The Entrepreneur Podcast
The Entrepreneur Podcast

Episode · 2 years ago

30. The Art of Sales with Piano Matchmaker Erica Feidner

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Inc.com called her one of the “10 Greatest Salespeople of All Time.”

For 13 years, Erica Feidner was a sales representative (later elevated to Executive Sales Representative) at the prestigious high-end piano maker, Steinway & Sons., where she sold over $40 million worth of instruments.

Feidner’s fascinating journey has been spotlighted across print and visual media, featured in Forbes, Canadian Business, Smart Money, Men’s Health, A&E, The Food Channel, CNN, and The Hallmark Channel.

In this special episode, Eric Janssen speaks with Feidner about her long love affair with music and her approach to the art of sales.

You're listening to the Ivy Entrepreneur podcast from the Pierre L Morrisset Institute for Entrepreneurship at the Ivy Business School. In this series I be entrepreneur and Ivy Faculty member. Eric Jansson, will anchor the session. All Right, I'm here with Erica Finder. Erica, thank you so much for making the time happy to Eric. I'm just thrilled to have been asked to to chat with you, so thank you very much. Yeah, this is a topic that, the topic of sales is really interesting for a lot of the entrepreneurs that are listening in a lot of the entrepreneurs that we have on so it's nice to be able to go into a deep dive. And in doing some of my research you came up as ink magazine had listed you as one of the top ten sales people of all time. So I'd love to know in your own words, I'm not going to root it for my audience, in your own words, maybe you could tell us a little bit about yourself. Sure about myself? Well, I probably was as surprised and delighted as everybody else to see my name up there in such distinguished company. So, as far as myself I grew up in a family of seven pianists and we were all educators and performers and I decided to combine that with business. A while later I got my MBA, which actually was a very big challenge for me. That was one of my biggest challenge and challenges in my life. And then, you know, I sort of was leaning toward sales and just have been having a great time doing all of it. That's great. It's so you started your did you start your career in the music space or did you jump right out of your MBA in sales? Okay, I actually began teaching piano when I was nine years old. That was a great thing because it's it's actually one of the favorite thing, my favorite things to do to this day. So my family, we are all musicians and pianists, so that was part of daily life actually. So we were all playing, we were all teaching piano. I was teaching piano at the age of nine and so on, and so that was a big part of life, but it didn't seem different to me because that's all I knew. And we also, in the summers we had forty five children from around the world living with us to learn to play the piano. Yeah, in my childhood home. So you know, first off, you know where I was when I was five, I think it started, we started the business, but by the time I was nine or so I was a founding member, I was a faculty member, I was a teacher, I was a student, I was a friend, I was the arts and craft director, just many, many different positions, if you want to call it that, and all of those experiences, I think I really played a big part in who I am today. And it was it was just a wonderful, wonderful thing to be around people and around music, and I you know, because I was so focusing music for most of my life. In fact, when I was eleven I attended the Juilliard School of music, traveling five hours each way alone from Vermont where I was living. So it really certainly was a big, big part of my growing up. But I really felt that there was a gaping hole in my education and so therefore I sort of looked into the idea of an MBA and for sure that was the biggest challenge I've ever had in my entire life because it was very far and today, but at the same time I love to learn, and so it was. I think it was very, very helpful and you know, especially I went and got my Mba from myself because I wanted to be more rounded in my education and I was very happy that I did. So I think, you know, those different pockets of education and so on,...

