What this little bird can teach you about sales and marketing

Life Story

The orange flame bower bird has got its sales and marketing down to a fine tee (photo courtesy of BBC).

Grit, graft and gumption. Landing a client takes time. We’d love it to be a quick tick box exercise, something simple that gets us that new account. But it’s a process. And the more thought, focus and care you put into that process the better.

Where else to look for stellar sales and marketing services than to the world of nature?

Don’t worry, this tale doesn’t have the raw horror of a David Attenborough fly on the wall programme showing cavalier levels of violence as one seemingly cuddly creature bears its claws and fangs to get what it wants.

This is an elegant tale of courtship.

It’s as traditional as the way your granny sets out her good china, as well designed as an airplane wing and as romantic as the melting look your partner gives you across a crowded room.

Sale and marketing the natural way

It’s about a bird, the Bower bird specifically, and it turns out he’s got a lot to teach us about sales and marketing.

Our story starts with our hero, a male Bower bird.

Let’s call him Jack. (Jack Bower. Get it?).

Jack’s been flitting about, flying loose and swooping around but he’s decided it’s time to seal the deal with a special someone.

To do this he needs to show he’s on the market, that he means business and that he has skills to offer.

Now Jack could send out a tweet updating his status (you had to know this metaphor was going to come up) but he doesn’t do that.

What this little bundle of feathers does is nothing short of remarkable.

Cultivate your craft

Of the 20 known species of Bower birds, 17 of them build bowers – tunnel shaped nests – to attract a mate. These are structural phenomena.

Jack takes this task very seriously.

He spends an average of 6 years as an apprentice learning how to make his bower. He does this by watching other male bower birds build nests and by practicing building lots and lots of nests.

6 years!

That’s commitment to your craft and getting all of your ducks in a row, excuse the pun, before you set out your sales and marketing stall.

Pretty impressive.

This nest is no ordinary nest. It’s curated with colour and design and considerable thought. There also has to be a level of cunning involved because the female bower bird is very, very choosy.

Her assessment of the bower depends on whether she’s willing to believe the sales and marketing and buy the goods from Jack.

Jack’s design is very carefully laid out.

Pretty flower blossoms and colour are big, especially blue. Shiny things are also popular like glass, tinfoil and mirrors. There are also features that it’s safe to assume only birds will appreciate i.e. artfully arranged caterpillar faeces (a reminder that this article is a metaphor. No matter how stunningly arranged never ever take animal droppings along to a client meeting).

Throw in some bugs, twigs and fungi and it’s getting closer to a Damion Hurst Turner prize entry.

The effect that Jack is going for?

That a certain feathered lady will be entranced and delighted at such an impressive creation. That she’ll literally stop by at the nest, marvel at his engineering, architectural and creative skills and stand gazing on admiringly from the other end of the bower watching him tweet, squeak and dance.

I know, it’s not enough for Jack to build a stunning structure; he has to have a perfect party piece, too – suggesting that this spectacle now shows elements of The X Factor and is the ornithological version of Bird’s Got Talent.

If Jack’s sales and marketing talents win the day a new partnership is set up and 6 years learning and development pay off handsomely.

If not, new lady friends simply fly away and the prospective client is gone…

So, what can we learn from Jack?

Practice your pitch

Jack takes 6 years to hone his bower making skills. Your sales and marketing skills may not have been road tested and refined over this lengthy period but they should be impressive enough to communicate clearly to potential clients the value you bring, your commitment to their needs and the dedication you put into your work.

Are you presenting your skills through your public speaking? Is the content on your website engaging and captivating?

Pretty and polished

However and whatever you communicate whether it’s in a creative and practical blog you write, how you dress for a client meeting or how you present and package working documents and proposals, take pride in what you do.

The attention you pay to the little things and the big things will get noticed and can determine whether a client accepts a proposal and starts a working relationship with you or whether they look to your competitors.


You won’t win every new client and certain clients may take a long time to land: the timing isn’t quite right, and the budget might not be there. But every sales and marketing opportunity be it networking at an event or presenting at a conference, lets you showcase your skills and services in a way that offers real value to your clients.

Develop your resiliency and focus to make every opportunity matter and to make the most of every opportunity.

For some inspiration on how to add some sparkle and pizzazz to your sales and marketing look no further than this bower bird in action: Including some serious eye action, friendly head butting and a nifty little dance number.

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