In this podcast you’ll discover:
- Why working full time and having a career outside of music has been an advantage to the band.
- Why being able to offer more than just talent has been the secret sauce for the bands success.
- What clients REALLY are looking for in cover band.
- How Brian feels about taking on the professional cover bands full on.
- Why asking the right questions of your prospect is key to getting bookings.
- Brian’s advice on keeping your clients happy so that they recommend you to their friends.
- How putting themselves as a band under pressure helped produce a great video promo.
- How working as a team helped the band achieve the success they have.
- What problems increasing demand for the band has caused and how Brian is overcoming those hurdles.
Brad: Welcome to the Gigging Success podcast where you’ll discover the tactics and strategies of some of the world’s most successful cover bands that will help you fast track your way to more of those better-paid gigs you deserve.
Now, on this week’s show, I’m interviewing Brian Walters who runs a band called Buffalo Tale of London in the UK. What’s interesting about Brian is that he has a full-time job as a marketing executive while at the same time running the band. I thought it would be interesting to get his perspective on things.
Obviously, being a marketer, he’s quite keen on the marketing side of things. And what he’s done in the last kind of year or so is kind of revamp the website and get some more video and stuff for the band. That’s been working a treat for him. So I’m going to dive into a little bit of that and see what he’s been up to there.
First off, again, thanks for all your positive comments about the show. I mean if you haven’t already left a review on iTunes, I really would appreciate it if you could get down to iTunes and leave a positive comment. All you need to do is to get on to iTunes itself, search in the iTunes store for Gigging Success, subscribe to the podcast if you haven’t done so already and then go on leave a positive review for us down there.
So any reviews that you do leave, I’ll read a few out occasionally. This one is from Bass Rocks Hard. “A vital listening for all gigging musicians,” he says, “If you take your music career seriously and are looking for effective ways in which to fill your gigging calendar, then listen to Brad. The Gigging Success Podcast offers vital advice for all aspiring musicians discussing the industry and the journeys taken by a variety of working musicians. It’s simply a case of taking what is discussed and incorporating it into your own business plan.”
And we’ve got plenty of those little nuggets that Brian gives away in this interview that you can literally go and implement yourself in the next couple of days or so. So have your notepad ready for the interview. That’s coming up.
Before I get there, I’d just like to mention, if you are looking at getting some quick … putting some quick and easy things into place to get more gigs, check out my free guide, which is Cover Band Essentials: Five Free and Easy Killer Tactics and Strategies to Get More Bookings and Dominate Your Competition in the Current Economy. To get a copy of that, head over to GiggingSuccess.com/CBE, and you can download your free copy of that.
Let’s get straight into the interview with Brian.
Brad: Well, I’m here with Brian Walters of Buffalo Tale, “London’s Wedding and Party Band,” according to their website. Full disclosure here, I’ve known Brian for quite a long time. We used to play a lot of tennis as kids, didn’t we, Brian?
Brian: Yeah, we certainly did.
Brad: Yeah, and I used to lose a lot, if I remember correctly.
Brian: I just seem to remember we played doubles. We did quite well.
Brad: Yeah, that’s true. That’s true. That was a bit of a killer partnership in that sense. We won’t talk about that too much. Brian, as I said … Brian, why don’t you tell us a little bit about Buffalo Tale and how you briefly got to the point where you’re at now with Buffalo Tale?
Brian: Yeah, sure. If I start right from the beginning, I guess I kind of got into music at the age of 15, two weeks, all of … They were short of a bass player at that time. I had a whole two weeks to get up on the stage and get enough confidence to perform.
And then, once I had done that, I was hooked and it was really the buzz of that that kept me going, and from that, played in bunches of original bands over the years, and recorded albums and played lots of gigs. Really, from an original music, then moved into playing kind of functions and because it kind of started to fit with my lifestyle.
Brad: Okay. That’s interesting. So your kind of move towards the cover band thing, how did that happen? Do you remember a point when there was that kind of transition?
Brian: Yeah. I think so. I think the reason you do originals and the reason you play covers, the motivation actually are probably quite different. So I think when you start playing bands, you copy your favorite artists. And you learn your craft and you gig and you go to parties and play. Then, I think what you fulfill with the original material is your own creativity.
