Blog Archives

Lesson in Sales from Songwiters

I’ve been in Nashville since 1975 and I’ve grown to appreciate Songwriters. I’ve never worked in the music industry but I Songwriterslike a great tune and how it relates to how I sell.

Music fans are loyal and buy their favorite songs.  There are plenty of loyal fans of products and services that are unrelated to music and they also buy.

Most songs are somewhere in length between 2 ½ and 3 ½ minutes. That’s about the attention span of the listening audience. Sure there are a few “Stairway to Heaven” exceptions and some catchy short jingles but let’s stick to the norm.

Every song has a title, however writing titles would leave a person far short of being an accomplished songwriter. Many have tried their hand at songwriting but only a few make their mark of success in this town. One reason is you can’t short cut the practice, trials and errors involved in the development process. Most just don’t have the patience, drive, and discipline needed to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.

In the end it’s the hook, melody, originality, message or some combination of the before mentioned that draws in an audience.

In sales we are taught to get to the benefits and features. Have our elevator pitch well rehearsed. Be ready to present a solution for almost every objection we’ll hear. In sales just like in a song chances are our audience needs to be pulled in one word or line at a time and on the other end the spectrum chances are if they don’t like what they hear in verse one and two you’re not going to win them over in verse three and four. You have a window of opportunity to present a song and to make a sell. You rarely win a paying customer when you rush them and rarely win them if they don’t relate to the heart of your message.

As sales people we have to find our audience and like a songwriter when we get their time and attention  be prepared to share our best.


When you miss a sales ob portu

In the days before modern harbors, a ship had to wait for the flood tide before it could make it to port. The Latin term for this Ship at seasituation was ob portu, that is, a ship standing over off a port, waiting for the moment when it could ride the turn of the tide to harbor. The captain and the crew were ready and waiting for that one moment for they knew if they missed it, they would have to wait for another tide to come in.

In sales we are always looking for opportunities. When we miss an opportunity we often find ourselves waiting much longer for unlike the ocean tides, that next opportunity is not as easily timed or anticipated.

Worse yet many of the harbors we seek in sales only have room for one ship so if another crew gets in ahead of us our voyage must turn for another destination.

Would you have bought the Goggles?


I met a 75 year old man this week that by all standards has been successful in business and life. At age 55 he was downsized out of his corporate management position and twenty years later is still a sought after author, speaker, and consultant.

This man has been working hard for 68 years.  The story he shared was centered on at age 7 he was faced with the need to buy a pair of $3 white pants as part of being in a youth vocal group. $3 was well over the family budget and ranked far down the list from a roof over their head and food on the table.  Entrepreneurship was alive and well in the mid 1940’s for youngsters and on the trusted advice of a friend he sold newspapers for 5 cents to retain 2.5 cents for each paper sold.  

When you live in West Texas, as he did, you’re going to occasionally experience some dust storms. While most are short-lived dust storms on the order of 1/2 to 1 hour, larger scale wind systems can create dust storms that can last many hours or even days.  On one such occasion when the climate produced poor conditions for a couple of days due to dust the other paper boys sought shelter while this boy sought opportunity. The local hardware store carried a pair of air tight eye goggles and his purchase of these gave him a monopoly on the paper business for days. 

Today we face obstacles and challenges regardless of the industry or market we sell in.  The majority of salespeople will react similar when they are affected by the same type of adverse conditions, however some will be bold in their pursuit of opportunities.

Would you have sought shelter or would you have bought the goggles?