giftIn all my travels as a rep, I can’t remember ever talking to a dealer about advertising. I can’t remember the last time I saw a television commercial for an independent music store, either.

You’ve got to let customers know you’re here and you want their business.

You have to allocate at least five percent of your gross sales to advertising.

Recently, I have seen music dealers that use the Internet with an e-mail campaign. That is not enough, however. You have to use other media to tell your story. That includes TV, newspapers, radio programs and mailers.

One music dealer sent me a video of his ad in movie theaters. You have to sit through these ads before the movie you came to see actually runs. It was a very good ad and it definitely was directed to the demographic he was trying to reach. You might check out what the cost is to use this type of media.

You might also check with the manufacturers with which you do business to see if they are willing to help financially with advertising their products.

I would have to say the weakest link in our sales endeavors is the lack of advertising.

When it comes to advertising in newspapers, I always recommend using a coupon. You can determine its effectiveness by how many coupons are actually redeemed.
My most effective advertising campaign was a mailer to churches that offered them a free inspection of their sound system, checking for power loss, speaker fatigue and defective wiring. I also included a contest to win a wireless microphone. I sold more than $85,000 as a result of this campaign, and I got many new customers from it.

Please make a plan to advertise every month and, I promise you, you will see an increase in your floor traffic and you’ll acquire many new customers.
Well, it’s August, the slowest month of the year for the music business. Maybe now is the time to plan for the upcoming best period for the music business: the last quarter of the year is when you can make the most money. We have all those wonderful buying months ahead of us. Now is the time to spend some money on advertising. In September, the kiddies go back to school. In October, November and December, we have Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas to look forward to.

It’s time to put on your thinking caps. How can you make these months pay off BIG?

Talk to your manufacturers and see if they have an endorser who will come to your store and perform.

Have several events at your store; these can include contests for best guitar player, best drummer and best band. Contact a professional photographer and see if he or she will take pictures of bands, so they can use them in their promo packages. (He or she can offer them a special on additional prints.)

Want more ideas? Here’s a bunch: best costume for Halloween; a free turkey in November with any purchase that exceeds $200; pre-wrapped small items for Christmas presents; a contest to win an acoustic guitar; a free amp with every guitar purchase; free cymbals with every drum set. See how many options there are?

Madison Ave. advertising agencies made a survey and determined the five words in advertising to which Americans most strongly respond. They are New, Free, Happy, Love and Guarantee. Use one or more of those words in your advertising.

I’m sure that, if you have a brainstorming session with your sales team, you can come up with many more ways to get customers in your store. Please don’t waste the last quarter of the year. It is your chance to make a real profit for all your hard work this past year.

And please be positive at all times. Negativity is the downfall of all ventures. You must want it…and you must make up your mind that you will succeed. Don’t worry about your competition down the street. There is plenty for all of you.

I had hundreds of competitors as a music rep. With a positive attitude, adequate planning and strong sales knowledge, I was able to get more than my share of business. You must be goal-oriented and not let anyone or anything stop you.

The good news is that you’re in the music business. There is no better business. We supply the world with instruments that make people happy. Just think about what our lives would be like without music. Music inspires people; it makes them happy and, sometimes, it makes them sad. It’s been around for eons, and we really don’t know where it came from. But we’re sure glad it’s here.

Love what you do and do it with love.

Go to work tomorrow knowing you provide a service that is worthwhile, and then give it your best. Make a friend of every customer. Deal with him or her honestly and make that person your customer for life.

Solve your customers’ problems. Sell them the right solution and you can look yourself in the mirror and say, “I did something worthwhile today.”

I wish you good selling.

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