On a cold January morning in 2007, a hidden video camera captured thousands of commuters simply walking past violinist Joshua Bell as he played some of the most complex music ever written on an extremely valuable Stradivarius violin.
On a cold January morning in 2007, a hidden video camera captured thousands of commuters simply walking past violinist Joshua Bell as he played some of the most complex music ever written on an extremely valuable Stradivarius violin. Most didn’t seem to notice the difference between Bell’s virtuosity and the skill of an everyday subway musician.
Just days before, and then again after this experiment, Bell performed to sold-out theaters filled with ticket holders willing to pay top dollar and ready to deliver thunderous standing ovations.
In the context of the subway station, ordinary people did not recognize Bell’s genius.
We don’t live in a vacuum
Every idea we have, every song we hear, or every sales pitch we connect with is filtered through a number of elements, including our mood, the environment, and our unique understanding of the world and our place in it. All of these factors affect the value and importance we place on what we believe in, what we deem worthy of our time, and what we buy.
In the same vein, while sales people’s mastery, skill, or point of view may be important and well thought-out, the context in which their ideas, introductions, and pitches are delivered is equally – or sometimes more – important.
So let me ask you this: Are you ready to hone your virtuosity as a sales person and put it on display in the places where people willingly pay a premium to engage such work, or are you content to hang around in the subway hoping for the scraps of interested passersby?
Change your context, change your results
First, you need to reframe your own mindset about what it means to sell in the world today. Then, you need to alter the way prospects, customers, and competitors view your professional brand. To accomplish this, you need to think of yourself as a guide in the customer’s buying process rather than an information source, research data point, transaction catalyst, or whatever other trendy term people have assigned to the act of selling.
To change the context of selling, you can:
- Ask what you can give your clients instead of asking what they can give you
- Form and lead an industry group instead of mindlessly joining every one you find
- Make education-rich sales pitches to rooms packed with engaged potential clients instead of cold-calling prospects
- Get yourself invited to speak in front of audiences instead of simply attending events
- Earn the trust to be introduced to referral prospects instead of given leads
- Interview industry luminaries instead of simply downloading their podcasts
- Build a strategic-partner network instead of waiting around to be asked to partner
- Write for respected industry publications instead of just putting them in your RSS reader
When you reframe any relationship, you often change the way you are heard, received, and perceived. In sales, by reframing the selling process as a journey that you and the client are on together – and that you are guiding him through – you can become a valuable and necessary part of your client’s team.
To learn more, check out the Success Is Often Mostly About Context podcast.
This article originally appeared on www.inc.com/comcast.