I think, in part, it’s a creative outlet, but also, you feel the ego, especially depending on what you aspire to be with your own music. There’s almost a reverse again. It’s almost going back to how I started off playing covers. And you kind of realize it’s not about your ego. And actually, it is commercially viable to a point to work full time.
But you do it because you want to entertain. And yes, you get a rush and a buzz from the time you’re on stage. But actually, there’s a lot hard work that goes into it. And really, my sense is it can be a business. It’s all about understanding your consumer or your customer, what they’re looking for, and creating ultimately a product, a band, that meet their needs and expectations. So I guess it’s gone full circle.
Brad: Right. Okay. That’s interesting. I mean you touched on the idea. One thing, one reason I want to get you on the podcast really was because you seem to be able, or have this ability to be able to manage and run the band and pretty successful with that.
You’ve got already quite, what I can see, a pretty sleek operation. You’ve got quite a consistency of kind of gigs coming in. But you’ve got a full-time career in marketing. So how do you balance those two? Because I know there’s a lot of listeners that are in a very similar position to you, so I’m sure they’re going to be able to relate to some elements of how you find that balance. So tell us a bit about that.
Brian: Yeah. For me, I think it’s a complete advantage, but also a disadvantage because … I will come more to balance in a moment. But what it does is it gives you … So if you do it for the right reasons and the right motivation because you enjoy and love music and love to perform and love to entertain people, it keeps you fresh. And the amount of bands that I’ve seen, there are full-time musicians.
They may aspire to have commercial success with their own original material, playing cover bands at weekends and evenings because that’s the bit that paid. But now, full-time cover bands, function bands, that look like they’re going through the motions, that’s something that we don’t have a problem with because we do it for work-life balance to enrich our lives and because we love it.
And that comes over. So for me, I think it’s a complete advantage. Yes, there are some constraints, being time, but actually people that work fulltime tend to be busy, but actually cram more into their lives. And there is also some passion there and they want to make it happen. Then ultimately you can kind of succeed.
Brad: Okay. So you feel as though that ability to … the satisfaction that you get, the joy that you get from playing occasionally and the freedom it gives you from the old kind of day job, if you like, actually adds to the performance and adds to the value that you’re offering your client. Is that pretty much where you’re coming from?
Brian: Yeah. I think that’s exactly right, because you do it for all the right reasons and you can’t fake that. Without a doubt, that conveys both to … You give your clients, very much, kind of personal touch and you’re a part of their party because you’re enjoying it as much as they are.
And I think that comes off in there as your performance of the day. Whereas if you think you do it all day every single day it becomes your chore. It’s a bit like going through the motions.
Brad: Yeah. Yeah. No, I see what you mean there. It’s interesting now because the acts, the bands that I manage are all fully prone. It is something that we’ve had to kind of look at every now and then because of that going … As you say, that going-through-the-motions thing can be quite kind of damaging in the sense of ensuring that every performance has enough energy in it and vibrancy and what have you.
If you are kind of almost kind of playing the same song for the fourth night in a row, you’ve got to be one hell of a professional to look as though it was the first or second time you played it, really.
Brian: No, I think that’s … Yeah, it’s interesting. But no, I think also it enables us to compete with full-timers. We don’t aspire … Just because we take it part-time, we don’t comprise at all on quality. But I think it’s … Talent is something that means that you can get out there and perform in front of people with confidence.
Actually, I think it’s the performance and the other elements that your client is sometimes buying. I think there are lots and lots of talented musicians. It’s what you need to do on top of that to stand out from the crowd.
Brad: Okay. That’s interesting. Again, this isn’t about talent. This is about … What you’re saying, this is about adding … It is being more than just … This is more than just talent. This is about adding extra value to your client. What do you think those elements are over and above talent then?
Brian: Well, for me, as a marketer, marketing for me is actually relatively simple. It’s just about understanding your customers’ needs. So walk in the shoes of your client. Be the bride or the groom that’s booking you for a wedding and … or the parent of someone that’s been bar mitzvah’d or the corporate events manager.
What is it that they’re looking for? And if you just take time to walk in their shoes and understand what they need, then actually, it’s much easier to fulfill what they require. They’re looking for … In many cases, they’re looking for hassle free. If you’re an events manager, they don’t have to worry. They want to know the band is going to liaise with the events manager of the night that’s going to speak to the caterer.
