David T. McKee

A Violinist at the Metro

15 posts in this topic

This was from a marketing material I received by a marketer in Australia named Scott Baywater. I thought that it was an interesting story and I though this analysis afterward was also quite interesting.

A Violinist at the Metro

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and

started to play the violin; it was a cold January

morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45

minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour,

it was calculated that thousand of people went

through the station, most of them on their way

to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed

there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and

stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to

meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first

dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till

and without stopping continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall

to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch

and started to walk again. Clearly he was late

for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year

old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but

the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally

the mother pushed hard and the child continued to

walk turning his head all the time. This action was

repeated by several other children. All the parents,

without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people

stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him

money but continued to walk their normal pace. He

collected $32. When he finished playing and silence

took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor

was there any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell,

one of the best musicians in the world. He played one

of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a

violin worth 3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell

sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats

average $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in

the metro station was organized by the Washington Post

as part of a social experiment about perception, taste

and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a

commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we

perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we

recognize the talent in an unexpected context. If we do

not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best

musicians in the world playing the best music ever

written, how many other things are we missing?

---

Now let me give you my take on this experiment from an advertising and marketing perspective.

When Joshua Bell sold out at a theatre in Boston with

average seats of $100, he was POSITIONING and not

PROSPECTING.

People respected him because they had read about him...

heard about him... or were already a big fan of his

music. And they paid handsomely for the experience.

But when he rocks up to play at the Metro Station in

Washington, nobody even knew who he was.

He wasn’t perceived as an expert. He was just another busker “doing his thing” and not anybody to take much

notice of.

He was NOT positioned.

And this is the same mistake I see business owners

making every day.

Rather than flagging people down who are interested in

what they have to offer and then positioning themselves

as the expert... they take the long hard road of

prospecting (which in a marketing sense, is comparable

to busking) and choose to ride on the horse and cart

rather than the Ferrari.

It’s crazy. Where would you rather be playing the game

of business? In a subway or at a theatre with your

customers and prospects hanging on your every word.

The bottom line is it doesn’t matter how good you are

at what you do, perception is reality. And if you don’t

position yourself as an expert, very few people are

going to recognise you as one.

Let me know your thoughts about the reaction of people and the idea of positioning.

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This was from a marketing material I received by a marketer in Australia named Scott Baywater. I thought that it was an interesting story and I though this analysis afterward was also quite interesting.

Let me know your thoughts about the reaction of people and the idea of positioning.

So how do you position? Can you give some example that apply to business?

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This sounds like the type of stuff that almost all the Multi-Level-Marketing people talk about. To these type of people it has nothing to do with other people's value choices and how they prioritize those values, it is almost always a lack of "positioning" or something similar.

When I first started my business (some of you have probably heard this already) and prospects would come in to my office I would automatically begin to tell them what Progressive Exericse could do for them. I could go on for hours and prove to them that I was a so called "expert" with all the technical descriptions of what happens to muscle and fat, but to them all that was coming out of my mouth was blah, blah, blah. Why? Because I did not know what was of value to each prospective client. And how could I know what was of value to each prospective client as I had never asked?

I decided to change my initial discussion by first letting them tell me what was of value or what was of importance to them. Now when the prospect comes into my office I begin by greeting them and then asking what is of importance to them, what is it that they want to achieve. If I can fulfill their goals, I sell them those goals through the application of my ideas. I discuss with them how the body works in accordance to what is important to them and how they can achieve their values if they apply the priniciples of Progressive Exercise.

An expert of something cannot sell somebody something that they do not value. And if they do sell something to someone by being "pushy" the gain or profit is quickly lost. Instead of "positioning" oneself as an expert one should be attempting to sell values, the values that the prospect is looking to buy. I offer that during morning rush hour most people/prospects do not value music or beauty as much as they value an efficient way to their office/work.

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This sounds like the type of stuff that almost all the Multi-Level-Marketing people talk about. To these type of people it has nothing to do with other people's value choices and how they prioritize those values, it is almost always a lack of "positioning" or something similar.

When I first started my business (some of you have probably heard this already) and prospects would come in to my office I would automatically begin to tell them what Progressive Exericse could do for them. I could go on for hours and prove to them that I was a so called "expert" with all the technical descriptions of what happens to muscle and fat, but to them all that was coming out of my mouth was blah, blah, blah. Why? Because I did not know what was of value to each prospective client. And how could I know what was of value to each prospective client as I had never asked?

I decided to change my initial discussion by first letting them tell me what was of value or what was of importance to them. Now when the prospect comes into my office I begin by greeting them and then asking what is of importance to them, what is it that they want to achieve. If I can fulfill their goals, I sell them those goals through the application of my ideas. I discuss with them how the body works in accordance to what is important to them and how they can achieve their values if they apply the priniciples of Progressive Exercise.

An expert of something cannot sell somebody something that they do not value. And if they do sell something to someone by being "pushy" the gain or profit is quickly lost. Instead of "positioning" oneself as an expert one should be attempting to sell values, the values that the prospect is looking to buy. I offer that during morning rush hour most people/prospects do not value music or beauty as much as they value an efficient way to their office/work.

That was a very thought provoking accounting. Thank you!

