to have it. That makes a tackle box pretty, but it doesn’t necessarily catch fish.

Watch out for always trying the next shining new idea. Like the fishing lure manufacturer, it makes them money, but it may not actually catch fish. Many of the fancy ideas that came from wholesalers are shiny but ineffective.

There’s nothing quite like shimming across a lake or river at the break of dawn when the water is like glass and the cool, peaceful morning air is fresh and exhilarating. It’s just good to drop a line in the water and relax while catching enough fish that day to fill a skillet.

Like fishing, prospecting requires patience, knowledge, perseverance, confidence and effort. When prospecting is done well, the rest of the process can go smoothly. The world of selling has changed significantly. We no longer sell hard, we prospect well, so that the selling is natural.

You don’t have to sell a bass on biting the lure, just find a hungry bass.

One last word on this subject: Sometimes you’ll be on a bed where an old lunker hangs out. It is very big, very old, very wise. Even when he’s hungry, he understands danger. That’s why he’s big — he’s old and very wise. The big ones require even more patience and persistence, but when you land one, he’s a trophy. When you fish long enough, wisely enough and with persistence, you can land trophies. The pros do it all the time.

Become a pro at fishing for prospects. Your wall will be covered with the fruits of your labor and you’ll really enjoy the experience.

For more from Kim Magdalein, see: