Let me start by saying Happy New Year to you and thank you for your support! 2017 was a busy year, I finished up with 245 shows and quite a few new venues. The ringing in of the new year means that it starts all over again. The next two months are going to be filled with phone calls, emails, and visits to venues. Booking is definitely not my favorite part of this job, but it is required.
Whatever your business is, preparation is key to successful sales. Technology has changed the way people obtain information and the way we advertise ourselves and our services. In today’s digital world getting gigs means more than putting together a flyer and demo tape.
There’s electronic press kits, web pages, YouTube videos, and social media sites to maintain and update. People responsible for booking usually have other responsibilities at the venues they book for and their time is limited. You need to make your information organized and easy to access. Remember that bells and whistles may seem cool, but they can slow down the site and make the experience frustrating. Venues are using technology themselves to book acts as well. I’ve seen several venues that require you to input information on their site to solicit gigs. By having my site well organized, I can easily cut and paste information into these web forms. In addition to preparing all my content, I also organize my contacts. I make a list of all the people I contact and track our interactions.
“Face to Face”
Even in a digital world, pounding the pavement is still needed to drum up business. In my opinion, a relationship with a warm body beats a virtual encounter any day. That being said, the digital world still comes into play in our face to face meetings. If we make a good enough impression, our potential customer will follow up on our digital footprint after we leave. I like to carry my laptop or tablet to show people how to access my information and educate them on how to navigate my site. Having headphones or a good portable speaker can come in handy if they want to hear your music right then.
“The Numbers Game”
Sales is a numbers game and booking gigs is sales. If you’ve ever had any formal sales training, then you’ve probably heard that it takes ten no’s to get one yes. It just makes sense that the more people we talk to the better our odds are to get a gig. The key is to not get frustrated or feel dejected. Remember, sales is a 10 to 1 proposition to begin with. Persistence is key. In addition to making as many initial contacts as you can, don’t forget to follow up. Check back regularly with anyone who doesn’t explicitly say no. Sometimes it’s just about timing. They may not have needed anyone when you first spoke. A lot of times the person who had the most recent contact is the one who gets the next show.
“Who You Know”
Sales isn’t all about sales. Huh? When I first retired from the Army I spent a little time selling cars. Most of us had to walk the lot playing the numbers game. There was one salesman who rarely left his office. He had people coming to him every day. He had developed relationships. Most of his customers considered him a friend and they sent all of their friends to him to buy a car. He sent and received birthday, Christmas and thank you cards every day. He knew the names of his customers’ kids. Relationships make the world go around. Fans, owners, managers, other musicians, friends, family……all of these people are key in your success. Don’t forget to build relationships in addition to building your web pages.
“Until We Meet Again..."
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Until next time - Keep on Livin' the Dream