The other day Andy and I were coaching a pair of music school graduates who contacted us with questions on how to grow a business they recently started. It soon became clear that the biggest hurdles they are facing at this time are the lack of a concise message and sales experience.
Having a concise message is important for potential customers because it allows them to clearly and quickly understand what you provide and if they want it. A digital or print “fact sheet” that at least details value propositions, differentiators and pricing is a good start, and preparing an “elevator pitch” is a great way to be ready to speak passionately and succinctly about your venture. Brevity also illustrates that you’re empathetic to someone’s time. In a sales meeting, the other party is sharing their time with you so use it as effectively as you can.
Coming up with a concise message for the pair of musicians was easy and it didn’t take them long to cite reasons why their offerings were better for potential customers than those from their competitors. This team found the sales discussion to be more challenging, because neither of them had sales experience. In fact, they were disappointed and surprised they hadn’t learned any business basics after many years of music school—especially since musicians ARE the original gig economy!
We suggested a variety of sales strategies and tactics, and asked them to reflect on why they saw sales in a negative light. Based on their responses, we had them reconsider sales as a different way of teaching, so others can understand the value they’re providing and the price associated with it. They agreed that this approach matched their personalities so we hope this helps them in the future.
All artists know that the more one performs or creates, the better they become—and sales experience is no different. If you aren’t comfortable with selling, please comment below with what’s holding you back. For those with sales experience, what did you do to become comfortable with it?