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An expert of something cannot sell somebody something that they do not value. And if they do sell something to someone by being "pushy" the gain or profit is quickly lost. Instead of "positioning" oneself as an expert one should be attempting to sell values, the values that the prospect is looking to buy. I offer that during morning rush hour most people/prospects do not value music or beauty as much as they value an efficient way to their office/work.

I know I'm just an echo at this point, but in this case, I think that's okay.

This is very well said, i.e. a good principle that can be applied to a wide variety of concrete situations.

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Alon and Brian, I am glad you both gained something of value. :lol:

As did I, thank you - a very nice summary of what is going on here.

Still - positioning is a general term and could very well be applied to what you are doing in your business, instead of the position of giving information to the customer, you first discover what it is they want. You then craft your response to them based on their goals and what you can do for them - that is a class of positioning from a marketing standpoint.

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David, people are in business to trade values which should also allow them to make a profit. People are not in business to prove they are an "expert" as this cannot be traded as a value. Also, I think the context of the term "positioning" as used in the article is to try and create an unearned rank or status. You first get the client and then prove to them that you are an expert over time. A rational businees person does not expect people to take his self-proclaimed title of "expert" on faith as that title, if it comes at all, must be earned.

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That was a very thought provoking accounting. Thank you!

I thought so also. Great analysis.

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David, people are in business to trade values which should also allow them to make a profit. People are not in business to prove they are an "expert" as this cannot be traded as a value. Also, I think the context of the term "positioning" as used in the article is to try and create an unearned rank or status. You first get the client and then prove to them that you are an expert over time. A rational businees person does not expect people to take his self-proclaimed title of "expert" on faith as that title, if it comes at all, must be earned.

I am in complete agreement about the reason few noticed the violinist at the metro - his music was not a value that anyone wished to have in that place at that time.

However, with regard to the idea of positioning...

I did not get the sense that unearned rank was being used here, and I believe "positioning" as a part of "marketing" is and essential part of capitalism. If you have a product or service you are trying to sell, it behooves you to become the expert in that product or service which, to me, includes knowing the very best placement of that product or service and the advertising to sell it. That is what I think the marketer in this article is talking about. Now, if you are a novice but say you are an expert - that is simply lying. Sure, lots of that goes on, but when someone actually is an expert it is usually obvious, at least over time. Granted, the marketer in this article did not explicitly say you should be the expert, and certainly there is plenty of lying going in todays marketing. "Caveat emptor" as the saying goes - let the buyer do his or her own homework knowing that there are snakes in the grass - and let the honest businessman present his wares to the best of his ability...ie: positioning.

You stated "get the client and then prove to them you are the expert" - not so fast... "getting the client" is the issue. I just happen to be in such a situation with a septic system I am installing. Guess what? I don't want to be "gotten" by someone I am not sure is an expert, especially not in this "stinky" situation. I want the expert first, and I intend to get him/her by investigating the work they have already done - how? Well, first by finding those in this business (ie: how well have they positioned themselves to be found - yellow pages, ads, etc.) and then to ask around, get references, check previous work, etc. Then I'll hire the one I think is the expert. Positioning yourself as an expert, in my mind, is to be an expert and then be able to prove it.

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David, the only things experts are expert of is the past. A person that is striving to do their best will always be searching for new and more efficient ways to get the job done which means they will not know everything. I do not need nor want an expert, I want the guy that is moving into new territory, as an expert will only provide me with the outdated item that he is an expert on.

In certain fields how does one know who is considered an "expert" by looking in the yellow pages? I ran an ad for over a year in the yellow pages and received two phone calls the whole time and I had a marketing and advertising company help me make the ad. I spend my time making sure my clients understand and apply the principles of Progressive Exercise and then they achieve their values which brings me referrals. My ideas are radical (in both contexts) so I piggy-back on the validity of my clients with their friends, co-workers, relatives and more, who then refer me new clients. When an "expert" gives you references do you honestly expect them to give you anything but the best results? I do not ask people to beieve that I am an expert, I sell them results/values.

When it comes to marketing and advertising, I would still offer that one know where they want to advertise, to whom, and what values those type of people are pursuing. What values one attempts to sale should be in accordance to the type of individuals that read a certain magazine, newspaper or other forms of advertisements. But either way, and "expert" or not, a person cannot sell items to someone that does not value those values that are being positioned.

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David, I would like to add that I am not "positioning" as you seem to be using it. But I am against it in the way the author seems to be using it and that it is the "primary key" to getting clients.

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Ray, apparently we have differing definitions of what constitutes an expert. To me, and expert is the person who is doing what you outlined: ie: who knows his business and is striving to get better at it, and move into new territory.

I can certainly use another word, perhaps professional, whatever. I did not mean historical "expert" but in the sense "are you expert at your job?", "are you improving?", "do you know the state of the art?", etc.

As to positioning, well in a nutshell: don't try to sell cats to dog people. I think we are actually in violent agreement, be the best you can be, and then find someone who wants what you have - that is positioning, at least to me it is.

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As to positioning, well in a nutshell: don't try to sell cats to dog people. I think we are actually in violent agreement, be the best you can be, and then find someone who wants what you have - that is positioning, at least to me it is.

I agree, and that is why I attempted to add to my earlier post.

The first sentence from my earlier post should read; I am not against "positioning" as you seem to be using it.

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