Go After the Big Fish- Three Sales Lessons From a Stingray Experience

Stingrays are generally docile and will swim close to divers and snorkelers. I experienced this just last week while on a much needed vacation in the Cayman Islands. I confess, I was really scared of them at first – especially the really big ones like the one below. But when I saw other people enjoying the experience, I overcame my fear. When one swam up to me I  held it in my arms, hoping it wouldn’t react to the pounding of my heart and my shaking hands.


I must admit the stingray gave me the creeps when its bulging eyes looked into mine. It felt a bit slimy and reminded me of raw calamari. But afterwards, I realized that it was an experience very few people would have in their lifetime. I shall treasure the memory, and maybe even boast about my bravery.

I promised myself not to think about business while away, yet I couldn’t help but think about the similarities in my stingray experience and success in sales.

1. Seeing many beautiful fish in their natural habitat while snorkeling was an amazing experience, but nothing was as scary and exciting as getting close to, and touching a
really big fish.

Small fish are nice, but you can’t be afraid to go after the big fish, nor can you succeed if you have the attitude that you can never get close to them. Dive in and go for those big accounts, believe you can get them and don’t let them see your hands shaking.

2. Every morning, the boat crews feed the fish near a sandbar in the ocean and handle them to make them comfortable and build trust. When the boats bring tourists seeking the “Stingray Experience” to that same sandbar the fish swim right up to them. Smart strategy.

Just as the boat crews have to feed the fish first to get them to come to the tourists when they get in the water, you, too, have to feed that big prospect to come to you. Here’s your strategy feed those big prospects with knowledge, expertise, and solutions. Then, you will build trust, gain their confidence, and be in the best position to win them over.

3. I asked the boat crew members many questions and learned as much as I could about stingrays and the waters before taking this adventure.

Learn about the big fish you want. Talk to as many people as you can to learn about your prospect’s company,  key people, and their decision-making process. Find out who their biggest competitor is. You can obtain this “intelligence” at trade shows, association events, your local Chamber of Commerce, and the Internet.

This was an adventure I will never forget. Think of your efforts to sell to a really big fish as an adventure. And have fun while doing it.

Happy Selling – Christine

About Christine Corelli

Christine Corelli is a motivational, keynote, business, leadership, sales, and customer service speaker, sales trainer, and author of six business books. As a keynote speaker, she is known for her high energy and interactive speaking style.


  1. As a result of this post, noted author, speaker and brilliant
    businessman Jason Jennings is following me on Twitter. I must say, I am HONORED.

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