I have brought me to where I am, which is, you know, there there are number of things that I still do. I'm still teaching and I'm in sales and I do speaking engagements and all of that. So, you know, for me it just feels like a natural evolution. Yeah, that's great. I sorry. In my reading I found out that your your parents are, at least your father was Dutch. Correct. Yes, my dad came to this country from Asterdam when he was nineteen years old with a dollar fifty in his pocket. Yes, yes, and eventually he was a professor of mathematics at Bennington College where he met my mom and you know, things went on from there. But European Flair, I think, was a good part of our lives as well, and you know I hate making generalizations, but you know, Dutch people tend to be known as very well educated and go getters and great with people and good negotiators and things like that and and perhaps you know it. Never really thought about it, but I really think that that was a part of my education as well. Yeah, it's interesting. So my I'm Dutch. My father was born in Holland. He came over when he was only a few months old. So we don't our yeah, our immediate family doesn't you know, we have some Dutch traditions. Were not but I don't feel like I inherited any of the definitely none of the language, but ole mess still, you know, tell stories about the way that things used to be, which he was growing up in Amsterdam. So we share that in common. Yeah, well, that's that's a big surprise. They had no idea. Yeah, so okay. So you your background was primarily in music. You layered on business. How did you find yourself in sales? I remember while I was getting my Mba, I was a full time channel teacher and I was making what I call all house calls and so on, and I love doing it. I just was really yearning to do something different. So I wound up selling my teaching practice, much like attorneys do or doctors do and so on. So I felt good about that and I was earning my MBA and of course you know pianos. I'm very comfortable about piano. So I remember being on vacation in Italy on the top of the mountain thinking, okay, where I have what's next in life, and I wrote down the name of some piano manufacturers and certainly Steymea was at the Stein Manson's was at the top of the list. So I had approached Steyn man sons and I was it was suggestive to me to get some experience first, and I completely understand that. It's just tough to get experienced when that's what you're trying to get in the first plice. Right. Yeah, there was a smaller organization with very high end pianos that I joined for about two years. Finished my MBA, chatted with steinway again and was put on the floor day one and just just felt great that everything was a match. Wow, so it just felt like when you got out to this was the store in New York, the floor in New York. Yeah, needsty my hall, formerly on West Kiltie Seventh Street. Yeah, must have felt like such a surreal opportunity. I've seen only pictures of the of the hall that it looks incredible it it is at stunning. The architects were the same architects that design Grand Central Station. And you know the the building was recently sold. It's a landmark building and I had to tell you it. It was very difficult to to believe that that wasn't going to be part of New York or the piano world or there's the world in general. It was. It was very, very difficult to to learn that they were going to sell the building, that it wouldn't be stane the hall any longer. But you know, having grown up with pianos, thirty pianos in my house growing up so that we could accommodate all the students practicing its AL in the summer.

So you know, there was this this beautiful show room, you know, with grandeur and and all of that, and I loved it. I was, you know, you used the word surreal, and I would say for sure it was that kind of a feeling, because it was really a dream come true and they were, at that time just five of us and I felt very honored to be one of them. Did you feel like that was potentially part of what helped? When you're sitting down with a client. was that the the atmosphere that the building itself created? was that part of the part of the sale as well? I would say absolutely. You know, the presentation of a high end at luxury good in general is normally presented in a beautiful environment and so on. So I think for sure. I mean there are paintings of composers and just a lot of music and history music in the in the building. So yes, I would say absolutely it was a big part of the presentation. On the other hand, there are so many people that would come in and say, you know, Gosh, I don't know whether I belong here and I've wanted to come in the door so many times and yet I was intimidated. So that was a big problem. That was a big problem. That's time we all so I would try, you know, as a person, when somebody came in, to greet them, you know, in a very sort of contemporary way and very excited and so on, so that we could break the ice, because the building is very intimidy and I would say it's beautiful, but you know, it was one of those things where he had to break the eyes a bit when somebody walked in the door. Right. So I had this. I think it's very common in sales, especially like new technology sales. Nowadays. People are if you come up with something new and exciting, it's actually not that difficult, if you're a decent writer or okay, on the phone, to get a meeting with somebody. But those people might not be serious. They're more interested in, you know, learning from you, picking your brain, spending time with you, even if they're never serious about ever really buying anything. So how did you think about you must have had a lot of window shoppers. You must have had a lot of people that came in that were just, you know, excited to see the space or wanted to come in and just take a peek. How did you figure out, or did you even care to figure out, who was serious and who is not? Absolutely so, like many sales organizations, we had a rotation system and so we also had a territory. So our territory was New York and Connecticut and New Jersey General Area, and so the receptions would need to sort of get an idea of where they lived and then you know which sales representative would be helping that person on the other end. If somebody just looking around and they were from out of town. It was still rotation, but it was in a different sense. So yes, absolutely, a lot of our time. It's, you know, a very, very good question that you have here. A lot of our time was invested in reading out of towners that were just there to look and I'll tell you for me it's it's the same thing, because if somebody is coming in to learn about steaming in general and pianos and so on, it's a huge opportunity to encourage them to kid continue to be interested in piano or music. There are some some people where I just took them aside and I have a patent on how to read music. In one lesson I would struggle how to read music and off they went. It was just, it was just it's always an opportunity. And yes, there are times when somebody came in and they said that they know I had no interest in the piano and that sort of thing. And did they go home with a beautiful instrument? Absolutely, and I think part of that is sort of for me, it was sort of finding a thread with the client in how to talk about piano and music in general, and then too, because again,...

