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.
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.
What Is A Brand?
If I were to ask you this question would you have an answer? If I asked you to describe your brand could you tell me? Do you even know why it is important?
Let me ask you a few questions:
- What are your “Core Values”?
- How do you support (pillars) your core values?
- What is your “promise” (mission statement) to your customers/audience?
- Where do you want to go? (aspirations)
- If you asked someone to articulate who you are what would they say? (Brand Characteristics)
- How do you work? Who to you work with? (Culture)
- Describe your professional “personality”.
- Can you identify where your best opportunities are? Can you describe your image?
Your music is a commodity.
To be successful in marketing yourself you must start think of what you do as being a “product” that is bought and sold. Yeah , Yeah….I know this sounds hardcore. It doesn’t have much to do with making music. Or does it?
Believe it or not, I still get uncomfortable when talking about my music and my career…even after all these years. I have found, through painful trial and error, that when I think of my music as if it were an inanimate object I am much more at ease and less self conscious. I remind myself that I am expressing my brand not myself. I can then focus on the other person and be confident. Never forget- it’s all about connecting with who you are talking to.
What does that mean to you?
Think of your music as your “brand”-
which is to say that “you” are different than your brand.
The questions above describe the basics of branding a company, product or individual so that the reader or potential buyer can determine quickly (10 sec. or less) if you have given them sufficient reason to engage them in what you are offering. Doing this effectively requires you to be able to articulate your message (promise or mission statement) succinctly without hesitation. Rehearse your elevator pitch! It will give you a big boost of confidence.
In recent times there has been much emphasis on “branding”. You might think “branding” is cool graphics, great trailer style music, attention grabbing etc. Ever ask yourself how they come up with that stuff? (a great video describing what a brand is).
That being said: branding is about creating a shared experience that denotes quality, service and value that the user carries with them. To express these ideas to a listener, reader or employer you must be clear about the meaning of the message you are delivering. Here is an analogy: to be a successful orchestrator one has to learn how to write in “in the language of the orchestra “. Getting to the heart of who you are, what you stand for will make your sales process more effective.
What does this have to do with making music?
The more you work, the more chance you have to make music.
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”.