Autumn in Louisiana is an interesting time. Ask anyone around here and you’ll likely hear things like “football, gumbo, deer hunting, and Satsumas” to describe what’s good about the Fall season. Never heard of a Satsuma? It’s a small, loose-skinned orange type of fruit, similar to a tangerine or mandarin- grown in parts of China, Spain, and Japan. In the US, it grows almost exclusively in the southern part of Louisiana. It’s very sweet, easy to peel, and fairly plentiful. The fruit grows on small trees that can extend to about 20 feet in height, but are often much shorter, making the fruit easy to pick.
A few weeks back, I asked my nephew if I could stop by and pick a bag of Satsumas from the trees that lined his driveway. He obliged, so I scheduled to be there the next day and to bring my teenaged son with me. When we arrived the following morning, we noticed the distinct mark of illicit carnage! Even I, a relative, was kind enough to ask my nephew for permission to harvest, but it appeared that any number of fruit beasts of the southern wild had already descended upon the citrus bounty! (Ok, I get carried way. Let’s just say the joint was picked over by fruit thieves.)
It was funny looking. The trees sported a distinct horizontal line halfway up- with a dark, leafy green underside and brightly dotted orange tops. The thieves had taken the easy spoils and left the top for more honest folk like me.
So what the heck does that have to do with sales and marketing? Just this: as we pulled out our ladder and began to pick our fruit from the highest perch, it occurred to me why salespeople refer to an easy sale as “low hanging fruit.” Not that I never got the analogy before, but this was a real life example. The easy picking was done first- quickly, efficiently, even in the dark. It was almost like stealing. I wished I had been there for that part of the harvest- but I was too late.
But with a little hard work I was able to get more than my share of fruit; big, deliciously sweet Satsumas- untouched and natural- from the crowns of the trees. My tall, lanky teen gently picked each orange sphere from atop a ladder and tossed them down to me as I filled shopping bags. We had a good system. These jewels were the prime stock of the harvest and well worth the effort. All I needed was a little time, a helper, and a ladder.
Do you know where your “low-hanging fruit” is? When will you grab it? And what about the big, juicy but hard to reach fruit? All you need is time, the right tools, and maybe a little help.
Let me know. I’m ripe for the picking.