Have You Ever Herded Pigs? Or Cats? Or Chickens?

Jan 8th, 2009 | By | Category: Featured Articles, Marketing Professional Services

Yesterday in my post about What Do You Write Abut Part #2, I talked about a preacher by the name of Chuck Warnock at a small church in Chatham, Virginia., and his blog post “It’s Like Herding Pigs.”

In his post, Doug talks about a lady by the name of Mary Haugh who actually needed to herd pigs after her husband had suffered debilitating heart attacks and was no longer able to herd them into the barn.

Mary’s husband was a pig farmer, and like many other pig farmers, he used a “longboard” to squeeze the pigs in to the barn. Longboards were typically used by farmers in their neighborhood because pigs, being ornery and interested only in their self interests, didn’t react positively to things like cattle prods and other forms of aggressive manipulation.

But Mary wasn’t strong enough to manhandle the 30 foot board used to guide the pigs in.

Maybe because she was of the “fairer” sex, Mary had learned to be a bit more observant on the farm, and had noticed that the pigs had a different reaction when they walked past the red longboards. Mary thought about it and realized that maybe the pigs were having a reaction to the color, and if they were, she could put that reaction to a good use.

Here’s where it gets good. Mary got herself a bolt of lightweight, bright red fabric, and stretched across the pen where the pigs were. She then gently used the fabric to herd the pigs into the barn.

How does that relate to Rainmaking and Practice Building?

Have you ever run into a “high pressure” sales rep?

Well, the reaction most folks have to a high pressure sales rep is the same one the pigs have to a cattle prod. And, while it may get some movement out of the target, it ain’t the kind of movement that’s in the sales reps best interest.

Mary’s idea of gently directing the subject toward the goal is the aim of every successful Rainmaker. Through the use of gentle involvement, the successful Rainmaker motivates and guides the prospect toward the intended goal.

At any time, if the Rainmaker is not engaging the prospect with the signals that motivate and move the prospect toward the intended objective, the prospect, like the pig being herded with a bolt of lightweight fabric, can break loose and head in another direction.

If you are intent on successfully building your practice, you need to take advantage of the techniques used by all successful Rainmakers to attract and guide prospects, article, report and whitepaper writing, authoring books and getting published, giving seminars and workshops, as well as public speaking and teaching or coaching.

The more you help your prospect along the path, the easier it will be to guide them to the target.

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  1. Kirk:

    Having been raised in rural Illinois, I love your story.

    Ford Harding

  2. My cat has never much liked being herded.

    His cooperation spikes, however, when tuna or Chinese spareribs are involved.

    Results may vary.

  3. Ford,

    I had never heard of the longboard until I read that story. In my neighborhood we always yelled “Sooee!”


    When I serve tuna or spareribs here, results don’t vary. Cat gets tuna, I get spareribs.


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