If you make music, you are a salesperson.
Oooo…that’s such a dirty word, isn’t it? It shouldn’t be.
If your goal is to exchange your product (album, concert) or service (recording, mixing) with someone else, you are in SALES. Even if you do it all for free, you’re still in sales. Why? Because there is always an exchange taking place, a sale that needs to be made.
There’s an exchange taking place right now, at this very moment. You are reading a message from me. You are exchanging your time for my message. You are GIVING me a minute of your time, and I’m GIVING you something to think about. That’s sales.
I’ve heard people complain that they can’t get anyone to take them up on an offer to record or mix their song for free. That’s because it’s not free. Nothing is free. If you offer to mix my song at no charge, that’s still going to cost me time (to get the tracks to you, go back and forth with revisions), and there’s a chance it will cost me some disappointment as well. What if I take you up on your offer and the mix sounds bad? That’s a bad transaction. Even though no money changed hands, a sale was made, and the customer wasn’t satisfied.
Any time you attempt to convince someone else to do something you want them to do (listen to your song, grab a cup of coffee, play guitar on your next session), you are engaging in sales.
The problem, of course, is most musicians don’t think this way. They think they can simply create music and the world will beat down their door to listen to it. They think if they create the perfect Facebook page for their studio, clients will be lined up down the street.
It doesn’t work that way. It takes more than that. Way more.
Here’s an example…
If you’re one of my subscribers, you discovered my content at some point. You listened to a podcast, watched a video, or read an article. The first time you heard from me, you probably thought, “Okay, cool,” and then moved on. Then I popped up again, so maybe you watched another video. After a few videos, you eventually subscribed to my channel. Once you decided you like what I have to say, that the videos I made were valuable for you, you saw that I was offering a “free” download in exchange for your email address. You probably balked at first, but eventually, you signed up. And now you’re reading this message.
I had to sell my butt off to get to this point. And none of that involved money changing hands. It took all that just to “make the sale” of convincing a reader to become a subscriber.
Maybe one day you’ll buy a course from me. But the only way that will happen is if I keep showing up and demonstrating my value and asking for the sale. Not just asking for you to buy my course, but asking for you to read this email, watch that video, or even share it with a friend.
It’s all SALES.
And it all begins with me creating something valuable for you. I give value to you FIRST. I don’t say to the fireplace, “Give me some heat, then I’ll throw on some logs.” It begins and ends with me. I must make the first move, and the second, and the ninety-eight.
That’s how you make a sale. That’s how you get them to listen to your music. That’s how you get them to like your Facebook page. That’s how you get them to buy what you’re selling.
You’ve gotta SELL it to them.
Sound like work? It is. But it’s work that’s worth doing. It’s necessary work if you want to continue making music.
Does that frighten and overwhelm you? I get it. Just a couple days ago I had a wave of fear around some sales-type stuff I needed to do. It’s part of the process. Knowing my purpose and my goals helps me move through the fear back into action.
Sales doesn’t come naturally. Neither does thinking like a business owner. But the reality is you need to treat your music like a business even if you have no goals to make money from it. If your goal is to have people listen to your music, you need some business and sales chops to make that happen.