5 Sales Lessons Learned from a Gold Panning Excursion by Jae-ann Rock

Posted on Jul 17, 2017 in Blog, Meeting/Event Planning, Training and HR

A few years ago, my family and I took a trip to the White Mountains of New Hampshire to do some gold panning for my birthday… We actually registered for a three-hour, organized class called “Prospecting for Gold.”

We left the house early and drove two hours to meet the prospecting instructor at a beautiful, crystal clear stream in the White Mountain National Forest. Spending the day in the river would be a welcome relief from the heat and we were excited to find gold!

As the class began, the seven participants listened as the instructor taught us about the history of gold panning, and several gold panning techniques, all designed to “pan out” the lighter sandy material leaving only the heaviest smaller particles in the bottom of the pan – including the garnet, iron ore dust and, hopefully, GOLD. To pan properly, you must hold the pan at a steep angle down in the water, letting the water wash out the lighter material – but not too steep, or you’ll lose all the gold, too!

I was intrigued…Who knew there was so much to learn about gold panning?

Eventually, we each found a location in the river to begin our individual panning efforts. As instructed, I dug in the compacted soil areas of the river and filled my pan with debris. I sat down on a rock and swished water around in my pan dozens of times to pan out the lighter material.

I repeated this again, and again, and again, AND AGAIN. I found plenty of garnet and iron ore dust, but, alas, no gold.

Finally, I asked the instructor to show me an example of exactly WHAT I was looking for, so I’d know it when I saw it. He pulled out a small glass vial from his pocket. In it were four small flecks of gold-colored material

“A day’s work!”, he proudly told me.

Well, that was a shocker!

I then strolled back up the river to where our friend, Harry, was working to improve his own panning technique. (Like me, Harry has been in the sales profession for more than 20 years…)

Harry saw me, sat up and put his pan on his lap, looking exhausted and a little defeated.

“Well Harry, I guess it’s a numbers game,” I said. “Just like in sales, you have to sift through enough grains of sand to find the gold nuggets… Makes prospecting for sales look easy, huh?”

Harry chuckled, “Well sales prospecting certainly yields a better result for your time than gold prospecting, that’s for sure.”

The class ended with instructions to check out a “big dig” operation going on downstream, where people used motorized equipment to move large amounts of sand and debris through a series of sifters to locate the gold. We went to see the operation – a highly sophisticated, mechanized gold panning setup, including a flotation device, a river vacuum, some kind of motorized-spinning-gold-pan-contraption that automatically catches gold flecks in a cup at the bottom.

Turns out, the instructor had found HIS four gold flecks using THAT kind of contraption. Hmmm…

The bottom line? Let’s just say that if you’re going gold panning in NH rivers, don’t expect to get rich from it! In the end, I had a fantastic day, but the biggest “gold nuggets” I discovered were reminders of some basic lessons in sales.

First and foremost, to be successful in sales prospecting (just like in gold prospecting), it’s still a number’s game. You must sift through ENOUGH suspects to find a few gold nuggets – the qualified prospects. But there’s more to it than that…

Don’t think you’re can manually build a list of 20 or so targeted contacts, market to them and find a “gold nugget.” Just like with gold panning, adding small numbers of prospects into your marketing process will yield small (or no) results. Think of the slow, ineffective process of pecking through LinkedIn as one form of prospecting. There, you may inefficiently look for the “right” contacts in a specific industry, researching certain titles, identifying a common connection who MAY be willing introduce you to them…

Come on. REALLY? How far do you think you’re going to get doing that?

Do you honestly think that’s going to result in many sales?

  • Little material sifted = little result. That’s no way to prospect if you want to strike it rich in sales.

Alternatively, consider moving a large number of decision-maker contacts (IN YOUR INDUSTRY) through your marketing/sales process. The more “material” you put into the top of the funnel (or marketing process), the more result it will yield. It’s as simple as that.

Marketing and selling to MTG’s database of decision-maker contacts eliminates all the hunting, pecking, and researching work to locate the people you NEED TO connect with. MTG’s team of experts has done all the hard work for you!

So, the question remains: Did I find any gold nuggets during my excursion? YES, I did, but not where I thought I would.

Five Lessons Learned from Gold Panning:

1.)    Don’t quit your day job for gold panning!

2.)    If you want to feel better about prospecting for sales leads, try panning for gold.

3.)    In sales (and gold panning), it’s still a number’s game! –

– You have to market and sell to enough qualified leads to find the gold nuggets 

– Using a larger list will always yield better results than using a smaller list.

– Don’t waste time pecking around to locate a small group of prospects.

– Find a resource that can provide you with a large list of the decision-makers you seek!

4.)    You get what you pay for!

Using an inexpensive gold pan will not likely yield good results. Investing in “heavier equipment” is required to more effectively pan for gold.

Similarly, buying an inexpensive list of contacts will yield poor results. Investing in a high-quality list in your target market will always yield better results.

To get the best ROI, work with a partner company that specializes in locating the decision-maker contacts you seek.

Mentor Tech Group specializes in Corporate Training & HR. Our market intelligence is 100% built from scratch using personal phone outreach, so we know it is the highest quality, most accurate list of market intelligence data you’ll find anywhere.

5.)    Your success is directly proportionate to your effort. You’ll get out of the process what you put into it.

Even if you’re using a qualified data source, sales opportunities don’t just jump into your pipeline. You still have to WORK the list. You must market to the list, call on the list, filter out the qualified buyers from the rest, identify who may have a clear and present need for your services NOW, and nurture the rest. It takes consistent, persistent EFFORT to yield optimal results.

The good news is this: If you are marketing to Corporate Training & HR, Mentor Tech Group has done all the hard work for you to LOCATE the decision-makers you’re looking for.

We compile and maintain a database of contact information for more than 40,000+ decision-makers responsible for Corporate Training & HR at the top 5500+ US companies. All you need to do is market to the list!

Ready to stop wasting time? Contact Mentor Tech Group today to learn more. Call 651-457-8600, Ext. 3.

YES! I am interested in receiving a no obligation quote of decision-maker contacts in my industry! 


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