...it's very intimiding to some people. Yes, for instance, it was a gentleman who's about to buy a seven foot Stein May and it was about eight thousand dollars and he said, look, aret, that I love this piano. I understand completely why I should choose it. Explained to me, you know, the craftsmanshipping and all that, and each piano is different. And he told me that this one is fiery and it's a very sort of French horn round sound and so on, and I understand that, Erica, but I'm embarrassed. I'm embarrassed to buy eight thousand or piano when I don't know everything about music and I don't play. We talked about his family and he had a daughter and I made sure to get her a piano teacher in her in their hometown. And with the gentleman, yeah, I showed him how to read music as well. And you know, it's one of those things we're doing, what I'm doing, can actually change people's lives and I know that sounds kind of lofty and all that, but really that's what we're doing. And you know, buying a piano isn't buying a piano. To me. The whole experience is like none other or it should be and you know it's bringing, you know, beauty and music into someone's life, and how wonderful is that? So that's a that's a great segue. So I was going to ask you what are people buying when they buy a piano? What like? What is it that they actually are buying? Well, certainly they're buying an instrument. I'm not sure whether you want me to focus on that or or. I mean for me, I don't even use that. I don't even think about the sale. I really think about saying a load of the customer and welcome, welcoming them into skyway hall or wherever, and actually just independent now. So I go to different show rooms and so on, but really making an experience for that person that is is going to be memorable, memorable and educational, and you know that it's. For me, it's really not about the sale at all. That's, I don't want to say it secondary, but that's kind of how it feels to me. And so I guess they when they come in with me, they get they get an experience and hopefully one that they will remember forever, whether they buy something are not, and if, even if they don't buy something, if you've planted that seed of joy of music with that person. They're going to tell their friends and their friends are going to come in and choose a piano. So I mean, no matter what you're doing, there's always some kind of connection or some benefit to everybody. Everybody wins when you take care of the customer. Everybody does, even the perspective customers, even the ones that never actually buy. Yeah, Oh, yes, yes, you know, those are the kind of people where you just know they're not going to buy a piano. They keep coming in from time to time to play the pianos. I don't think that person is annoying. I see that person is someone who loves music and gets no me and tells their friends who are also interested in music to come in into a piano. Yeah, that's interesting. So I noticed in the interviews that you've given you're very careful not to say that you're you're not in sales. You don't want to say that you're a salesperson. So why are you so careful to make that distinction between either matchmaker or guide versus salesperson? Right, great question, and I'll give you an example of where I'm coming from, and that is before going into selling Janos, if you want to call it that, or channel matchmaking, as I can't. Yeah, I was Margaret Pianist and I was a teacher, and my father, of course, was a math mathematician but also a pianist and a teacher. We all were. And I just remember telling him that, you know, I was so excited because I had been asked to join the team as Stein Manson's at the Mecca on West Fifty Nine Street, and he looked at me and, I hate to say, with it with a disappointed face, but that's what it was. And he said Anaka, you can be a salesperson. Really like it just it just got this idea that of course he wanted me to be a contract pianist and so on. And you know what was I doing? So I think that many people, my father included, that...

