My friend Fifi, is a huge MJ fan, almost died with envy the day I told her about me interviewing MJ. She is one of his biggest fan and couldn't believe her ears when I told about the day I interviewed The King of Pop. Well, I sort of interviewed him. Okay, okay it was only a dream. But I interviewed him in my dream.
I have been thinking a lot about the infamous King of Pop. I think MJ is someone we can all learn from, especially about sales, marketing, branding and image. This guy knew how to sell. Forget about his slew of problems with the law etc. Let's face it, we should all be so good at what we do to have people talking (and writing articles) about us for 30+ years non-stop, and around the world. Despite his sudden unexplained death, the King of Pop does live on!
In my dream the other night, I dreamt that I interviewed MJ...... Here's what the King of Pop had to say: What is your basic communication philosophy?
Be different! Stand Out! Make a Statement! Just, be different. First it was my clothes, then hair, then my glove, then my skin colour and then my nose...ok, I did go a bit overboard but you get the picture, be different! What do you think is the key to success?
Well, it's like this Leslie. You have got to make being around you a really cool and bad experience, and by bad I mean good. I mean, you must make people talk about you and what you sell. If you think about it, I got so many fans because I knew how to make the customers ecstatic. You must give the customer something so special, you under promise and over deliver and they will tell all their friends. Do you want me to sing or dance yet? (No, MJ, let's just finish the interview first!)
What advice do you have for someone wanting success in the business world?
Well, I'd have to suggest that someone whom wants to be successful in the business world needs to communicate that "I'll be there" be dependable and available. Always , always "Look at the Man in the Mirror" cause it starts with you, you have to take responsibility. Know that things in this world are never just "Black & White" so learn to read people and situations, anticipate and stay ahead of the game. Get really good at what's important or your core competence. People forget I started performing when I was 5, so my solo albums, my moonwalk etc did not get done overnight. I practiced and practiced and practiced and ok , you get the point. There is no easy road to success .... you have to work at it. Just Beat It!
What's really important?
For a Pop star?
(Come on MJ, this is a serious interview, for a prestigious magazine. Do you want me to get in trouble?)
Okay, okay. What's really important in business is to do what I did in music. Even though I sold to millions, most people felt as if they knew me intimately. (He starts singing, "You and I must make a pact". Most never met me but I'm sure if you asked they trusted me. So, I'd have to say that as far as selling anything goes, be it product, service or yourself .... build trust.
How do you build trust?
Be consistent. Be visible. Be true to who you are. Care more about them than about you. They have got to feel like you really want to 'Heal the World'. Be sincere. Remember you are dealing with human beings, so " The Way You Make Me Feel" is something you always need to consider, how do people feel when dealing with you. It determines your success.
What prevents people from winning in Life?
They don't wear a sequined silver glove!. Just kidding! Fear to try, fear of failure, a lack of belief in themselves. " Don't Stop Till You Get Enough." & " Working Day & Night".
How do you keep going when times are tough?
Well, I might not be the best person to ask about this but let me tell you that people should focus on the problem and not the symptom of the problem. Always remember, " You Are Not Alone." Don't deal with the frustration of business. Deal with the problem. Fix it. You know what, whatever you don't fix, your kids will inherit. Look at the mess I left behind for Mum , my brothers, sisters and kids to handle. Not what I would recommend on hindsight.
What is the key to your success?
I think there were 3 essential elements that anyone reading this article might relate to: First, I got good at my craft. I studied, I practiced and I learned everything I could about the business. I investigated the winners and the losers. I was a perfectionist when it came to my delivery, my image, my performance. Others knew I was committed and professional.
Second, I got the message out in an exciting manner. People like dealing with people who are alive and enthusiastic. I'm not suggesting people bring a sequined glove or thrusts their hips upward in their next business meeting but I am suggesting being positive and alert and even adding some humor. " The Girl is Mine" is an example of this. People laughed and thought it was cute when Paul McCartney and I sang that song. Make dealing with you exciting, unpredictable, always something different man. I told you from the start be different, unique!
Third, I strove to make the customer ecstatic. I didn't want to simply satisfy the customers; " I Want You Back." I wanted them to flip out when dealing with me. "I want to Rock The World." We want our customers to say, He was fantastic, out of this world! We want to have people go nuts because of how we treat them. Remember again, " The Way You Make Me Feel" is a key aspect of success.
Is there any summary advice from your music that would be helpful ?
Man in the Mirror: It starts with you, you have to take responsibility, where you'll end up. It is also a matter of how you see yourself. See yourself as a success and make it happen.
The Way You Make Me Feel: That's the way you should treat your customers, staff, and people you deal with. People will bend over backwards, if you make them feel special, wanted, loved etc. Understanding and Treating people Right is a key element to success.
Man in the Mirror: Be sure to be dressed right, different, unique but admirable. This has to be applied to your profession and what is acceptable, make the right impression so look at the mirror.
One Day In My Life: Visualize what you are going to achieve.
Don't Stop Till You Get Enough: Ambition is good, desire is good but now in retrospect have a balance in your life and know, when is enough is really, enough.
Keep the Faith: Motivation must come from within, and also sometimes in a faith that is bigger than you and Life.
Fly Away: Is what you need to do, get your plan, visualize and then go for it.
Wanna Be Starting Something: This world needs doers, people whom will put their dreams into action. Be a doer, not just a dreamer.
Whatever Happens: In Life, it's not what happens, but how we respond to it. So just deal with whatever happens, take the knocks, etc and respond positively and find the way forward no matter what happens.
How do you differentiate yourself in the marketplace?
Show up for your next meeting with one glove, red leather jacket and bleach your skin. (Yeah, right!) Differentiation is a good. I think that if you want to succeed you better be different. I had this problem when I began. There were so many singers and musicians. I needed to stand out. I think successful people need to stand out. Why should someone deal with you instead of the competition? You better give a pretty good answer to that question.
Have you ever experienced fear?
Yes, I experienced fear now by being interviewed by you. (Get real, MJ) Sure, do you have any idea what Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Berlin was like with 70,000 screaming women in the audience, each one wanting to have a date with you, each one absolutely crazy, each one just wanting to touch you? (Oh, sure MJ, I'm very familiar with that. It happens every time I do a seminar! OK NOT REALLY.) Well, I used to feel fear but I would do it anyway. I think I read that somewhere in one of your books, 'Once Upon A Time'. Many people feel fear but they need to train themselves to feel the fear and continue to move forward. You don't deserve the reward if you won't pay the price.
How do you keep people loyal?
Give them what they want, be more concerned about them than yourself and make dealing with you an AWESOME experience. Oh, and stay in touch. The key is "The Way You Make Me Feel!"
How do you deal with negative people around the office?
Tell them to " Leave Me Alone!" No, seriously, I do avoid negative people when possible like the plague. I know that might be a little tough if they are the manager, colleague or if they are your neighbor etc but you get the idea. When possible. When not then you have to overcome them with positivity and influence them. Tough so get others to join the task and gang up on that person!
What is one of your favorite quotation?
John Kanary, the great Canadian Sales Coach said, "Doubt and Action are incompatible."
What is "success" in your opinion?
Success means bringing joy to others by doing what you enjoy in a healthy, balanced way. Unfortunately, I don't think I was so balanced. I died with a lot of the music still in me. I didn't live a healthy, balanced way. I was deceived in thinking that the really important things in life revolved around money, fame and power. That's why I agreed to this interview. To let others know that "success" has much more to do with God, family, friends and love. It has little to do with the car you drive, the money you make, the power you have.
With that I woke up as I heard someone say...
"MJ has died!"