Lessons Learned from Watching a Bald Eagle

Perched on a tree, the bald eagle was focused on her next meal. Yeah, she cast an occasional glance in my direction, making sure I wasn’t a threat, but most of her attention was on the fish in the lagoon. When the time was right, she’d swoop down and grab her prey. She rarely missed.

I’ve been watching this particular eagle for months. She’s one of a pair that hangs around the Verde River in Cottonwood, Arizona. She appears to be thriving, and I think I finally figured out why. It’s because she keeps life simple, focuses on what’s important, and disregards everything else.

“When walking, walk. When eating, eat.”
⦁    Zen Proverb

When the eagle needs food, she hunts. She’s laser focused on the hunt. She finds her prey, zeros in on it, and swoops. Dinner! Nothing distracts her. Sure, she’s aware of what’s going on around her, she’s alert for danger, but her eyes are on the target. She’s not sitting on the tree just to enjoy the scenery.

What would happen if those of us in sales acted like the eagle? How much more business would we write? How much more successful would we be? 


Think back to your activities over the past couple of weeks. What did you accomplish? Where did you spend your time? How much time did you really spend effectively prospecting? For the sake of clarity, let’s define effective prospecting as the actual time you spend on the phone, or in person reaching out to potential customers. Or in a meeting with a real prospect where you expected a Yes or No answer?


Be honest with yourself. You’ll probably be shocked at how little time you spend selling.

It’s hard to pin down exactly how salespeople spend their time. There are too many variables. However, here’s what some recent research shows:


⦁    The average salesperson spends about 15% of the day actually talking with customers. Some researchers claim it’s closer to 35%. Even the higher number, about one third of the time, is not good enough. What happens to the rest of the time? Aja Frost, in a recent blog  https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/sales-statistics  says it’s spent as follows:

⦁    21% of the time writing emails.

⦁    17% of the time entering data.

⦁    17% researching leads.

⦁    12% in internal meetings.

⦁    12% scheduling calls.

Look, we’re talking about somewhere between 6 and 12 hours a week at best actually selling. That’s not even making allowances for other interruptions, travel, breaks, holidays, etc., etc., … all the fire drills and crises that are part of a salesperson’s life.

“It is those who concentrate on but one thing at a time who advance in this world.”
⦁    Og Mandino

What can we learn from the bald eagle about sales? Indeed, what can we learn from her about success in general?

⦁    Focus on the task at hand.

⦁    Avoid distractions. Don’t try to multitask. It doesn’t work.
⦁    Recognize you become a better salesperson by practice. The more time

you spend with your customers and prospects, the better you become.

The other stuff, the time on social media, the getting ready to get ready, may make you feel like you’re doing something productive, but it’s an illusion. It’s mostly BS. Pick up the phone. Reach out and touch someone. So what if you stumble? Practice makes perfect.

By the way, in this last photo the eagle is looking at me as if to say,

 “don’t you have something to do besides interfering in my business? Don’t you have sales calls to make?”

I’m Oliver Connolly and I help sales leaders create a sales force that consistently makes quota. For a no pressure conversation about how I can help you, please contact me oliver@streetsmartsalesmanagement.com 

For more information: https://www.streetsmartsalesmanagement.com 

Oliver Connolly