...was way way back in one thousand nine hundred and ninety two, something like that. But the the word sale or sales or sell, I've been known to say that it's a for letter word and I can tell you also that, just like the world in general, I'm I'm changing what I have to say about sales because I think people are ready for discussing and and sort of honoring the the business of sales in the profession itself. So for me, selling now my perspective is yeah, it you know, there's a transaction and we're going to use that word and so on, and I guess I would just say that, you know, selling is is honorable. I also think, you know, to get to the habit it when people are born, when they're little, when they when you want something, if you want that, can bar. So you can do everything you can to figure out how how have mom say. Yet we're selling ourselves all that. So, you know, in every respect, and I think that you know, a lot of people are like, I could never be a salesperson or or what have you, but I think everybody has the ability if they wanted to and if they need a little bit of help. Well, Hey, you know, I'm a teacher and it's teachable. So and you know, ps, it's fun. It's really it's really fun. You're around people all the time and you know, it's a great profession. Yeah, it's I feels like the tides are turning, or have been turning for some time. Certainly, you know, I teaching right now at the Ivy Business School were one of the leading institutions that are really considering, you know, investing heavily and educating our students in sales. So it's nice to see that it's starting to be taken away more seriously than it used to be. Oh absolutely, and and, like I said, it's being it's considered a very honorable profession these days and, you know, seeing these universities and so on, such as I be, it's terribly exciting to know that you're actually teaching sales because, you know, like I just mentioned, I do believe it's teachable. Yes, it would take somebody with expertise to teach it, but I think it's fantastic that there are organizations that are focusing directly on sales, because there are people like me who's experience, if only organic. I mean I didn't ever take a class on sales, even when I'm getting my MBA. Yes, there was marketing, but that was very, very different. So, you know, it's it's something that is a great profession and lots of fun and, as I mentioned, it's teachable and I'm just thrilled that sales in general and you know, leadership and onto preservenership are are all getting the attention that they deserve. And I mean that's one of the things that I'm moving into my own life is to speak with executives or at colleges and universities with classes, classrooms and so on, about sales and about, you know, how how to sell and someone and it's terribly fun. It's really just I mean it's very exciting. Yeah, people are keen to learn things that are actually going to help them right away, that they can turn around, you know, walk out of the class from start to use right away. So it's exciting for that. Yeah, it is. And, you know, I think also it's important that people know that, you know, what we're doing is we're not teaching tactics. Were really I anyway really believe that we should talk more about how the client thinks and, you know, from the customers perspective. And it sounds obvious. I know it sounds obvious, but it isn't. It's about the customer, less so about the product and less so about yourself, for the delivery is important, but, you know, really focusing on what the customer wants and needs and then off you go. So if you were to teach, if I don't know I'm sending send a student to meet with Ericafeidner and if she's interested in even selling pianos specifically, what would you what would you teach her? And I ask because when I look at like...

