(by James White)
The ability to sell is one of the most important entrepreneurial skills. Every single aspect of running a business includes sales – whether you’re buying in or trying to get a potential client to buy in. The good news is that you can always learn new skills to better your sales strategy. Today’s inspiration? Taylor Swift.
While the American country pop singer and songwriter projects an image that isn’t necessarily all about making sales, her net worth of $200 million (according to Forbes) says otherwise. The following five tactics have helped her get there.
Be the One to Reach Out
Taylor Swift makes herself available to fans, and she’s always positive and upbeat about her interactions with them. In February, she reached out to a fan (on popular microblogging platform Tumblr) who was going through a bad breakup with poignant and thoughtful advice about how to pick herself back up and move on from her ex’s abuse. She even made her fan a “breakup/moving on” playlist. Later, during the Grammys, Swift went on to track down another fan, Jill Ralke, to have a conversation backstage.
These kinds of actions continue to posit Swift as more than just a pop star; fans see her as a kind and generous person, which means they’re more willing to invest in her brand. Similarly, by reaching out with an attitude of going the extra mile, you’ll be more likely to win over your prospects.
Swift’s avid use of social media as a tool to reach out is also emblematic of an important component of sales: social CRM. Maintaining positive relationships with customers through social networking and using social media to reach out to new prospects who are already discussing your brand are both tactics you should employ.
Know When to ‘Shake It Off’
Did you know that 80% of prospects will say yes after saying no four times? According to research, it pays to be persistent, but sometimes even the best salespeople aren’t going to get a solid yes right away. Take some inspiration from Swift’s hit single from her latest album, 1989, “Shake It Off”: never miss a beat; be lightning on your feet.
After hearing no repeatedly, it’s important to follow up – especially if the responses have been “not now” or “not yet.” Send an email or leave a message, or try to find your prospects on social media platforms like LinkedIn. If all the workarounds fail, then it really is time to “shake it off.” Send them one last note to let them know you won’t be contacting them again. But make sure each prospect knows how to contact you if they change their mind.
Don’t Give Away Your Product for Less than it’s Worth
Ms. Swift is a master of knowing her value. She and her independent record label, Big Machine, decided not to release 1989 on Spotify, the most popular music streaming service. Of course, she received major pushback from Spotify, whose spokespeople asserted, “Taylor Swift has nearly 2 million active followers…who will be disappointed by this decision.”
Surely there was some disappointment – but Swift’s album sold 1.2 million copies within its first week of release. According to Swift, Spotify doesn’t compensate artists adequately, and – as she wrote in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal – “Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for.”
Whatever you’re trying to sell – whether an idea, a product or a service – is rare and valuable, and it deserves to be paid for.
Stay True to Your Brand
Swift is unapologetically herself, awkward dancing and all. Her fans love her all the more for her imperfections – and for her convictions. In a recent Lucky Magazine issue, Swift’s comment “I don’t like showing my belly button” made it clear that her body is hers to display as she chooses. Her willingness to be transparent makes her more genuine, and the fans love it because they’re buying into a person – not a persona.
Update Your Style When Necessary
While it’s important to maintain certain aspects of your pitch process, sales also involve surprising your fans – as Swift did in her music video for the new hit “Blank Space.” In the video, she plays the part of a vengeful ex-lover, which is a decidedly different style than the fluffy white dresses from her teenage years.
As her music evolved from country love ballads to what it is now – sometimes emotional and sometimes sassy pop music – so did Swift’s aesthetic. It had to.
Style is a huge part of your sales branding, both online and in person. It’s important to place an intention into the image you want to convey to steer your audience toward the desired vision of your company’s brand.
Taylor Swift is not your typical salesperson, but her brand really works. Her passion, drive, and careful cultivation of a brand have placed her at the forefront of the music industry – and following her instincts can help your sales improve, too.