Illustration-Chart-boardThe most frustrating aspect of writing a sales training column is not knowing whether my readers apply what I teach them and, thus, increase their sales.

I get some e-mails that tell me some of you are using my information to become a better salesperson, but I don’t receive enough to be sure I am helping a lot of you.

Here are a couple that made me feel that I really am helping people:

I had the pleasure of sitting in on your “Power Sales Techniques” seminar at the NAMM show. It brought back memories of the late-night sessions you conducted after our sales meetings at St. Louis Music. I learned more from you than I ever did from most of the daylong meetings we had back then. I think the world of you, Gene Fresco. It’s great to see you out there, still kicking butt and doing all you can to keep our industry and dealers afloat.

As a longtime browser of music stores, and as a student of sales and marketing, I can tell you that your words of wisdom should be required reading for anyone in the MI business. No other retail segment lacks basic sales like this one, and I’ve enjoyed reading your columns since they began. And, as you know, the wisdom you impart travels over any and all industries: Sales is sales, no matter the box.

Normally, in January, I write about planning the coming year and what you must do to have a successful year. However, as I mentioned, since I don’t know if you are using the information I write about selling, this discussion of planning could potentially be fruitless.

Those of you who are new readers of my column might not know about the basics of selling that I have written about in the past. Those of you who have read my columns for the past five years have the information that can increase your sales. But, for you folks in the latter group, I ask, have you applied the information? Please help me find out where you stand on this! Let me know whether you’ve learned these sales techniques, and whether you’ve used them. Have they increased your sales?

Do you know the eight “P”s of selling? Do you know the AIDA formula of a sales presentation? Do you know how to set goals and how to reach them? Do you know “closes,” including how many of them there are? In order to be maximally effective, I need to know what information you need about sales so that you can be more successful, and to make your job easier.

There are four kinds of salespeople: the Active/Positive, the Active/Negative, the Passive/Positive and the Passive/Negative. So, which one are you?

Which one do you think is the most successful?

I want 2014 to be your best year ever, and I will do anything in my power to make that happen.

So, again, I ask you to help me help you. Let me know what you want to know about selling that will make you a better salesperson.

We all must stop the race to the bottom. Don’t let your favorite close be that you have the lowest price. There was a time when music sales meant that customers wanted the finest instruments and the best service, but, somewhere along the line, this has been lost.

I am talking both to the “indies” and to the “big-box stores” when I say this. Musical instruments are a specialized product, and they require knowledge and expertise that deserve the price we charge for it.

Not long ago, I wrote a column called, “Don’t Settle For Half A Loaf.” Why are we all still settling for half a loaf?

Let’s all realize that, when we sell a musical instrument, we have to service it for a long, long time.

A musical instrument has a mystique about it. Why, you ask? Because thousands of musicians have made millions of dollars playing one. What is that worth?

Why is a Stradivarius violin worth a million dollars?

Why is Bob Dylan’s guitar worth $965,000?

Let’s bring back the worth of musical instruments and give them the mystique they deserve.

You all have to realize we are not selling vacuum cleaners. We are selling art, as well as the chance to make a million dollars in the music field.

Do you think you can have more respect for the products that you sell? Will you strive to be a better salesperson and to be able to make a customer see the possibilities in playing an instrument?

That is what I have been trying to tell you for the past five years, and it’s what I have been telling my dealers as a manufacturer’s rep and my retail customers when I was in retail.

Please e-mail me through Dan Ferrisi ( and let me know how you’ve used the sales techniques I’ve written about in my columns, as well as the results you’ve achieved. I will answer you directly or in my column.

I wish you all a happy and prosperous new year, and look forward to helping you in any way that I can this coming year.

I also want to wish all my colleagues at The Music & Sound Retailer a happy and prosperous new year.

And, of course, I wish you good selling.

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