...all the different reasons why sales people are successful, I think a big piece of it is having conviction in what you're selling, you know, truly believing that it's helpful for the client or the prospect. There's a huge element of domain knowledge or expertise, which I think I know you you have probably more than a lot of other, you know, people that are selling pianos out there. So so how how would you go about teaching that? Or would you not teach that part? Would you teach something different entirely? Oh, no, ex no question it kind of it really does kind of depend on the audience, of course, but one of the things that is is terribly important. You know, you mentioned the conviction. Of course you have to have to have conviction and expertise. Now I'm always learning more about how a piano works and so on, when it's just a lifelong thing. But the I would say the most important thing is really underscoring the idea of integrity. I mean, without that you really have very little, but but with it you have, you know, you build up a great reputation and you know, from there it's like a platform, I think, if you really move forward with integrity at every touch point. That's something that, again, it's difficult to teach, I would say, but it is a very, very important element. So, as far as sales and that sort of thing, if it were an individual, of course I would go in one direction. But as a group, you know, I think probably the best way to go about it is to ask questions like what is it that you want to learn and what you know, what's on your mind, and then tell a story or give an example and and show them a solution to that question. It's very important to show, I think, when it's a for an incidence, if it's an experience that I've had with a client, to answer a question that that a student has. That's, in my opinion, the best way to go about it because it's real and people can relate to it and it's true. So, if I were to if you're known a you're known as the piano matchmaker, how do you, if someone sits down at how do you find the match for them? Like what's your what's your process? How do you find it? That's a really fun question, my favorite. So when I was at Stein May and sons, we had an inventory of four hundred pianos. There were grand pianos, vertical pianos, the Stein may second line called the Boston piano. Now the third line called the essets piano and so on. So for me, I made certain that every day I would know the inventory backward and forward. So, because I grew up around pianos and so on, I just have a knack for knowing essentially cool a piano is, because if they have their own personalities and PS, they have their own serial number. So some of them look the same. So what I would do is to get to know a piano very quickly. That's just something that comes natural to me and very fortunate. And then I look at its name, also known as its zero number, and that sort of goes into a bank in my head. So every day I would make sure that I knew the inventory backward and forward, and which pianos was selected, you know, and what pianos are come in from the factory that weren't ready yet. And so I would go downstairs and I would crawl under the pianos to get to the ones that it just come in and and give them a try because, you know, if I remember, there were a couple of times where a piano hadn't been prepared. They would spend, you know, eight hours on a piannel before it goes on the showroom floor. But I was able to hear the personality of that piannel through any idiosyncrasies that were showing up. And you know, there were a couple times worth. We're clients which is a piano that was really not prep but they could see an understate understood with me who that piano was and why it would be the rest of the...

...best selection for them. So, you know, I would say knowing your inventory is terribly important, but you know, it doesn't I mean that it doesn't sound like a big deal, but it's really, really when it comes to pianos, it's a huge deal because every piano is really different. And you know, mean to say also when a customer comes in, usually they don't know that. So they're thinking, okay, to be honest, going to go in the window and we need a six foot and we want a wood finish. Okay, well, a wood finish piano cannot go and the can't go in the window because the veneer is photo sensitive. So you know, we'll talk about placement and that sort of thing as well. But to open a can of worms and tell the customer that every piano is different, they would look at me like what are you talking about and did you just complicate this process? And yes, it does complicated, but at the same time educating the customer, I would not have. I would not let a piano go home unless that person really understood why particular piano with the perfect match for that person or that family or that room. It's not that pianos change, that they don't. But you know, placement in the room, I know it has a little bit of an effect. So, you know, I hope that it'sn't the question. It's just you know, again, it's a wonderful experience. So that's fascinating to understand. From the product side, like you, literally would start your day by going, I don't know where it was, the basement I guess, and just picking through the inventory. Yes, it's sorry, there was. Every may we had an event at the factory and there were probably three hundred pianos that were collected from, you know, all over the country. Maybe you know other dealers or what have you. Anyway, they would have three hundred pianos or whatever, all lined up and they wouldn't finish moving them in. So like midnight the night before the quote sale happened. So I am known to have been crawling around, crawling around at you know it midnight, with these pianos and yeah, once in a while I would see a mouse, you know. But Wow, I really wanted to get to know the pianos and I always had, you know, a few hours to get to know somebody pianos. So what I did, just to make sure I knew what I was doing, is I did a couple of things. I already knew what the client wanted as far as sides and finish and price range, because I'd already spoken with them. And so sorry there were some walkings, but they're also a point is that you did young clients, so I knew that. And then, you know, once I know the pianos, I would match them up. So I'll take a little yellow stick them and say, okay, these are the two or three pianos. One is over there, one way over there. I think they're great match, take a look and then, sorry to say, but we don't have time. We're just going to have to choose one. But you know, so that there's a lot of pressure for for everybody. But it was very exciting to you know, I love getting prepared. I guess that's what worth. I was very prepared. I had, you know, I had a client list, I had, you know, zero numbers mapped out and I forgot to say, I had my own notes, if you want to call it that. So I would have the a list of the models, you know, as far as size and finish and the age, and that's fine. But then I would rate the pianos from one to ten on whether they had a versatile sound or if they were shy, or whether the pianos sings beautifully or whether it's a dryer sound. I mean all these factors. So it's kind of like choosing a wine. Many people said this is kind of like choosing a wine, and it is. So it just, you know, very fulfilling and great fun running around we in this hill roll with all these pianos and customers and you know, everybody's going home happy. I mean, how how fun is that? Right? That's amazing.

