Selling To Small Business

Selling To Small Business - Strategies to help you sell to small business entrepreneurs

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Story of a Rock Star

Guest Contributor: Mark Nissley
Mark's Posts - Mark's Site

In a former life, I was in the music industry. I met the right star at the right time, and my entrepreneurial spirit did the rest. I was a part of an innovative group that developed new versions retro grass roots marketing and distribution. We dabbled in internet distribution before most people knew what the internet was. We had some star power behind us and we had a lot of fun!

To the public, the star is everything. In the industry, the star is simply the leading edge marketing tool. They are the story and the talent that leads consumers to products. Talent is important; the star has to have a great media presence, a great voice, inherent performance compulsions, and a moderate ability to think on their feet. Talent in one area is not hard to find. Talent in all areas is in abundance in every major city. But talent with a great story is rare. These are the stars. They sell products.

I was fortunate to work with one of the best star stories of the last decade. I first met this star before her 20th birthday. She lived in her van, and sang nights at a coffeehouses and bars. She was fortunate enough to get a spot in a San Diego club and was surrounded by some leading talent of the early nineties. She studied them and learned from them. There were more talented people around her, but she was the one to receive a big contract. She had one of the biggest debut albums of all time, with a number of subsequent albums.

There are many aspects to her story that can illustrate the points that I am getting to, but I'll just share one. I attribute a single reason this songwriter became a star. While all the very talented musicians around her spent their time between and after sets, hanging out back stage and drinking (among other things), the teenage girl did something different. She met her fans and really talked to them. She told her story at every show. She positioned herself at the exit and shook every patron's hand. She asked people if they liked her music. She asked people to come back and see her. One of those hands she shook was an executive from Atlantic Records. They came back to see her, and brought a contract.

This is my first contribution to this blog. They are a few analogies I will draw from this story over the next months. The basics are these: Every small business owner is a rock star. Every small owner has a story and some degree of talent. Every small business owner wants you to know their story, not just their "music". Later we'll talk about how every small business owner only wants to sing and tell their story, just like a rock star. If you are going to sell to a rock star, you must understand these things. Finally, we'll talk about how to take this and shape into a sales strategy. We'll talk about how to convince a rock star that you are the best agent. And if you are still reading, we'll talk about how to get a rock star to sell product.



Blogger Madalyn Sklar said...

Great post! I coach indie musicians and this is exactly what I tell them to do to stand out.

Kudos to you Mark!!

Madalyn Sklar & IndieMusicCoach

April 8, 2008 10:15 AM  
Anonymous Marie said...

Mark, you are right about having a story. And that's the hard part because most stories are just like everybody else's stories.

It's also tricky because, although the story needs a hook, a lot of times the product needs to be familiar (Starbucks). Or sometimes so different, handled in such a skilled way, that it instantly captures the imagination (Dippin' Dots).

And then sometimes it seems as though, if you're doing the right things, you just have to hang on until the world catches up with you again (Johnny Cash).

April 9, 2008 8:09 AM  

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