YER PAL, SKIPP!

Making Wild Books, Movies, and Waves In the New Frontier


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THIS PROMOTIONAL LIFE (BECAUSE IF YOU DON’T SELL, YOU MAY NOT LIVE TO TELL)
johnskipp

Dear gang –

As some guy who thought being a pimp was cool once said, “It ain’t easy bein’ a pimp”. Poor ol’ Willy Loman had a similar predicament in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, currently raking it in on Broadway. Except, you know, without the ho’s.

My point being: sales is tough. It’s a dirty job for hungry people who haven’t figured out an easier way to live. But it’s also a series of techniques for survivors; and can, in fact, somehow weirdly become a noble occupation, even an art form. Depending on how you approach it. What you’re selling. How well you’re selling it. And why.

Now I’m not gonna pretend that I’m a world-class salesman. I am, at most, a passionate enthusiast who loves to share great things he loves with as many people as possible. Which is to say, people who might love it, too.

I make my job both easier and harder by only selling things I’m passionately excited about. Most sales people should be so lucky. And most of them aren’t.

But you can only sell what you can actually sell. And if people don’t buy it, you’re either a) not a very good salesperson, b) unclear about how to best sell it, or c) trying to sell something that people just aren’t all that interested in.

This is, of course, where sales and marketing teams come in: experts at targeting demographics, charting trends, crunching numbers, weighing risks, and making decisions based on probability charts.

There’s an art and science to all this, without a doubt. The science is in the market research. The art is in vision: how you see what you’re selling, who might like it, why, and how to successfully convey that vision to your hoped-for consumer/audience.

These are the tricks I am hoping to learn.

Minus the bullshit. Just as much as I can.

Because if there’s one thing we know about advertising, marketing, and so forth, it’s that it’s roughly one trillion percent bullshit. We are constantly wading through one false claim or hilariously grotesque overstatement after another, every time someone hypes us. Which is roughly every time we turn around.

This is where smart, thoughtful friends come in.

We all know the old saw about opinions and assholes. How everybody’s got one. And it’s true. You could go all hardass, like the classic Harlan Ellison quote, and say, “No, you have a right to an informed opinion,” thereby making all the stupid shit look as jarringly, painfully stupid as it actually is.

But also making a lot of things that aren’t stupid at all – but merely differences of perception and experience – get tarred with the same dismissive brush.

For me, a potentially more helpful truth is:

We like what we like, for whatever reasons: be it our DNA, upbringing, souls, past lives, God, the Devil, Cthulu, Nothingness, or whatever we think is happening.

We are who we are, and we like what we like, and we don’t what we don’t. It’s as simple and complicated as that. Attracted to some things. Repelled by others. It’s all extremely personal.

Speaking as a person who loves some things and doesn’t much care for others, I’m always gratified when someone steers something I’m liable to love straight down my alley. Hits my sweet spot. Says, “Oh, yeah, you are gonna love this.” And isn’t lying.

That, to me, is successful sales.

So let me say this, from one opinionated asshole with a soul to another:

The whole point of this blog – and of everything I’m doing, on my own and with all the wonderful people I work with – is to connect with all the rest of you guys and gals who might resonate with it, surf the same crazy waves we’re surfing.

The amazing thing about social networks – the whole reason Facebook has us call each other “Friends” – is because it’s really good to have friends. Both like-minded and otherwise.

A friend who both knows you and cares about you will know what you like, whether they like it or not. And if they see something that makes them go, “Oh, Joe or Lucy would love that!”, they send it off.

That’s sales, the old-fashioned new-fangled way.

Word of mouth, be it virtual or otherwise.

So that’s my meditation on the subject for tonight. Hope it wasn’t too esoteric. Believe me, more nuts and bolts than you might care to swallow, coming up!

Speaking of which, and in conclusion: It may be hard to be a pimp, but it’s way harder to be a ho.

That said, I believe it is possible to be both the seller and the sold, without falling into either of those previous categories.

This is the mission. This is the goal. And the incentive for every creative, hard-scrabbling Willy Loman among us not to kill his fucking self, while we’re at it.

Cuz that, as we all know, is an American tragedy big and sad enough to rattle the whole wide world.

Yer pal in the trenches,

Skipp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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