Overview: Stripped of His Brand, He Lost $59,555 in an Hour

Joshua Bell is regarded as one of the greatest violinists in the history of the world. He was the focus of an experiment conducted by The Washington Post.

They put him in a busy area in Washington, D.C. in the middle of rush hour. At 7:51 in the morning, he pulled his $3.5 million Stradivari violin out of its case. He put the case down and seeded it with a few dollars.

For the next 43 minutes, one of the finest violinists ever played the best classical music of all time on a violin created by the master of masters.

He hoped to get the attention of a hurried audience. If they only recognized it, it was the chance of a lifetime!

Over the next three minutes, 63 people passed by without even noticing him. Finally, a man slowed down and turned his head. Shortly thereafter, a woman threw in a dollar while barely skipping pace.

Finally – more than six minutes in – someone stopped and listened. And so it went for the rest of the amazing performance: most people paid no attention and the few who did barely interrupted their day.

Over the nearly three-fourths of an hour he played, a total of 1,097 people passed by:

  • 1,070 didn’t seem to notice at all
  • 20 gave money and sped off immediately
  • 7 gave money and listened for a minute or more

Joshua made a total of $32 in those 43 minutes. It works out to $44.65 an hour. He said, “I could make an okay living doing this.”

But Joshua Bell makes more than a living. He gets paid up to $60,000 an hour for his craft.

What’s the difference? Positioning.

In spite of his talent, he couldn’t breakthrough in this place for this audience. He was a commodity, like any other musician playing on the street.

Normally, he plays to sold-out crowds in the best concert halls in the world. They line up to get his autograph. He is highly regarded by his peers.

In short – he’s not just another violinist, he’s a brand.

The staff at The Washington Post had assumed they may have a problem with crowd control. They could see it unfold – a small crowd forms and attracts a larger crowd as people stop to see what the fuss is. Tempers flare as people bump into each other. Would they have to call in the National Guard to calm the unrest?

But the reality was scant few paid any attention. Most were too busy doing their own thing – the constant line of people buying lottery tickets, people walking buy with ear buds in listening to their own music.

Some people did pay attention and were annoyed – like the woman shining shoes. She thought the music was too loud.

Joshua isn’t used to being ignored. He isn’t used to people thinking his playing is annoying.

He said this was a humbling experience which caused him to quickly lower his expectations. He was grateful for any acknowledgement. He was especially thankful when someone threw in a dollar rather than coins.

Unfortunately, many business owners and professionals are in the same position. But you’ve taken an important step to make sure you’re not like them.

We don’t want you to lower your expectations. We don’t want you to be “just another musician on the street.”

We want you to be the master of your domain – to do what you do best, where you do it best, for people who adore you for doing it.

That’s what we’ll talk about in Module 1: How to Position Your Brand to Sell. Let’s get started!

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