Telephone Sales Pitch

Jazz Band

Someone mentioned the other day the similarity between jazz and the perfect telephone sales pitch.

In jazz the skilled performer will interpret a tune in very individual ways, never playing the same composition exactly the same way twice. Depending upon the performer’s mood and personal experience, interactions with fellow musicians, or even members of the audience, a jazz musician may alter melodies, harmonies or time signature at will.

So with a good telephone pitch, the first fifteen seconds needs to be scripted and delivered adroitly and skillfully. Thereafter the ‘tune’ and ‘tone’ of the pitch will be improvised dependent upon the interaction with the person being pitched to, but must always follow the rules and must return to the refrain of the melody at the appropriate times and must never meander so far as to get lost.

Many sales people think they can be both composer and musician, the truly skilled recognise that sometimes the melody needs to be composed by another, differently skilled, person and they understand the rules of the genre and can take the melody and deliver it, differently perfect, each time.

3 thoughts on “Telephone Sales Pitch

  • The comparison with jazz is right. Spending the first 20 seconds laying down the theme, then leading the prospect into a structured dialogue
    which opens up the full audition….point and counterpoint…objection/objection handled…return to the main theme and close hard on a high…


  • I find the jazz comparison to be wrong.

    The problem with jazz is that is can go on and on with no defined finish to the song – a lot of the time it just peters out. People in a jazz quartet, for instance, take little solos and go off on one, sometimes not sticking to the key that everyone else is playing. That can lead to problems for the others in the band and everyone else has to be on the ball to be able to handle these unannounced key changes. I have visited many jazz bars in NYC and London and been brought up on a plethora of different jazz artists from over the decades. I also play piano and guitar in a band so have direct experience of this too.

    The point made by Paul above about call and answer (or point and counterpoint as he says) it valid too, but not all jazz pieces have this in it (have a listen to Jimi Hendrix and Steve Winwood on Voodoo Chile [not slight return] for a wonderful example of this in the blues). And not all of jazz is a conversation. Jazz is more about one’s self expression.

    The comparison with a telephone sales pitch isn’t quite right therefore. On a telephone sales pitch, we are trying to get to a defined finish – the close. In jazz, there is no such thing as a close, there is only the freedom of expression (and no one likes a salesman who goes on and on).

    In my opinion, a better comparison would be rock ‘n’ roll. The start of the song is what catches your attention and grabs you by the balls (introduction and opening questions). Then you have the freedom of expression in the guitar solo (which is like the progressive questioning) whilst also sticking to the flow of the song. And there is the defined drum roll and everyone working together at the end of the song to finish….the close. 😉

    • Thanks for the comment Graeme. Although I disagree. I have been going to rock gigs for longer than I care to mention (I saw Zeppelin so I know all about guitar solos!!) and I’d say that MOST rock songs sound pretty much the same every time they are played no matter how the audience react. If a salesman said the same thing to everyone then no matter how good it sounded, it would have the desired effect. I used to play the synthesizer in a space rock outfit with a member of Hawkwind – now THAT was pretty similar to jazz (as is Hendrix, the jazz and blues are of course twins separated at birth). But not rock ‘n’ roll …

Comments are closed.