Ever give much thought to how you present yourself when you met someone? Do you stumble over words? Do you maintain eye contact? Does your body language indicate warm and inclusive or guarded and remote? Are the muscles in your face relaxed or tense? Do you ask questions and listen? Or, do you talk over the other person?
If you are in sales you have probably thought about these things. If not, it may have never given it much thought.
PRESENTING YOURSELF ONLINE.
Even though online interaction is primarily text driven, your choice of language, photos, which posts to comment on and which to avoid is essentially a reflection of who you are and defines your online presence. These interactions are how you will be judged and will determine whether or not the reader will choose to engage.
Successful social media interaction requires you to understand “why” you are posting/commenting/likeing etc prior to making the post. Once you click return you lose control of your message.
Best be focused if you want to get your message across.
How do you stand out? How do you become memorable?
Think about the waitress who has a spark in her eye…the one who goes out of her way to make you feel special, the one who you think is best at what she does. If a specific person comes to mind it means she has been successful in creating a connection with you. This connection will appear effortless and authentic. You understand who she is, her passion for what she does and the value she places on her relationship with you. Her “brand” has made an impression.
Branding is about how you are perceived and how other people feel when they recall the experience of their encounter with you or your product. Therefore it is the experience of the human connection that is important.
Today the consumer is in charge of the conversation…not the business. An online “conversation” can literally happen in a millisecond. We scan because our attention is our most valuable asset. We engage only if it is important enough to invest our time and attention.
GETTING YOUR MESSAGE ACROSS
Focus is everything. The reader must be able to determine who you are, what you offer, how you do it and whether or not they choose to participate in a matter of seconds. . Following basic branding principles helps you focus your presentation. It will help you discover what makes you unique by forcing you to think differently about how you present yourself.
Ask yourself these questions:
What are your core values? How do you support these values? What is your promise to your reader/client? Can you define the culture of your business? Describe your personality? What do you aspire to? Define how your characteristics makes you unique?
Asking yourself these questions (going through a branding process) will keep your messaging clear and concise.
You are not an inanimate object. You are a person. Branding is only a tool to help you express yourself. Make connections with people (through authentic, concise messaging) and your brand value will rise.
What is your strategy to succeed and do you have a social media strategy to help you advance your career as a composer? Ever thought about it in those terms?
Ever wondered why you aren’t getting traction?
Never forget: It’s all about relationships. Period.
It’s a given that competition is tough. There are certainly more applicants than jobs available. How can you create an edge?
Improve your interpersonal skills.
Rather than focus on “please give me a job” (as we all do from time to time) shift your thinking. Focus your energies creating connections–not jobs.
If you are like me, for the most part I feel most comfortable when I’m working, alone in my studio. As a result, it has taken great effort on my part to improve my interpersonal skills to where I can: walk up to anyone and start a conversation, ask questions, engage them in a conversation and walk away knowing more about them than they know about me. Sometimes things click, mostly not. At the very least if I meet someone and they walk away with a positive experience I feel that it was a successful encounter…giving myself the opportunity to potentially work with them in the future.
People like to work with people they know and feel comfortable with.
Sales is a numbers game. You are not going to work for everyone you meet. FYI Direct mail conversion rates are about 1-2%. Click through for online ads is about .10 of 1% (1 out of 1000). But, just like dating, the more you do it the more confidence you will have which increases your potential of success.
How can social media help you? You can virtually reach more people online than in person. Use comment threads, status updates, tweets to share your personal brand. Readers will develop an image of who you are, what you stand for if you are consistent about the way you share information online. And, of course, the music you make.
Who knows who you will meet? More importantly- you never know where seemingly chance encounters will lead.
Your manager? Your agent? Your publisher? Your friends? Sales happen organically…I’m a musician….not a salesperson.
Let me ask you a couple questions: Do you want to be paid for your services? Do you want to make a living by making music? Do you want to be respected for the work you do? Do you believe that you are worth the money you are asking for?
Like it or not if you want to make money at making music you will be much better off if you accept that you are running a business. And, like playing an instrument, the more you practice, the better you will become.
Here is a dirty little secret:
You have to value yourself before anyone will value you.
What is your elevator pitch?
One of the hardest thing for the creative individual to do is to succinctly describe and express who they are and what they want. If I were to ask you: “who are you? what do you want? “how can I help you?” can you answer in 25 words or less?
My attention is the most valuable resource I have. I don’t like to waste it. Neither does a potential boss. When you find yourself in a networking situation have your elevator pitch rehearsed and ready to go. It’s a sign of respect and competence. It will give you confidence too.
Much like a first date it will be apparent in a couple of minutes whether or not there is any possibility of a good fit. The thing to remember is that timing is everything. Nothing may happen at first…but- if you are successful at making a connection you leave the door open for something in the future. And, you never know, a chance encounter may be the beginning of a lifelong relationship. Be Prepared. Be respectful. Interpersonal skills are a must. I’m sure you know people who seem to effortlessly schmooze with anyone. Let me tell you- it is a skill that can be learned. I’ve found that listening, paying attention, being attentive are great skills to nurture. Remember: it’s not about you. It’s about the relationship.
“People work with people they know….who they feel they can have a relationship with.
There are the rare instances when someone will hire you because they “have” to have what you do….but that is the exception. And, even if they did hire you….they still have to get along with you.
How do I improve my networking skills?
Think of it this way- you would never dream of performing in public without practicing first? This holds true with networking too.
- Practice your elevator pitch.
- Ask questions….about them! Most everyone likes to talk about themselves.
- Pay attention- make eye contact, have a firm handsake. Pay them a compliment.
- Focus on how you can help them….not how they can help you.
- Be authentic.
…it’s all about making the connection.
How does this get me a job?
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. There a lot of people out there. If you stay within those people you know your opportunities will be limited. And, you just never know where potential opportunities will come from.
Besides- you may not want to work with just anybody.
A successful collaboration requires intimacy and trust. It is next to impossible to share those amazing moments of discovery and invention without it.
“I have the artist’s disease- I want everyone to love me.”
Truth be told I hear “no” more often than I hear “yes”. It took me a long time to realize that my self-worth didn’t depend on what others thought of me. This is so important let me say it again: my self-worth doesn’t depend on what others think.
This gave me the freedom to be myself and just go for it…and risk rejection. And, if someone says “no” then I just remind myself that “I must be talking to the wrong person”.