And all together, you’re part of the team. It is much more than just the music. And also, if it’s on … Again, not on the professional events side or the corporate events side, if it’s a wedding, then they’re intense kind of guests. They want a band that’s going to stand out from the crowd, that’s going to get everybody on the dance floor the whole night and create a really magical evening. And so it’s really tuning in to those needs.
Brad: Okay. And how do you know what those needs are? How do you work that out?
Brian: I guess it’s over the years in experience and being prepared to walk in other people’s shoes. There are a number of different techniques that you can use, but one is really to consider who is either the customer or the consumer. And by that, I mean the customer could be the events manager and the consumer could be their clients.
And what is it? By walking into those different roles, all the different … if you’re like customers and consumers, what is it they’re looking for? I think it’s just really being able to empathize with what’s going to be … what a success or a successful event look like for a bride or for a groom or an events manager and then being there to make a success of it.
Brad: So that presumably … I’m kind of talking from a marketer’s perspective here, but I’m going to kind of almost add … ask questions at the same time. That presumably means that you need to be asking the right questions of the prospect that you’re dealing with or the client that you’re dealing with.
Brian: Yeah. Absolutely. And it’s those questions … that will help you tease out what they’re looking for. And if you ask the right questions, you’ll get some really big clues. And then you can use that ultimately to satisfy what they’re looking for.
Brad: Yeah. So that comes … This is kind of sorely missed in the sales process. So you’re almost talking about the point from when you got the booking and then making sure that they’re really happy. I know where you … I’m sure … I’m not teaching you this by any stretch.
But what I see so often is bands broadcasting what it is that they offer and not asking the questions to understand what the prospect wants so they can then pick out the elements of what they offer which best suits their prospect. I mean, presumably, that’s what you’re doing when you’re getting that booking, aren’t you? You’re going in there and you’re asking a bunch of different questions and giving them what they want to hear?
Brian: Absolutely. I mean you hit the nail on the head. I guess the first part of … I don’t know what you want to class it. It’s a sales funnel. But initially, you have to create the demand, the initial awareness of your band, create some interest, desire, and then drive the action for them to contact you or for you to build up rapport with your potential client.
That for me … You’re going to start in relationship building and the rapport building once you’ve got the initial lead, once you’ve got the inquiry. But that’s really for me the value that we can add over and above … I know you can see that there’s been lots and lots and lots of bands …
Brad: Yes. That depth of knowledge, isn’t it? It’s not just … This is one thing that I see a lot as well, is bands tend to look at agencies as the answer to all their gig, their diary-filling problems. It isn’t always the case, really. You’re kind of almost commoditized in an agency roster environment, aren’t you?
Brian: Yeah. Exactly. You’re competing with one of many, and depending on who the agent’s favorite is or who drives the most commission, not wanting to be cynical. When you get the booking, there are other factors that come into play.
But the sooner you can build rapport with either the customer, and if we look at them as the intermediary between you and the actual person who is booking, so that could be the events manager other than you, for example, or the client, the direct inquiry from the bride, the groom, the party organizer…
Brad: Planner. Yeah. Yeah.
Brian: Then build the rapport. And at the end of the day, as the old adage its people by people. And it’s incredibly true, and make it personal. There’s no reason why you can’t get as much enjoyment out of it as the guests, but from a different perspective.
Brad: Okay. This is interesting because I think this is kind of … this goes down to the crux of things, really. I wanted to kind of talk a little bit more about how you balanced a full-time career in marketing with … at the band as well.
But I think what … I think a lot of people will be wanting to know is how do you get to the point where … What are doing and what have you found that has been successful for you that has helped you get to the point where you can’t even begin to have that conversation with that prospect and start to build rapport? So what is it that you’re doing to generate leads effectively so you can get people on the phone and start talking to them?
Brian: Yeah. So the first thing is the website. It’s nothing more than a shop window, but you have to have a half decent shop window to attract your customers. So it’s not just about your corporate website, your band website. Actually, social media helps you to cast a wider net and helps other people to pass on word of mouth.
How easy can you make it for your potential customers to spread word of mouth once they’ve discovered you? So make it easy to be discovered and make it easy for people to spread the word. And really, don’t just limit yourself to static sites. Having decent high-definition videos, really professionally recorded demos, and a slick and professional site, that puts you on par with everybody else, but it doesn’t make you stand out from the crowd. So you need to think about how you’re going to differentiate yourself from all those other bands.
