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  • Writer's pictureChrissy Fleming

A Product Manager, A Salesperson, and a Performer walk into a bar...

...and say, "what do we have in common?"

When I was an opera singer, I spent one summer with a prestigious young artist program. We would spend our days rehearsing, training, and perfecting our craft, and frequently had the benefit of participating in master classes and lectures from people who were already successful in the business. One has stayed with me more than all the others.

Our teacher had everyone pair up, and she gave each pair a pen. Then she said "one person in the pair, sell this pen to the other."

Instantly, this room of performers became salespeople. The room filled with noise as we all began extolling the virtues of our recently-acquired Bic pens:

"It writes so well!"

"Look how well it fits in my hand!"

"The shade of ink is subtle and lovely."

"It's so convenient and very inexpensive!"

She stopped us and told us only one person in the room had won the exercise. What had that person done differently? They had turned to their partner and asked:

"Do you ever need to write?"

Only one person in the room had learned about their customer's problems BEFORE pitching their solution.

So what do a Product Manager, a Salesperson, and a Performer have in common?

You have to know your audience.

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