That's amazing. Did you ever may be a weird question, but did you ever have any like sad pianos that you just, I don't know, you didn't get along with, and so therefore you never recommended them to customers? That just sat there for years at a time. You know, I have to say that there is a foundation in a piano that I call and is known as the sustain and that's really essentially how well the sound board in that particular piano is performing. And I would say that, you know, I really would only choose the top five percent right. And you know, somebody said, well, who's going to sell the piano? It's not that the other pianos are bad, certainly not, whether it's Stein we are thoughts, Theoli or rest enough of you know, each one has its own beautiful attributes and then there are some that he have even more. So those are the ones that I would choose, and if a piano didn't have that, well then we wait. Now that's a big risk because maybe the Google shopping somewhere else, but that doesn't happen. It doesn't happen if you really help the customer and educate them and they know that you're going to find piano for the should tell you an example. I remember sitting at my desk and I got a piece of mail, so it opened it up. Dear Erica, our piano teacher thinks that you're really good at choosing great pianos. We're looking for a wall nut, five foot one, and there was a check in there. There was a check for a thousand dollars. And what we can do is we can reserve a piano and and then, you know, have the customer come in and, you know, either choose it or not. But you know, it was just so funny and yeah, there was a five foot one wall that that was out of this world. It just happened to be other times, you know, we would have to wait and I was frequent to but you know, if you really work on your reputation to do the right thing every time and you educate other piano teachers who, you know, they have their their own ego to you know, and but if you if you educate them and they become part of it, then it's you know, everybody's having a good time. So I just remember that that kind of thing has happened a few times, but it just may be so happy that somebody really trusted me, trust to you that much. Here's the money, you pick it. Never at them. Yeah, yeah, eventually, of course I did, because I again, I will not let a piano go on unless the customer understand. So, yeah, it's great fun. So I want to I want to one more question that I'm going to want to wrap up. So you talked a lot about how you get to know I understand now how you became such an expert. I understand your process for getting to know the pianos. What was your process for getting to know the customers and really understand what they wanted? Again, a really great question and fortunately for me it was in a, you know, an organic education. So, as far as getting to know the customer, remember that in the summer there were forty five kids living with us right every week. So there are probably two hundred fifty kids in and out of there every summer. We also had ten day programs for adults from around the world. So we were around education and people from all walks of life all the time, and you will know as a professor that when you speak to people you must speak with respect and if you're teaching, you know you want to be. You know what, if I'm teaching piano, I want to encourage them, but at the same time there are things that need improvement and you have to find ways to say that. So I would say that as far as getting to know the customer, Gosh, when I'm when I'm with them or even on the phone, I listened very carefully to their voice. But if they're sort of intimidated or if they're nervous or what have you, I will sense that and then, you know, go forward from there. Or maybe, you know, maybe they're really excited and we don't have time to talk about pianos. That's just get them right on the bench. You know, just I think...