Brad: So how do you … Okay. Let’s just … because looking at your website here, I know you’ve … towards the end of last middle … towards the end of last year, you had a full website revamp, didn’t you?
Brian: Yeah, that’s right.
Brad: And you did some great video. What was your … You’ve got a straight promo video on the website at the moment. How did you get that done? What was your process there?
Brian: Okay. So, again, we create … if you like, we looked to our network who we knew. On the big benefit, because we’re not just musicians and we’ve got full-time jobs, most of us, then there’s always our expanded network. And I guess we tapped into that network and we had a referral from somebody that has done a video that we thought was great.
We kind of reached out and commissioned this guy to create videos for us. But it’s all about the planning, so with any kind of performance, it’s only as good as planning that goes into it, not just rehearsing. It’s all the other elements that are absolutely key.
So if you aspire to have a topnotch video, you’ve got to manage as if it was a project. You’ve got to look at all the different elements and all the things that can possibly go wrong. And as musicians, over the years, I had drummers that have forgotten drum kits, which is quite an achievement.
And just to make sure that you almost meticulously plan the rehearsal is just part of it. And getting tight on the night is just part of it. You’ve got to arrange, make sure that there’s enough people in the audience, that you consider lighting, that you consider the venue.
Brad: So you’re just breaking that down a bit, because I know you’ve got some connections with a very nice venue in London, haven’t you?
Brad: So you drew upon that contact and you sorted yourself out like kind of a showcase now which you then effectively filmed. Is that, in a nutshell, what you did there?
Brian: That’s exactly right. And we consolidated every single element and we made sure that we got a live studio audience that were very willing, that we plugged them with enough alcohol. They were very willing to hear us play the same song four times.
Brad: So how did you get them down there?
Brian: Yes. We promoted it. Yeah. Our ethos really is … What we’ve learned over the past four-bit years of this band is that we work best under pressure. You raise your game. When there’s a real live gig, a live performance scenario, you kind of raise your game. You’ve got your adrenaline coursing through your veins, and that’s when you’re going to get your best performance.
So for us, the best recordings that we’ve had leading up to this were all live recordings. They’re not the spots of anything that we’ve spent too long laboring over. I’m a bit of traditionalist personally and I do like to keep things as honest and authentic as possible. So actually, just by creating a live environment and just filming it live, then it enabled us to have a very real gig. You can’t fake an audience enjoying themselves and having fun.
Brad: And so then when you ask them to come there, they got free entry, did they? They didn’t have to pay to come in or …
Brian: That’s exactly it. It was literally a free gig, and every single element from creating demand through team managing, and the audience on the night, managing the film crew, managing the audio, managing … call it stage setup, lighting, all those elements we manage between us. I think that’s … We can draw upon a wider skillset than just being musicians because we’ve all got different professions. Our bassist is a GP for example.
Brad: Okay. You do have … You have one pro musician in the band, don’t you?
Brian: Yeah. That’s right. His skillset that we pull upon and really draw is the audio and the recording predominantly. He is a professional sound man and runs his own studio. So what we’ve done is given ourselves individually different roles to play to each of our strengths as you would hope to with any kind of team. It just works really well as a team. Our doctor, a GP, is also quite useful when it comes to building websites and really understanding technology.
Brad: Okay, because I notice you’re using that drag and drop … What was it? Square Space.
Brian: Yes. Fantastic. I have a site.
Brad: Yeah. You enjoyed using that. There’s some amazing website builders out there, aren’t there?
Brian: It’s just got … The technology has evolved and it’s growing up. You don’t have to be a programmer anymore. I think that’s really kind of the digital revolution whether that be on the audio or the production side. You don’t have to be an engineer to create a really good home recording. So I think we pooled up all the skills and assets that we have and we bring that in together. I think, hopefully, if you know what you’re doing collectively, you can create … Some of it are very professional and a shoestring.
Brad: How many cameras … [Bree 00:24:28] is just finishing off on the video or so I think. How many cameras did you have down there?
Brian: We had three cameras.
Brad: Okay. Then you … Did you multi-track the audio live?
Brian: Yeah. Absolutely. Every single instrument had its own channel, its own input. So just maybe we could just polish the mix afterwards. We didn’t edit it and we just polished the actual live mix so that the audio sounds great as does the video.
