If you had to survive solely on the fish you catch, you would do everything possible to give yourself the best opportunity to not only catch fish, but also catch those that taste good and provide bountiful portions. You would check reports about what kinds of fish are biting and where they are. You would make sure you had the appropriate bait for both the fish and the conditions. If you didn't have the right kind, you would get it. You would also need to know if they could be caught from shore or if you had to use a boat. For best results, you would know all of this before ever dropping a line into the water. Of course, if you didn't have to survive on your results, you could pick up a pole and head off to the water whenever you wanted. It wouldn't matter if you caught anything, as long as you enjoyed yourself.

That, my friends is the difference between a business and a hobby. Those who are successful in business give themselves the greatest possible opportunity to attract not only clients but also the most profitable clients. Only those who want a hobby can be cavalier about how they fish and the results they get. Since this is about your livelihood, let's talk about fishing in order to put food on your table and a roof over your head.

The right location
Are you fishing in the right spots? Are the fish you want to catch actually there? Are there other spots -- better spots -- that have more of your targeted fish? If you are fishing for accountants, do you belong to the local accountant association? If not, check to see if they have associate memberships. If they do, join immediately and be sure to attend their meetings and functions. It only makes sense that, the more you are in the company of your target audience, the better your odds are for securing business.

Could you go to a general business gathering and meet an accountants? Certainly. However your odds of meeting several in a timely manner would be significantly reduced. To stick with the fishing metaphor, it would be like stopping at a local fishing hole and hoping for the best while your competition goes to the hole loaded with the fish you want. Fish where your targeted fish are!

The right bait
Just because you go to the right spot doesn't mean you're going to catch any fish ... or at least not the kind you want. You have to know what best attracts the fish. Is it live bait? If so, what kind? Is it a specific lure? If so, do you have it? How can you get it? How do you use it to your best advantage and greatest success?

The answers to these questions are exactly what you want to know about your target audience. What are their compelling needs, wants, and desires? How do they benefit from what you have to offer? Do they have a perceived need for it? What is it exactly that attracts them? Without these answers, you can be at the right spot and still not get any bites.

The right cast
The need for a proper cast seems to never get enough attention. Many people figure you just throw the line into the water and the fish grab on. Oh, if only it were that easy.

Depending on the fish, the water, and the conditions, you need to select how and where you are going to cast. It could be as easy as dropping the line over the side of a boat or as grueling as launching a large lure from the shoreline. All that maters is that you are using the proper method at any particular time.

The same holds true for marketing your products and services to your target audience. Which is the best method -- direct mail, radio, television, referrals, giving seminars, or other? Is there a more effective method than those you are currently using? Whatever it may be -- one or a combination of several -- how you get your message to your audience not only affects how many fish you catch but also your profitability. Determine the best casts for your purposes and work to consistently improve them.

Landing those you really want
You've taken the right steps and have hooked a fish, but there is a huge difference between getting one to bite and landing it. You need to know which techniques give you the best opportunity to secure it. It could be that you have to strip a little line and let him run in order to firmly set the hook. You might have to be a little assertive and use all you have to get him on board. You might need someone's assistance once the fish is close. At any time, the answer may change, so be ready with all that you have at your disposal. Nothing else matters unless you land the fish.

Make no mistake about this fact. Not every fish you catch is going to be worth keeping. Some you have to throw back, knowing that the experience of catching it was a lesson in fishing. The same is true for attracting clients. You sometimes get one that you are better off releasing. Don't keep it just because you caught it. It's not worth it.

Of course, every once in a while, you catch a fish that is even better than the one you went after. Just because it wasn't your target doesn't mean you can't keep it. After all, everyone knows that the best fish stories aren't about the ones that got away. They are about how you attracted and landed the best fish.

Remember, to land the fish that are going to consistently provide for you, first determine exactly what it is you are fishing for. Then, fish where the fish are biting. Use the appropriate bait. Cast your message in the fitting manner. Keep those that are profitable, and throw back those that are not.

Author's Bio: 

As a speaker, author and coach, Peter George helps self-employed professionals achieve the success they've been striving for. His highly-acclaimed More Clients More Profits Workbook includes contributions from van Misner, Bob Burg, Susan Roane, Scott Ginsberg & others. Want to start attracting more clients right away? Claim your free copy of "101 Ways to Attract More Clients" at =>