Business Lessons I Learned….From Karaoke #3

Don’t Ever Sing a Slow Sad Song… Unless You are Really Grieving.

You got the pipes, you can carry the tenor and the falsetto well.  It’s also ladies night and the Karaoke attendance is robust . However, if you think Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” is going to be able to get you a smile from the girl with the green apple martini, don’t hold your crescendo. This lesson was learned over many nights spending too much time picking from Mazzy Star, Sara McLachlan, or Radiohead.  It is about knowing your audience, making lasting impressions, and if you can control it, sing right after the guy singing the slow, sad song.  

Not many will remember the opening sequence in “Duets”, but if you do, than you saw a great example of why slow jams never beat a thoughtful foot stomper.  Lochlyn Munro is on stage. Overconfident, he sings a slow, sad song to impress one girl in the audience. Feeling great about his song, and karaoke skills, he wagers against Huey Lewis that he is going to win the bar’s karaoke competition.  Unfortunately for Lochlyn, Huey has played this game a bit more than he let on. Huey follows up with “Feelin Alright” by Joe Cocker, an upbeat song, dancers emerge and feet are stompin’. It became obvious quickly and Munro could only stare as Huey enchanted the crowd. Getting them to dance and sing along, Huey would inevitably win the competition and Monro’s hard earned money. 

If you remember that sequence than you watch too many bad movies, AND you will recall that Huey’s song was just a better choice. Huey’s song grabbed a bigger audience while Lochlyn’s was quickly forgotten. If you want to make your songs, your messages go further, make them more engaging.  Your sad slow songs are heartfelt but it’s going to have the least return on your efforts unless you find the one girl or boy that came to Karaoke Wednesdays to be sad too. 

This lesson has to do with messaging and understanding that purchase decisions are rarely rational or practical.  In fact, your potential clients want to feel good, uplifted and excited about making a purchase. I think one mistake I made when developing my messaging and marketing strategy is that my clients wanted to feel smarter after choosing Paymintz Merchant Services.  In error, I believed that merchants would take that time to make a “more educated “ selection in the payment processor. The truth is those “smarter” types of purchase decisions are extremely rare. We make purchase decisions largely because of how the vendor, product, or service provider makes us feel.  In truth, they meet a requirement of shared values, trust, honesty, morals. And if those comply with our values, we buy because buying from them gets us “lifted”.  

Product sales and advertising don’t just list the benefits of the product in their television or print ads.  They convey a feeling that their target audience may want to experience when they buy the product or service.  Happy moms are front and center with smiling babies. Large flatscreen TVs are being watched by excited, hands-raised, middle-aged men.  Emotions and sentiment are a huge tool for sales because we want to feel great when we buy.

Why are you killing my Sarah McLaughlin, you ask? “In the Arms of the Angel” is so incredibly beautiful.

I’m not, and if you are grieving than Sarah will really be cathartic probably.  However, if you are not sad and want to be memorable stay away from the slow jams.  If you are in marketing, or sales and network, you should wake up to Huey Lewis and the News.  Market and sell like you are performing “The Power of Love” on repeat. Your inner sales tape soundtrack should be one side “Let’s Get Crazy” by Prince and “Tubthumping” on the other by  Chumbawamba. Your potential clients don’t want to buy from the salesperson that makes them feel like Sinead O’Connor just performed “Nothing Compares to You” on SNL.

The difference between karaoke messaging and business messaging is that the lyrics you choose in business mean slightly more than in your karaoke jam.  Keep the song, the message upbeat and you’ll find that you reach a much bigger audience. 


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