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Black Gig

September 12th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

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Black Gig

There are a number of ways you can get people you’ve never met or who’ve never seen you live, to book your band. The fastest and least expensive way to start getting gigs is using the phone.

First, make sure you’ve got a long list of target venue name and numbers and you’re clear in your own mind about why a venue should book you.

Can you really get places to book you over the phone without you even meeting them? The answer is certainly yes.

Some people try to make out that selling is a “black art” with secrets known only to the few. That you have to be a “born salesperson” and have the “gift of the gab” before you can succeed.

The good news is you don’t need to be an extrovert who can talk for his country to get gigs from people you’ve never met. You just need an established system or framework and the self belief this will give you. If you can learn to play a guitar or remember song lyrics then you can certainly master the basics of selling. Well enough in fact, to keep your band busy throughout the year.

Not only that, but because people tend to think that being able to sell is the domain of only the chosen few, when you are able to get gigs by selling your band, you can make yourself indispensable to any band.

Face to face selling, the much feared “foot-in the door” isn’t something you’ll need to concern yourself with for gig-getting. There are ways to secure all the bookings you need without ever having to get in front of anyone to sell your act.

Ask don’t tell

The first thing to remember about selling is that it’s primarily about asking questions of your prospective buyer. Selling your band isn’t (just) about telling a venue booker how great your band is.

Only once you’ve asked questions to find out what the venue may be looking for do you tell them why they should consider hiring you.

What you’re trying to do in asking questions is to gain ammunition that you’ll use when the time comes to tell them about your band.

The system I’ve used to get gig after gig and which can work for you, revolves around 3 key questions you’ll ask.

1. Check they have time to talk to you (don’t imitate the worse kind of call centre behaviour and go ploughing into a speech about yourself if the person you’re calling hasn’t said he has time to listen).

Introduce yourself (“I’m in a local covers band that plays at Chaser’s wine bar amongst other places….” or whatever)

2. Tell him/her you have one quick question to ask “If that’s ok?”

3. Ask them about the bands they currently use and if they meet all their requirements

When you’ve asked this last question you’ll either get a “Thanks but we’re happy with our current acts”. In this case tell them you understand and you’ll stay in touch. Do this with a newsletter on a regular basis until you secure a booking.

Or, more often than you’d imagine, you’ll be told they are looking for new acts or their roster of bands could do with improving. When you get one of these responses there’s a booking there for the taking. Use another question and ask them how you go about getting considered to play there.

Some will ask for your demo CD or myspace details. Providing you have what they ask for and you sound at least reasonable you’ll get the gig when you’ve they’ve listened to it and you call them back. But you will probably need a number of follow-up calls to chase them. Don’t give up on the follow-up. I’ve had more than one venue take 5 or more follow-up calls but then become regular profitable venues for us.

Other places you call will ask about your price and availability immediately. So make sure you know the price you’re aiming for and you’re armed with your gig diary for every call so you take the booking there and then.


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