In the past few weeks, I have interviewed candidates for an open position at my rep firm. Even after many years of hiring while working for others, I believe I am not a particularly good interviewer, at least in the traditional sense. This time, I Googled some standard questions, but inevitably got caught up in the moment and started telling stories about where we’ve been, and where we plan on going as a company. While speaking with one of my vendor cohorts recently, it came up in conversation that Reflex Marketing is more like a rock band than a “regular job.” Pondering this analogy, I think there’s something to it, making sense since we’re so deep into musical instruments, microphones, recording and live sound equipment, this all while having fun!
Practice Makes Perfect
It always makes sense to rehearse before taking a band out. It’s the same with a sales gig, you really need to be prepared, and practice before you ply your craft in front of an audience. It also speaks to the teamwork that exists by necessity in a small company such as ours, where we all wear different hats and help each other to the best of our ability. Being in a musical ensemble involves playing off each other, sometimes taking the lead and other times a supporting role. Members are equally important, as a sour note makes everyone look and sound bad. The same with being a good coworker, if you play your part well, what the audience experiences is that much better.
That Moment You Walk on Stage
I’ve always felt that making a sales presentation was like being on stage, whether in a corporate conference room or conducting a product demonstration. Be poised, professional, and as the expression goes “never let them see you sweat.” Perhaps you’re not feeling 100%, or you could have other things on your mind weighing you down, but the show must go on. Like many aspects of my professional life, it’s all about extracting order from chaos, as there is always more selling to do than hours in the day. Getting organized and writing a good set list is pretty much the same as streamlining your workday and doing things in an order that makes the most sense to your listener or customer.
Dealing with Personalities and Singing in Tune
The harmonies that are the hallmark of a great vocal performance are analogous to collaboration within a dynamic organization. There are lead roles and background parts, and now and then a good duo or tag team moment. One of my pet peeves as a musician is being in tune; the same applies at the company level. While it’s also understood that differing opinions and disagreements will occur, the outcome in both scenarios is best resolved with “vigorous debate” rather than infighting and ad hominem attacks. I’ve been through a few band blowups over the years, and in retrospect it would have been better to compromise, or at least find common ground in some of those situations that got a little heated.
Still Aspiring for the Big Time
I’m grateful for those joining me for this latest and most satisfying leg of my 42-year career in the trade. And while some people will move on and start their own band, or join someone else’s, I’ve always taken something away from the experience. When one door closes with an employee departure, another one opens for a new contender looking for a seat at the table and a place to “show their stuff.” So once again, let’s strike up the band!