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What Can the Beatles Teach Us About Social Selling?

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What can The Beatles Teach us About Social Selling?

Dick Rowe was the man who famously turned down The Beatles. His job was to spot and select talent for the Decca Record Label, one of the big record labels of the day

He famously said to Brian Epstein, The Beatles Manager after their audition, “Guitar groups are on their way out, Mr. Epstein” adding to that “Not to mince words, Mr. Epstein, but we don’t like your boys’s sound”

We can all look back with 20:20 hindsight and laugh, but was it all Dick’s fault?

If you listen to the audition, it was OK but no great shakes and certainly it would be difficult to pick out the creativity to follow. The songs that Brian picked were standards in fact, any band could have played them and probably played them better.

It was Brian Epstein that made the decision on the songs that were played and he seemed to decide to get The Beatles to play what he thought Decca would want to hear. He didn’t allow The Beatles to be authentic.

When it came to audition with George Martin who would finally sign the group, they decided to play half standards and half original pieces. A far more authentic position.

Related: Social Selling is the New Disruptor

There is also the story that after the audition, the group, Brian Epstein and George Martin were sitting in the control room and there was silence until George Martin asked the group what they thought. It was George Harrison who then said to George Martin “I don’t like your tie”. At which, everybody fell about laughing.

George Martin afterwards said that he signed The Beatles as much for their personality, as their music. Again, this is being authentic.

You cannot be liked by everybody and it’s better to be liked, by people that like, the real you.

The other “mistake” that Brian Epstein made was that he decided to go down the route of using a template. He took the already rejected audition from Decca and had it copied. He then took that around the other record companies, only for them to reject it too.

When I first started in sales I needed a something to introduce myself to prospects and clients so I decided to copy an introductory letter (think email into todays currency) that one of the other, more mature sales people used. My manager’s advice was not to do this he said “You need to write something for yourself, if you copy someone else, you copy their mistakes”. He was right.

I was talking to a CIO before Christmas and we laughed about the story he told, how two competitors were using the same template to try and sell to him. Same template, same message, just the name at the bottom was different. All through our lives in sales we have tried to be different from our competitors. Templates just drive us to be the same as everybody else.

So is there a happy ending to this tail? Dick Rowe went onto sign the Rolling Stones, on the recommendation of George Harrison.

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