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Friday, May 08, 2009

Music and Sales – The Vital Connection by Frank Furness

Having started my working career as a professional drummer, I have always felt that there was a strong connection between music and sales. My career in music has stood me in good stead in my sales and business career; here are some of the things I learned:

Back to Basics – When I was still at school I was already playing in a band and I decided that if I really wanted to be good I had to learn from the best. At that time the best drummer in South Africa was Tony Moore who was a legend. I approached him and asked what he would charge to give me lessons. He replied that he would do it for free on condition that for the I would practice the basic rudiments every day for one hour on a practice pad. There is nothing more boring than practicing those basic rudiments.

He also insisted that I learn to read music and practice with the metronome each day so that my timing would be perfect. I agreed to this and duly practiced every day. By the end of that year my technique and timing was fantastic and I could read any music put in front of me. Only at that time did he allow me back on the full drum kit and I couldn’t believe the improvement. I realise now how important it was to me in my musical career to get the basics right.

Lesson – In sales it is important to practice the basics until it becomes second nature. When I started out in sales I needed to cold call to set up appointments. I hated it but remembered the basics and each day I became better and more skilled until it was like brushing my teeth, if I didn’t do it daily I would feel bad. I did the same with asking for referrals, closing, networking and all the other skills needed to be a success in sales. If ever you feel sales are dropping, just get back to doing the basics and you will be amazed at the results.

Mentors – In every venture I have tried, I have always found the best experts and learned from them. Why try to reinvent the wheel. When I was getting started in my music career, I would go and watch all the top bands and meet with the drummers and drive them crazy with all my questions. Surprisingly, they were all very helpful and encouraging and interested in my success. Later I adopted the same attitude and started teaching a young 8 year old for free who went on to become a professional musician and dancer who now performs all over the world. I also taught a young guy called Adam Bloch who went on to become a multi talented musician and composer who has released two albums under the name of Adam Saul.

Lesson – Whatever business you are in, try to find the top people to learn from and then go on and help others become more successful.

Getting the feel – I was always an excellent technician on the drums and could read any music put in from of me. I remembered joining one of the top groups in South Africa and when we were rehearsing, the guitarist stopped and told me to forget the technical aspects and feel the music. That day I changed the way I played and I immersed myself in every tune, playing with passion and loving every minute.

Lesson – In every business venture I have applied the same principles and as well as becoming technically adept, learned to feel and love what I was doing and do it with passion.

Listening – In any group or orchestra you can have the top musicians in the world playing together, but unless they listen to each other and play as one unit all you will hear is a cacophony of noise. Listening, anticipating and working together created almost a telepathic connection in all the groups I played in and gave us all so much pleasure and enjoyment

Lesson – In business, we all have to listen and communicate to produce effective results. If we all go off on our own tangent, the business will never reach its full potential.

Watching the audience – I have seen so many bands go off on a tangent and do their own thing, leaving audiences bored. When I was playing, we were always audience focussed and would watch and feel the atmosphere and change the music according to what the audience wanted. This left our group in huge demand and we always got the top engagements.

Lesson – In business we have to be client focussed. We have to learn to read the verbal and non verbal signals of our customers and change the way we do business to suit the clients style. We have to sell to customers the way that they buy, not the way that we sell and we need to be prepared to change.

Frank Furness CSP CFP TOT is a professional speaker and trainer specialising in technology, sales and customer service. He has educated, entertained and inspired audiences in 48 countries.
Frank is the author of bestselling books ‘Walking with Tigers – Success Secrets of the World’s Top Business Leaders’ and ‘How to Find New Clients and Business’
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