Lessons from the Lodge. (Can you spot our tent?)
On an early morning game drive in the magnificent Marataba Game Reserve in South Africa I was reminded of some valuable lessons by our ranger.
Don’t take this too literally – but rather… as an analogy…
When you’re out tracking down your ideal clients… how well do you listen to your community, to the people around you that could give you all the clues as to where your target customers are, how to find them and how to engage with them?
On previous drives we had already had sightings of some amazing animals, including four of the “Big Five”; elephant, rhino, lion and cape buffalo. We headed off into the bush as the sun began to rise in search of the last of the big five… the leopard.
The ranger spotted tracks, they were leopard tracks (no pun intended). The excitement grew as we believed that today we were going to get to have an encounter with one of the regions most elusive and beautiful of beasts.
We could see the leopard had been feeding and had been past this way not long ago. The ranger could tell this not from the footprints, but from other tell tail signs he’d left behind – you could say, the ranger really knew his S***!
Then he did what we should all do more often in business. Rather than pursuing our targets at speed, rushing headlong into situations in the hope of that dream meeting. He stopped. He turned off the engine and he listened.
He listened into conversations that the animals and birds were having. He could tell from the alarm calls of impala, kudo, and wildebeest that we were getting close to where the Leopard was. Then came calls from the Hornbill hight in the trees that told us the leopard had come to rest in the shade.
Do you listen to what your business community are saying? Or do you go rushing in and risk scaring off your ideal clients?
Stop, look and listen to what’s going on around you.
In a game reserve of hundreds of thousands of acres, he was able to pin point the process location of the leopard, by listening and reading the signs.
We then spend over half an hour within 20 feet of a most beautiful leopard. We were in his space, in an open vehicle, with no gun… but thanks the experience of our ranger, we read the signs, we understood the terms of engagement. He also let us know when it was time to move on… A rewarding experience that will stay with me for ever.
Listen to your community. Listen to your customers. Understand their terms of engagement… and don’t outstay your welcome!