Brad: Okay. So you used all your own gear …
Brian: Except for the … We brought in the video guy and he brought in some additional cameramen.
Brian: But the rest of it was, yeah, all our own gear.
Brad: Okay. And then … so from that, you created one main … You’ve got a live highlights video and then you did your “Master Blaster Jammin’ Live” video.
Brad: Is that right? And what else have you used that video for? I’m trying to give people an idea of how you can kind of leverage the content that you’ve got, because there’s so many opportunities to do that now. Do you use the videos in other areas?
Brian: Yes. We’ve got I think five good videos. Each track needed numerous takes. Then what we tended to do was edit the video to a scene called audio recording of each track which gave us enough flexibility on camera angles to create enough interest and movement, because only the same old camera.
It can be a bit … One bloke had his iPhone to create enough interest. In addition to that, I created … I used the logo that we had designed in advance and then used on our site and animated that through Fiverr.com. It’s phenomenal. You have your … Essentially, you can tack in $5, you can ask web designers, logo creators, animators to essentially tap into their skills, in this case, so it animates the logo. So if you put all the building blocks together, it was …
Brad: So you used those bumpers before in the beginning and the end of your … any video you’ve done?
Brian: Exactly. They create …
Brad: Which adds a real kind of slick edge to it, doesn’t it?
Brian: Yeah, absolutely. Across an intro and equally at the end because you want to promote. At the end of each video, you’ve got your full contact details, so it does give you a nice link.
Brad: Oh, see, we lost Brian there for a moment.
Brian: Should I just repeat the last bit?
Brad: No, just keep … No, keep going.
Brad: Our listeners know that we drop out occasionally. Yeah. No, keep at it. So yeah. Okay. So let’s just kind of move on to … just going back to this idea … Okay, so we’ve got the video now. What have you done … Literally, the last … Let’s say the say three bookings that you’ve got, how did they come about?
Brian: There’s some that were direct via the inquiry form on our site. It’s really important to have some data capture on your site.
Brad: Where did they come from? Do you know where or what source that lead came from?
Brian: One was a … someone that clearly spent a lot of time on Google doing their research.
Brian: Another was through a venue I’ve developed really good relationships with, a number London venues. So again, it’s through that network. And then, we tend to … After a while, it’s a bit of a snowball effect. You tend to start to get a few more referrals because there’s word of mouth out there and for all of the social media and marketing and promotion.
Actually, you can’t … There’s nothing better than word of mouth, and that’s why … in terms of managing your reputation, that’s why it’s absolutely key to satisfy those customers.
Brad: Okay, so … Sorry. Just one other thing. I noticed here as well that you use your images, something else that you’ve leveraged on the video. You’ve used … You’ve done screen captures for your images, haven’t you?
Brian: Very good spot. Bright idea.
Brad: Yeah. I’ve been in this game for a while. Okay. So that … They’ve come out really nicely, haven’t they?
Brian: They have, and I think, obviously, you want to be shooting a video at the highest possible quality. We were short of professional shots and we also didn’t really want to go into a studio setup and have staged photos. For us, it was about keeping us authentic and real because, ultimately, anybody can do a very, very polished demo, auto-tune within an inch of its life and my life.
And so many bands do go for that approach. I think, at the end of the day, I’m convinced that clients aren’t stupid. They need to see what they’re going to be buying. So if you can represent yourself professionally, live, and keep it as authentic as possible, then I think it’s going to appeal.
Brad: Okay. So you talked at the beginning of the … at the beginning of our chat, you talked in terms of kind of understanding your market and giving them what they want. Do you know … who is your market? Have you identified who Buffalo Tale best suits?
Brian: Yeah. I think we have to a point. It tends to be … Certainly, in the wedding market, there tends to be those that aren’t looking for a specific musical niche and that want a wedding that is for … not just for the bride and groom, but for the page boy as well as the grandparents, and that can cover all bases. And that plays to our strengths and kind of versatility.
So I think that’s who we tend to attract in the wedding market. And then, equally, in the corporate space as well, they tend to want to cover the bases. Now, there are plenty of bands that do quite the opposite. And then, Brad, you advised, when we were starting out … You said, “Consider about your niche. Will that be a Motown or a soul?” But actually, for us, it helped us to cover the bases because we could flex what we do to meet the needs of that clan.
