The best shows we’ve ever experienced,
the best performers we’ve ever seen– think of Freddie Mercury, live
at Wembley during LIve Aid, or a year later, Queen, live in
Wembley, 1985, which is widely considered one of the
best rock shows of all time– what do they do? They’re able to bring that
audience into their reality. They’re able to sell an audience, if
you will, onto their particular vision. The audience and the
performer becomes one. That’s what great sales is. All too often, someone thinks of
selling as the used car salesman. You’ve got some piece of junk
that you know isn’t any good, and if you smooth talk somebody
well enough, they’ll buy it anyhow. To a really good entrepreneur who’s
building products from day one with customers in mind,
selling begins on day one. Having a dialogue with
customers and co-creating, enrolling them in your
vision, and getting them involved in what you’re doing,
building it for and with them, and getting them to crave it– or having
it have an element of covetability such that it sells
itself, to some extent, that could be built into the engineering
process of the product itself. So it’s not just, well, I sit
in my backroom and build it. And then I hire someone with a
suit to go out and try to sell it. But rather really
getting close to people and understanding what they
want, and also understanding some of the modern tools of inbound
marketing and social networking presences to get people
connected to you early on, to get them to really feel they want
to be part of what you’re doing, is a much more effective way of selling. Join the herd– it came out naturally. I’ trying to build a brotherhood
here, like a community. Like, yeah, join us. Yeah, come on, let’s party together. And let’s dance together to our music
and wear face paint, if you want, as well. We invite them to all of that, for them
to feel like they’re part of something. You can be guilty– and I’ve
seen some designers fail– when they’re designing for
themselves, and they’re not really designing for the brand. And for me, Nike was
the ultimate challenge. Because when I went to Nike, I wasn’t an
18-year-old football crazy kid, and 12 years later when I left, I still
wasn’t a football crazy kid, but I felt that I knew him
better than anybody else. For many people, the creative
process is relatively easy. But then, for some reason
when they go out there and they have to convince somebody
to buy into this new reality, they feel that this
is something foreign. They feel almost
uncomfortable with that. But think that, unless whatever you’re
doing connects with an audience, unless you’re able to create
that joint reality between you and whatever audience you have, you
will simply just not be successful. A company exists, and a
career exist, only when there is a willful participant on the
other end to buy into that new reality. Especially a place like
Berklee College of Music, where we’ve got some of
the best young musicians around the planet who are steeped
at this point in their career with continuing to hone the
jewel of their performance. And very often, I find
that those musicians– I remember when I was that
age, also– don’t really have a connection to how to get
their performance before people. But the older you get, you’re
going to have to pull that in. Because music that you hold to
yourself, it’s kind of selfish. If you are a great
performer, if you do have something incredible to
say, and only five people hear it, well what about me? What about my grandchildren? What about all the rest of us
in the human condition that could have been enriched by this idea? So for me, to be a musician is to be
responsible to this notion of trying to get your message, or your musicality,
or you’re thought process out to as many people as possible. So re-channel that passion that you may
have for the creative process of what you’re doing, and take that
and apply it into the selling process of what you’re doing. Don’t see it as an
individual or separate step. That force that propels
you to create something new should be a force that
continues at actually taking that new thing
that you’ve just created and helping it find
its rightful audience.