...everybody has this ability. You're around people all the time your whole life and in ps you're also selling at every touch point in your life. So you know, as far as getting to know the customer, no, it's not easy. And have I honed it to, you know, an expert level? Yeah, and I think a lot of it is just a natural thing and getting out, if you want to call it, a vibe on a person, then the you know, that's that's really what I mean. I will know within five minutes. Which Piano Somebody should choose? That was going to be. I was going to say so someone I don't know. Appointment is booked. I come in to see you in New York. You and I are sitting in a room together. We're having a conversation. How long until you start to your I like, I want to peer in your breath, I want to zip open and peer into your brain. You're running through your catalog of all the different pianos and the and the different serial numbers and like, how long until you say it's one of these, or do you even say that out loud? Oh, yes, so you know people might be I would say that you know the answer the question. I will know within five minutes. It used to be about half an hour, but you know, as you go on in life you get better at things, and so I would have an idea of whether somebody needed a piano that was sunny or had, you know, a very deep base or or rich, or you know other words that I use, and so I would make sure, typically make sure that the customer understood that each pianos different and I would show them on various pianos. You know what kind of tone I'm hearing. And you know, a lot of people say, well, I, you know, I don't know anything about music. Well, they may not think that they do, but everybody's voice is different and you can tell the difference they're even on the phone. So it's one of those things where I try to make it as simple as possible and even, you know, even obvious, if you know, it's my job to explain to a customer what a piano has to offer. So are there times where a customer comes in and find, not even find? I will show them the piano I have in mind right away. Yes, that has happened. Why? Because maybe there's another customer looking at that piano right then and I'm really sorry that that pianos meant to be for my customers. Wow, yeah, it's like, all right, that's your piano. You came to me because your friend recommended me. That would be important, right. So they've been referred to me or what have you. That's your piano, let's reserve it and then I'll tell you why it's the right one. It's a little I mean, I wouldn't, I wouldn't do that. You know, we all have to respect each other. I mean maybe that customers just kind of looking at the cabinet or something like that. But you know, with the really good ones, I want that to go to my customers. And so there have been times, Oh, for instance, there been times where I call a customer and ask for the credit card number over the phone to reserve the piano and then they come in. That I do all the time all. So that's an interesting commitment. You get like a micro commitment to see, you know, if you understand them, you know what they want. Let's reserve it so that no one else takes it because I've got the perfect one for you. Yeah, I mean, you know, it's again I am trying to put it in the perspective of actually selling, because to me it's just a natural thing. No, so yes, does it create urgency? Absolutely absolutely, and that, you know, the customer feels great about it because I'm there on their behalf and I have found the piano for them, and you know, that must be a good feeling, I would think. So, you know, when they come in to see the piano, it's like a piano party, is it's yeah, it's just great fun. So, you know, this isn't just for pianos. This is anything in life. You can make anything a party and it's guy better be fun, like if you're going to spend this much time doing it and it's your job. Maybe convincing is the wrong...

...word, but like, if it's your job to transfer the emotion, in the passion that you feel for whatever it is you're selling into somebody else, you better be excited yourself. Exactly exactly. And if somebody is selling a commodity, I mean that's a quest, a good question, I think as well. If somebody's selling a commodity, then how are you gonna differentiate? You can't so, but you can different differentiate your own communication with a customer, and that's what you can be known for, is to make sure to take care of everything in the delivery and then you make sure that you're known for your good work, and that way people will come to you. Yeah, yeah, I noticed in that New Yorker article they talk, they mentioned a having happy customers and them, you know, referring other people to you or you made the point earlier. Even when people made not necessarily be customers right now, they might tell their friends about a good experience they have or have had, and then they would send their friends in so you've by taking good care of people and actually caring about them. You've got this amazing referral system happening in the background. Absolutely and you know, my final years as time way, I was working by referral only, wow, wouldn't be taken the calls, I wouldn't be taking the walk INS. So you know, that was a big risk to think about taking, but it was less of a risk because I feel like I know what I'm doing and I had really built up a reputation and of course New Yorker story was was was a big one. Who was really helpful to have that sort of as my calling card. So you're by the way, the New Yorker story has just been auctioned, which is known as sold to a world famous executive producer, oh feature film. Wow, so my life right just got sold. It's just crazy. My Life Rights got sold eighteen years after the story came out. There's an executive producers who has done films like twelve years of slave from about millionaire billy Elliott at the Iron Lady. I mean this woman is amazing, and she said she couldn't get the story out of her head and then she wanted to do a feature film. So that's wow, that would be amazing. I'm staring. I feel like I'm staring. I'm staring at your picture in the article right now on it. I could see it. It would be a great movie. Thank you. I mean, I understand that the mortality rate is very high for film and that sort of thing, but but I know, cross, cross fingers and so on. But you know, again, it's sort of it's exciting to be able to share my world with the rest of the world, which is, you know, the joy of music and how it can enrich your life and and you know, especially for oneself if you have an idea of different sound and touching that sort of thing. It's just exhilarating to play on different channels and to meet different channels. It's so much fun. Yeah, I've got ever since I was a kid, growing up sort of middle class family, but I always had dreams of owning a beautiful grand or baby grand piano that would be on like an elevated platform in my home that I would play one day. So I took you know, I took lessons growing up, but since I moved away to university and started a family on my own, I haven't revisited it, but it's something that's sitting in the back of my mind. So I feel like I would be a I know who I'm going to come to when the time is right, because there will be a time and I know who I'm going to come to. That's very you know, I can't help but say when you're ready and PS, I can help you get ready right. Yeah, and call me and I teach by spike. It's really fun. So the other thing is, I don't I don't know the age of your children, but children can learn by the pianos from the age of two and you know that's that's what I do, is I do have some students there a two years old from going in here for their piano fun. It's not even a piano lessons,...

