You know what? I wasn’t going to write about this, but we’re nearing the end AND I mentioned that I play in a bar band, so … I’m going to share this because this is yet another piece of my personal experience that has helped to influence my way of thinking on all of this.
I am a semi-pro drummer. I played in school starting in 5th grade and played all through high school (concert band, marching band, jazz band) then in the Army, I played in bar bands in between deployments. Since then, I’ve played all through the Phoenix metro area with a few different bands, and although I don’t make a ton of money from it, I do not play for free, ha ha!
So anyways, to a non-musician, songs can seem pretty complicated. And you know what? A lot of music IS complicated, but when you think of the most catchy, radio-friendly pop-rock type songs? They’re usually very simple and follow a pretty distinct format:
- immediately recognizable intro
- verse 1
- chorus 1
- verse 2
- chorus 2
- bridge with a guitar solo
- possibly a 3rd verse, then last chorus (possibly repeated)
All in all, they clock in somewhere around 3- to 4-minutes or so, and typically, they fall relatively close in tempo ranges (BPM – Beats Per Minute). They’re simple, catchy, easy to understand, and once you know the formula as far as tuning, timing, and structure? They’re easy to replicate!
A four-piece band (like mine) is usually comprised of a:
- singer / guitar player
- lead guitar player
And they all need to be on the same sheet of music (both literally and figuratively speaking, in this case) on a few different levels. What I mean by this is that there are different:
- tunings that songs were recorded in
- structures (not everything follows that sample format from above – there is variance)
- tempos and time signatures
So, if one guitar is in one tuning and the other is in something different, something about the song will seem “off” to the audience members and it will detract from the experience.
If the song is originally recorded at 147 Beats Per Minute but the band rushes things and plays it at 172 BPMs, the singer will sound like the Chipmunks as he tries to keep up and cram all the lyrics into that reduced amount of space. He’ll be out of breath and singing in a higher-than-he-should-be-in key because when you rush words, the pitch of your voice raises, and then something sounds off to the audience members.
Some people like hearing a little bit of variance from the original recordings, but not by much.
When you think about it, if you’ve heard a popular song that you consider to be one of your favorites more than 100 times throughout your life, even as a non-musician, you still “know how it goes,” and when you hear something out of place or out of time, it just stands out (and usually in a bad way).
It detracts from the experience – especially if it’s a sloppy rendition that’s played in the wrong tuning – or if the lyrics are wrong, or it’s too fast or too slow.
And you know what’s crazy? Asides from musicians, no one really notices when a band just nails it and plays a song perfectly – but they sure notice when something goes wrong and is out of place! Remember from that neuroscience stuff from earlier – we’re much quicker to notice when something is wrong or out of place and it really comes down to our evolutionary hardwiring from living in fear for the majority of our human existence.
But anyways, here’s what happens when a band figures out all that structure and timing and framework for songs: they will consistently replicate the original recordings and provide the best experience at the bars they play at.
Here’s what they get in return:
- repeat business
- power to pick and choose where they play (or don’t play)
- respect from the bar owners
- loyal fans who make sure they never play to an empty place
Now, can you see how this concept applies to the experience your organization provides during the pre-sale relationship (and beyond)?
Organizations with different team members who do things in different ways, in this analogy, are like the sloppy bar bands where:
- half the band is one tuning, the other half is in the other – something sounds off
- the song starts out right, but the drummer has a little too much adrenaline and Red Bull pumping through his veins, so the song takes off like a rocketship and is going way too fast
- they get to the guitar solo part and the guy’s hitting all the wrong notes and you’re thinking: “I don’t even play guitar but I know that that’s not how it goes …”
- the singer is singing the last chorus and the other guys are backing him up for that big sound, but they’re all singing different words and everyone in the audience is confused
- all of this cacophony takes place during the first set, which causes the people in the bar to clear out
- second set starts at 10pm, but the bar is empty and the band is booked ‘til 1am – it’s gonna be a loooong night!
- The bar owner says “thanks, but no thanks” when the band leader tries to book there again
Organizations with different team members who do things in similar ways who follow a time-tested strategy, in this analogy, are like the tight, well-rehearsed bar bands where:
- everything sounds just right
- there are subtle variances from the original recordings, but for the most part, they’re 95% dead-on
- they have their transitions from song-to-song down and they’re keeping the audience moving!
- 2nd set kicks off at 10pm and this place is packed!
- the bar is making tons of money, the experience is optimal, and the bar owner can’t wait to get this band back in
- maybe they’ll even offer them a regular gig throughout the year?
Now, I speak from personal experience with all of this – I’ve been on both sides of this fence with bands AND with marketing and sales teams at different organizations.
I think that this all really comes down to that ever-present battle that we all face of trying to find the right balance of logic and emotion. Music has certain logical elements, like structure and timing and tuning, and when all the elements come together just right, it creates that certain “feel” that takes you back to that special place (or gets you amped up and ready to go).
But with playing music, just like in marketing and sales, if you focus too hard on the logical elements, it becomes very possible to lose that feel, and vice versa. Like, if you go on stage and wing it every time, then you’ll have some great moments, for sure, but they’ll be buried under the mess of an overall sloppy performance, which ultimately detracts from the experience your band provides. So yes, I think it is very possible to go too far in either direction when it comes to logic and emotion.
Consider how no one ever goes home after a concert thinking:
- “You know what? On the third song, the guitar player really nailed that solo!”
- Or how: “The transition from the end of the 11th song going right into the 12th song was out of this world!”
Same thing with your sales process – no potential client ever goes through all the steps and reflects back, thinking:
- “That was a well-executed marketing-to-sales handoff!”
- Or how: “That one thing he / she said during the 30th minute of the demo presentation really made a lot of sense!”
When you analyze the experience your organization provides, you’ll be able to identify the logical elements, get them all lined up just right with the right structure and sequence, refine the formula, and once you have it all down, you can then replicate that ideal, optimal experience that makes your clients feel right about doing business with you.