So you may ask yourself what does selling and music have in common.. Perhaps more than you think.
We call it the music business, so it seems like we are either selling ourselves, our store, studio or something like a CD or DVD. Do you learn how to play music and then do all the business yourself. That depends what you are selling.
Do you have a business plan like all other businesses. As a musician it is a practice schedule and perhaps a plan on how to distribute your CD's or how to procure students. As a music store, it is an advertising plan along with a plan to contact schools. Your repair department might be part of your plan to get traffic to your brick and mortar store.
I don't know how it is in school these days but the idea of money, how to use your money wisely, how to create a business model, how to sell, or any other kind of business class was not offered in high school or college through the music department.
As a musician you have to sell yourself. Perhaps you need representation if you are a soloist, featured act or featured vocalist. Compare that with a side person that just has to belong to a group of people they work with on a regular basis.
You have to sell your playing when you do an audition. If you record you have to sell your recordings, or do you sell an electronic track, a CD, or a DVD or all of the above. If you are a composer you may have to sell yourself to a director or music supervisor. Think about how many instances where you are in a situation where presentation (another synonym for selling) is paramount in getting a job or keeping a job.
Did you spend many years kind of heartlessly practicing, without committing to being the best you could be? Then if you became serious about being in the music world in some capacity you had to sell yourself on committing to be all you could be. You had to sell yourself on and to yourself. You had to be the one responsible for your actions.
Through all the years of practicing and for the rest of your life in music sales, your mannerisms, and presentation to the rest of the world, become part of your selling ability. That is your ability to have a single person or a large group of people see or hear something your way. In addition those that represent you become part of your team and your persona..
At some level everyone else is likely to be a salesperson too.
You must understand there are salespeople whose only purpose in life is to make a sale. They don't care what they are selling and they don't care what the effect of the sale will have on you. They will say anything to make a sale and they are usually tricky about getting you to buy what they are selling. Especially if you don't know exactly what you want to buy. That is the difference in a honest sale, where each person comes out with something that makes them happy, and a "con job."
I have personally found that listening to people talk about their needs and desires is one of the best sales techniques to find out what a person wants to buy. A good sales person will do their best to fulfill their needs or point them to someone that can. Pointing them to someone more qualified to fulfill their needs is actually a wonderful sales technique that can give you many sales in the future. The buyer will appreciate your honesty. However this is only after you have done everything in your own power to satisfy their needs, as the buyer may be inclined to stay with the person your recommended and forget your benevolence..
We have all seen the person that talks too fast and puts out a barrage of information on why we should believe something. As Dan has reminded us, "Forcing or bullying a prospect will always generate resistance."
I think you understand the idea that much of what we say is selling, whether it be an idea, or a widget, I think you also understand that honesty with oneself and others is paramount in selling or presenting.
However, let me remind you of one thing. Everyone you come across does not deserve your truth. So keep your truth for the people that deserve it, and find a way to tell the others, that want you to say what they want to hear, in a way that doesn't offend them.
Most of us have fragile egos, so when selling to someone that has a different opinion than you, consider how you can make your point without bruising their ego. In some cases you may realize you can't change someone’s idea. That's acceptable too. You don't have to win every discussion or sell every widget in your bag.
What about selling a product to others. As far as selling product I once again suggest you purchase both of Daniel Jacobs books. I could never cover the subject in this format as well as he does in his books plus he knows a whole bunch more about it than me.
As far as selling yourself, your products and what you do for others, some of the things I find make a difference are: your appearance, your truth, your history, your speech, your experience, your plan, your intent, your presentation, and your follow up.
What I want everyone that reads this to know is it's all about you, and the things that an observant person can tell by being with you. We can only be who we are, but by the same token we can always work on improving ourselves through the lessons we learn in life.
Some wisdom does comes with age, if we pay attention, and work on not repeating our mistakes. .Much of what we believe is often not the truth .Becoming more truthful with ourselves, and others when possible, is the basis of wisdom. Along with this is knowing when not to speak and just listen.
The bottom line for me is that I must sell myself honestly to be happy. For me personally that means accepting that I can't be great at everything and to realize what I am good at and what I can improve. That means taking charge of my practice time, and in my case recordings and a little music contracting, as well as my teaching. What is your bottom line?
Perhaps someday we will discuss selling an instrument or that spare mouthpiece, or should I say your box of mouthpieces or whatever piece of musical equipment you are not using. I will say one thing about that now. The better quality of instrument you buy, the easier it is to sell. I can tell you the market for $100 flutes that don't play well, is not very good.
There are some people that will only buy the most expensive thing, others that will only by something on sale, and yet others that will always buy the best product for the money. It is a philosophy they have learned from their life. Quality counts to me whenever I can afford it. And quality is usually cheaper in the long run.
Until next time......