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There’s Good And There’s Sellable

A Times of London Friday Arts pullout piece caught my Sales eye. “Top tips” from “theatre impresario Nica Burns”; How to have a hit in the West End: my 10-step guide.

As is sadly the way, the title slightly misleads. Yet her list contained at least one useful selling spotlight; There’s good and there’s sellable.

Behind the paywall, she recounts a particularly painful experience of losing (all her) money on a 2001 production, despite “stunning” reviews and best director/actress gongs.

Her barrier includes the colossal effort required to fill every seat, night after night, running into unobtainable thousands.

This certainly reminded me of countless presentations by Marketing where the latest product is heralded as the new messiah. Only for such revving up to stall in the face of the first real-life prospect encounter of shrugging dismissal.

It makes you think that such fanfare needs Nica’s twin pincers.

Why is this brilliant?

How can you sell it?

They are two distinctly different angles.

Why your clients buy from you is often completely different from why you think you’ve sold it to them.

Has your latest launch stage got both covered?


* Pretty much close to useless in headline form, nevertheless the spine of her how-I-made-it-and-you-can-too memoir would doubtless feature these ten chapters, fairly commonplace across the genre;

  • Learn the business – all of it
  • The buck stops with you
  • It’s all about people
  • Take the initiative
  • Know the value of a big name
  • There’s good and there’s sellable
  • Theatre is a demanding mistress
  • Productions take time: play the long game
  • Hold your nerve
  • Seize the moment
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