I came across a Facebook post recently with a quote attributed to famed race car driver Mario Andretti, who quipped, “If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough.” It made me pause and think about the situation in the musical instrument and pro audio markets today, along with how various constituents in our industry are dealing with continued turbulence. Currently it’s a bifurcated market, with certain sectors doing well and others struggling due to slack consumer demand and inventory imbalances. Within the dealer community, it also appears to be a tale of two cities, with some doing good business and adapting to the situation on the ground, while others are stumbling. As I pondered all of this, it dawned on me that the answer, and least for me and my companies, was to “go faster” – meaning do more, diversify, and don’t slow down or back off.
Customer Touches and High Levels of Supplier Communication
There is a numbers game we play in sales, with something of an undeniable math involved. If you contact more existing accounts and work with them to understand where opportunities exist, you’ll find revenue. If you reach out to more prospective dealers, you’ll open more based on the effort. While the ratio of connection versus success may ebb and flow based on economic circumstances, the calculus remains consistent. In fact, what I’ll call the “Andretti Principle” can be put to the test here. Cast a wider net and catch more fish? What if you must increase the effort to snare the same amount for dinner? This also speaks to your methods, whether a supplier, distributor, vendor representative or retailer. Make additional touches, talk to more customers, dial in what your real value proposition is and broadcast it from the top of the highest mountain. Make every interaction count.
A NAMM Show in April?
Less than a month from now, the National Association of Music Merchants will hold their show at the Anaheim Convention Center. For several reasons that are important to my businesses, we will be attending with a full contingent of employees. But NAMM in April? The timing is awkward for some, and many notable manufacturers and dealers have taken a pass. But several of our valued Reflex Marketing suppliers will be there, and so will we. If fewer resellers from the Northeast attend, then it’s up to us to make the best of the situation and spend quality time with those who do make the trip. Our distribution company Music Ship will have a booth for the first time since forming in January of 2022, and since we sell nationally the reliance on any particular region will lessen.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!
Let’s remember that the world around us, our business lives and economic circumstances may always be in flux. I’ve determined that as individuals we cannot change much of this, so let’s concentrate instead on creating value and opportunities for our companies and customers. We’ll be announcing a new partnership and products at NAMM that may surprise and hopefully delight, and the work continues back home in Pennsylvania on our new office complex and “Arts Experience” storefront. Every day is busy, and this makes my point about “going faster.” In my world there is more selling to do than hours in the day, which is a trigger for me to expand further and hire another person to assist in our expansion. Getting out over your skis a little bit? Try it sometime, as you’ll see a birds-eye view of the beautiful scenery below as you position yourself for the next leg of the journey. Risk can be mitigated, and adjustments can be made along the way, but right now is the time to put the pedal to the metal.