Two weeks ago recording artist, singer/songwriter Donna Summer passed away, granted the height of popularity was a bit before my time, but it intrigued me how much I knew about an artist that's last mega hit came before I owned my first walkman.
Summer is known as the “Queen of Disco”, she was the first woman with back-to-back multi-platinum double albums, reaching the status of one of the world’s leading female singers.
She was also the first artist to have three consecutive double albums reach number one on the U.S. Billboard chart.
She was a five-time Grammy award winner - she won her second Grammy with "Hot Stuff", more impressively it was awarded for "Best Female Vocal Performance" for the first time.
Rather than continue on with her awards, I want to focus on the three lessons you can take away from Donna Summer's successful career.
Tell a Story - Like many successful singer songwriters, Summer's songs were attached to back-stories. Arguably her most famous song "She Works Hard For Her Money" came about after watching a Miami maid polish her bathroom floor.
After observing the maid hard at work for a few minutes the music legend thought to herself "wow, she works hard for her money" and a hit was born. This song resonated to a new generation of women that were entering the workforce rather than staying at home.
This leads me to the big secret for selling more of your products or services: Tell an effective story that your customers can relate to.
Many businesses jump right into the features and benefits and skip right over the story. But when you can find a story that your prospect can relate to, you will instantly engage them and quickly turn them into buyers.
For example, if you are selling weight loss products, having a story of how you or someone you cared for was once overweight. Most people that have weight problems, do not desire to have weight issues and live with a sense of embarrassment. Being able to relate to these types of customers on a personal level with a story creates an emotional connection.
By doing so—you’ll start to engage the reader who is searching for the solution that you provide. They relate to what you are saying. They think to themselves, “This person really knows what I’m going through. I bet they can provide me with the answer I’ve been searching for.”
Lead in niche markets – When Summer released her album, Crayons, in 2008, she commented on the song “The Queen is Back”. Referring to her title of the “Queen of Disco”, Summer said, “There’s irony, it’s poking fun at the idea of being called a queen. That’s a title that has followed me and followed me and followed me.”
While she may have poked fun at herself for being called Queen, the title helped her not only lead the disco field but reign over it—making each new song anticipated, helping to boost her sales immediately upon release.
Becoming a leader in your niche market and you can almost guarantee sales upon release of new products and services, be the “go-to” person in your market and sell your services at a higher price than your competitors.
So the lesson here is that whenever possible, niche and do everything you can to become the leader. Doing so can produce extraordinary profits.
Break the rules – Summer’s hit, “Love To Love You Baby” is seventeen minutes long (compared to the normal song length of generally 3-4 minutes). When it was released there was quite a controversy due to suggestive lyrics and moans that laden this tune. Some radio stations went so far to ban the song. (In today's standards this song would be on the radio as we drive to church each sunday)
Due to the controversy of the song and it not being played over the radio - sales skyrocketed.
Breakthroughs can come from breaking rules. In this case, breaking rules caused radio bans which aroused curiosity and contributed to the success of “Love to Love You Baby,” making it a huge hit and contributing to a change in what was acceptable for airplay (like it or not).
The Best time to break the rules is when you think everyone in your niche market is stuck thinking conventionally. This leads to you having an argument over who is the tallest midget…no one cares.
Innovation is driven by rule breakers. People in each market that are willing to step out of line and zoom past the competition.
As with any life lived well, there are always lessons to be learned. While these are only a few lessons captured, they are lessons that will help you build a better business, lead the field and increase your profits.
What other lessons can you pull from Donna Summer’s life that will help your business grow and profit?
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