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The Three Keys To Successful Selling
By Ricky Fitzpatrick - 12/11/2002 - 01:00 PM EST

Every salesman, from the green pea to the seasoned vet, knows that every successful sales transaction consists of three basic elements. Not to say that you can’t sell without them, and not to say that you will always sell if you use them. But statistically, if you incorporate these three elements, you have a much greater chance of sealing the deal.

What are these elements? Patience, grasshopper. I’m getting to it…

To preface our discussion, let me say this. Selling is, at its most basic form, providing a group or individual with a product or service that they feel they need, at a cost that is equal to or less than the value of the said product or service. Does that make sense? Seems to add up to me. In other words, give ‘em what they want at a price that they think is reasonable.

So having said that, let’s put it in more musical terms.

If you want to sell your act/music/song to a potential consumer/label/club owner/publisher/etc…, you must demonstrate the value of your product (your music) to that person. When the value exceeds the price of the product, they will buy.

So how do we solve the mysterious puzzle of value/price? Simple. By employing the Three Basic Elements of Selling. And here they are (finally, you say).


Let’s look at a typical car salesperson.

You walk into a dealership and say you want to look at trucks. “Great!”, yells the salesperson. And he spills his story about this and that and this and that. And you’re lost in a wave of information and statistics that really impresses you. But really, it doesn’t mean that much to you. You leave, truckless, after about an hour and the salesperson gripes because you didn’t buy. He put his heart and soul into his pitch, and you didn’t bite. What gives?

Now, flip to your friendly, local tavern.

Here you are, local guy/girl. Acoustic guitar in hand, a great set, nice voice. You’re thinking you’ve got the whole package. You’re expecting a roar from the crowd as you finish each song, CD sales out the wazoo and the club owner on his knees, begging you to come back next week. But it doesn’t happen.

What does happen is, you get a polite response from the preoccupied crowd, sell about 10 CD’s and the club owner stiffs you $40 bucks that he “forgot” to tell you about for the doorman.

What happened?

In both cases…nobody got SOLD.

But why?

Feature, function, benefit.

In order to sell the average Joe (or Joanne), you must:

PRESENT THE FEATURE. Or in other words, tell the guy what you’re selling. Well, this is a no-brainer, right? Let’s hope.

In the case of your music, let’s say you’re approaching a new club owner, trying to book a gig for next month. You don’t know him, he doesn’t know you. So you present a demo CD to him and give him a quick synopsis of what’s there and tell him the basics of your set.

Then PRESENT THE FUNCTION, or tell him what it does. This is also practically second nature, I would think.

Tell the club owner what your music or set usually does for the typical crowd. Or cite a few previous successes. You get the picture.

Then, lastly, and most importantly, PRESENT THE BENEFIT.

This is where most of us, and most salespeople fail. You can tell ‘em what you’ve got. You can tell ‘em what you’ve done. But until you show ‘em what it can do for them, they don’t care AT ALL. Remember this life changing acronym: WIIFM. What’s In It For Me. That’s what people want to know.

Don’t get me wrong, there are very nice folks out there and they would never consciously tell you that they couldn’t care less about your wants. But the truth is, we’re all subconsciously selfish. We want what we want…and you can have what’s left.

You must tell the club owner, in our case, what your music and typical crowd response can do to benefit him. And what is important to him? CD sales? No. Danceable music? Not really. Happy listeners? Nope. Great songs and well-crafted lyrics? Are you kidding?

The club owner wants to sell drinks, have a large door take, keep people there for hours and have them tell all of their friends to come back next weekend.

If you can convince him that you can help make those things happen, you’re booked.

Until next time…

Happy Trails,


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