At first glance, the words ‘drums’ and ‘selling’ don’t have a logical connection. I didn’t see it either until I thought about what was behind them. Now, please understand that this is my personal story, but it will apply to most of you.
My profession is sales consultant; that is what I do. My responsibilities are to consult with companies and their senior staff, assess their situation and improve their sales process. That can range from a total reorganization of their sales structure, to simply providing sales and sales management training.
I am not being humble here or even bragging, but sales is the only thing I have ever been really good at doing in my entire life. That also includes hobbies, which you will read about shortly.
My hobbies are quite varied – from golf to owning and flying an Ultralight Aircraft, and even boating when I was in my 20s and 30s. The two constants in my life since I was 14 years old have been golf and drums.
Let me start off by saying I am not a great golfer; my friends and I cheat and move the ball a little and take a mulligan depending on what score we want to brag about for the day. I can hold my own, but you won’t see me on the PGA tour. I have taken a few lessons, which average to one or two every other year, and I usually practice the lesson when I am playing with my friends. Therefore, I am truly considered an amateur in the arena of golf.
I bought my first set of Ludwig drums in 1968 (which I still have today). I have never been a good drummer, very similar to my golfing situation. I played in wedding bands during the 1970s to pay for college tuition, and that summed up my “live performances.” Since then, I have played my drums along to records or CDs, but for the past three decades, I play exclusively to an iPod. I have always enjoyed music, and I found playing along to the songs was a great release, and something to do when I had some spare time.
Over the last several years, due to varying circumstances, two different bands were aware that I was a drummer and asked me to sit in and play, since their respective drummers could not make the performance, for whatever reason. Let me tell you in both cases, I wasn’t that good. I knew it and they really knew it.
The problem here is I was truly enjoying myself and it was a blast to play music and watch people dance or sing along. The drummer is the backbone of any band and must keep a strong, steady beat. I needed help, and I wanted to improve.
Like golf, I need the lessons and constantly practiced so I could at least go from a C-drummer to a solid B musician. The amazing part is (and we have all heard this before) you are never too old to learn.
What happened was simple and profound. I actually became a better drummer. It felt good, and the band members could see it also. You know you’ve found the right beat when they don’t glare at you, or tell you the tempo is too fast or too slow. I am invisible now, which is what you want. No one is giving me the “evil eye.” I am now playing in a band regularly and enjoying music much more.
So, you are asking, why the personal story? Here’s the reason: If you want to excel at anything and not just your hobby, why not learn, practice and gain proficiency? Everybody wins, especially yourself.
I have to leave now; I am running late for my drum lesson.
Hal Becker is a nationally known speaker on sales and customer service. He is the author of numerous business books including two national best sellers “Can I Have 5 Minutes Of Your Time?” and “Lip Service.” Hal’s newest book on sales is titled “Ultimate Sales Book.” He can be reached at Halbecker.com.