...called piano fun. So you know, you'd be happy to talk with you about that at another time. But once you once you get the piano music bug, there's just there's no end to it. It's yeah, it's funny. We've we've tried to expose them to music early on. So we've got drum set at home and I've got a little drum set for them and we bought you know, little keyboards and things, and the first it was over the Christmas holiday where we brought them to a friend's House who had an upright piano and they were ope they were okay with the kids playing it. So my oldest is for my youngest is two and a half and the kids, you know, kids sometimes just get onto something and I always just let them go for as long as they want to go. And they were probably playing on the piano for ninety minutes, just playing and playing and playing and playing and playing, and I was looking at them thinking, hot this is interesting. I feel like maybe I should, maybe I should act on this and get them, get them signed up. You know, I have to tell you, Eric, I have chills right now. That happens when I get excited and I'm happy about something. My left arm, I have chills on it. And you know, ninety minutes is it's really something. I thought maybe you'd say half an hour. Ninety minutes is really, really something and and I think that you're right to pay attention and as a pianist and a teacher, I'm suggesting that you really take a really good look at this, because it sounds like they're ready. It's they're ready. Yeah, this is it's interesting. You know, I you so often. You want to put kids and things that'll let them release the energy, right, so you look at soccer and karate and hockey and ballet and dance and all of these things. But at least my mind wasn't immediately going to getting them into music this young. So I will take your advice. I'm going to get them started in something this spring. That sounds fantastic. You're a great dad, great great. Well, this has been this has been really great. I'll ask you one more question and if you don't have anything that immediately comes to mind, that's okay. But I'm teaching hundreds of students this year who have never been exposed to any sales in their lives and I think a handful of them are actually going to go out and start their young sales careers. So, as someone has been in the business now for as long as you have and it's got a bunch of experience in a great track record, do you have any advice for someone that's just getting started in sales? Gosh, it sounds like a question that should be easy. It's not a easy question, really hard question. I say the best, the hardest. For last, I do have some kind of an answer, which is be honest and be yourself. I really think, I really think those two things in communicating with it, with the customer, really really I'm not saying those are the only two things, but those two things are really important. Of course you have to know a lot about the product and so on, but you also need to know why that customer should have it and how they're going to benefit from it. So certainly, honestly and in integrity, those two things are so important because you never go I mean, I never thought in a million years I'd be a sales person and they'll be stealing high in pianos like it'd never imagined that. It just sort of unfolded and it's a great way of life. So, you know, I think most people want to be honest anyway. So you know those but I think that's what I would say. Just be honest and go forward with the integrity that's Great Erica. It's been a lot of fun. I it's weird. I although we're not in the physically the same place, I feel like you're sitting across the table for me. So thank you so much for agreeing to the time and I've I learned a lot. Thank you very much. Oh Gosh, I had a blast. Thank you so much. Thank you. You've been listening to the Ivy Entrepreneur podcast. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player or visit IV dot Ca, a forward slash entrepreneurship. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (55)