OTJWhen I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, the recruiter told me I could either go to a technical training school or get OJT. Not knowing what “OJT” was, I asked him, “What’s that?” He said, “On the job training. You will go to an assignment and they’ll teach you how to do your job.”

When you think about it, if you go to work in a music store or you’re a rep for a music manufacturer, you learn your job by OJT.

In a music store, someone will teach you how to use the cash register, how to fill out a sales slip, how to polish the instruments, how to display all the merchandise, what time to come to work, what time to go home and, one would hope, the best salesperson will teach you how to sell.

As a rep, you will probably travel with another rep and call on music stores, gain some product knowledge and learn how to sell.

Unfortunately, there is no college that teaches a course in how to sell music products.

The 2009 Census said that eight percent of the buying public plays a musical instrument and that, among them, 51 percent are female and 49 percent are male. I’ll bet you thought it was probably 30 percent female and 70 percent male.

It takes a brave person to open a music store with the knowledge that only eight percent of his or her town needs a music product. The good news is, they usually buy the instrument they need from a music store.

This is why you must have a teaching program as part of your merchandising plan. With a teaching program, you have the ability to create new customers and maybe increase that eight-percent statistic.

As most of you know, I started out in the music business as a music-student enroller. And—not to brag, it’s just a fact—I enrolled thousands of students in Reno, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

I’m not saying you need a music-student enroller to get you music students. I think that’s a lost tradition. But you must advertise and encourage learning music in every way you can.

As a manufacturer’s rep, I suggested that my dealers give six free lessons with every instrument purchase; they had excellent results in getting new paying students because the customers saw the results they were getting in learning an instrument and the fun and satisfaction they felt in being able to play.

Now, let’s talk about learning how to sell by on the job training. How’s that going for you?

I would like to hear from some of you about what you learned from the best salesperson in the store or the best rep for music product manufacturers.

Was it all product knowledge? I remember at NAMM shows, the knowledge taught was 100-percent product knowledge from the company engineers. After the meetings, the reps would come to my hotel room to gain sales knowledge.

Don’t get me wrong: product knowledge is important. But, it’s what I call “Nuts and Bolts” selling. Joe Sugarman, a great master salesman, said, “Don’t sell the drill, sell the hole.” It’s the “What’s In It For Me” (WIIFM) idea.

The customer is thinking, “If I buy this drill, will it make the holes I need to build my new deck, so I can sit on it with friends and drink margaritas?”

It’s the same with musical instruments. The customer doesn’t care a guitar has a locking nut or super hot pickups. The customer is thinking, “Will my friends think I’m talented and have more respect for me?”

I have written before about the WIIFM factor.

Every customer buys because of the WIIFM factor and, when you learn and understand that principle, you will be a better salesperson.

I hope that, during your on the job training, someone made you understand how important it is to know about the WIIFM factor, and how it’ll make your job easier and make you more successful.

Please learn everything you can about selling.

The more you know, the more successful you will be. Don’t be a “Nuts and Bolts” salesperson. Know that people buy emotionally and justify it logically later.

Well, the year is almost half over. How are you doing? Are you reaching the goals you’ve set?

Are you reading some books on selling?

Are you happy being a salesperson?

Are you happy to be in the music business?

Summer is almost here. People will be going on vacation and things might slow down a little. So, start thinking about how to keep people coming to your store. Have some events planned to give them a reason to come.

How about hot dogs and lemonade?

How about a battle of the bands?

How about a best guitar player contest?

How about a best drummer contest?

Put your thinking cap on. Have a meeting and brainstorm ways to keep people coming this summer.

Plan your work and work your plan.

Work smarter, not harder.

I wish you good selling.


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