Brad: Yeah. I mean I think that … Yeah, it’s always an interesting conversation there, because the straight party band niche is almost … It’s very crowded and it’s difficult to kind of differentiate yourself musically at least. But I’ve got the feeling that you’re kind of hinting at is almost … Outside of that, you’re offering more. You’re offering more value over and above what it is that you perform, the repertoire, the talent that you offer. You’re offering that kind of customer service element to it, ensuring that people get exactly what they want. That almost is your differentiator, isn’t it?
Brian: Yeah. You’re totally right. The amount of special requests that we learn, we really do go the extra mile. That’s a horrible cliché, but we really go out of our way, not just the first dance, but to accommodate quite a few special requests. If they like a certain musical style, we’ve got a wide enough repertoire that we can create themes for each of the sets.
So whether we start with a kind of relaxed, laid back thing that kind of works over dinner and then take it up a notch to kind of more disco and rock and roll and then move on to more party and full-on rock stuff. We can still create themes to meet the needs and the mood.
And I think that’s one to my understanding the customer need, understanding the journey of the evening, which parts and what the different needs are at different stages. That’s just really appreciating what the events manager or the bride or the groom, all the pertinent party is looking to achieve.
Brad: And the only way you know that is by asking them good questions, isn’t it?
Brian: That’s exactly right, Brad. Totally.
Brad: Yeah, because I think that’s … Again, it’s not broadcasting what it is that you’ve got. It’s about asking them what they want, because inevitably, most bands have got everything that most people inquiring about them are looking for. It’s just about packaging it right for their needs, isn’t it?
Brian: Right. But the packing has … The packaging or brand has to be consistent throughout. So the experience of the website, the videos you put on the website or link to from the website, the … from the next stage, inquire, you give them your details. You get a quote or email back within a short time frame, very courteous, listening, seeking to understand what their needs are.
You then hopefully meet. You might even go as far as going to visit the venue with them. You build rapport, understand their needs inside out, and plans on the day. It works like clockwork. You take the stress out of their big day, if it’s a wedding, depending on … if it’s a large-scale event and even delighted on referring you.
Brad: Yeah. Absolutely. That’s brilliant, because I think so many … Again, so many bands miss that rapport-building thing. It really is … It’s not even necessarily … One way you can kind of … A lot of people think, “Do I have to go to the venue and go meet the bride and all that kind of business and I haven’t booked yet.” Well, there’s plenty of other ways. It’s almost kind of building rapport in an automated way.
If you note down, for example, the top five questions you get asked, put a video camera in front of you and respond to that question. You, as the head of the band or you and the guitar player or whatever it is, sit down, put a camera on, and answer the question that you get asked the most.
And that’s a brilliant way of kind of building rapport without even necessarily being there. So there are other ways of kind of leveraging yourself into that kind of sales cycle, I think.
Brian: That’s a great idea, and I think I might actually nick that.
Brad: Yeah. Yeah. We just … We did that the other day. We did it with one of my bands. The bandleader, I sat down with him for half an hour. We were in a hotel room. We had an amazing backdrop of the shot in London. We sat down and basically had 15 FAQs that I had prepared earlier, asked him the questions, got him to respond on camera, and we’ll edit that with some footage.
This is not expensive to do anymore. You can do this type of stuff on your iPhone now. It really is very simple and easy to do and you can get on to Camtasia or—what is it on the Mac—ScreenFlow, I think it is. You can edit this stuff down in a day relatively easily.
And it just keep people on your … It keeps prospects on your website and it gets the … And you set yourself streets apart from the competition, because I think a lot of … I think what happens to a lot of bride-and-grooms is they’ll sit down over an evening and they’ll go, “We’ll go to blitz the band thing tonight. We did the caterer yesterday. We’re going to get the band thing done.”
Brad: And then they shoo off 15 different inquiries from 15 different band websites. And they don’t know whether they’ll come there and there, and all these responses come back, all these quotes come back. And they don’t know the difference between each.
Now, if you can send a quote back with a link to their … to you videos and their FAQs, you’re streets ahead of the competition immediately. It’s a bit of effort, which is why a lot of people won’t necessarily do it, I suppose, but on the base of comment, you’re going to do it tomorrow.
Brian: Yes, that’s what …
Brad: Cool. Listen, let’s … We’re also going to go with this. I think in terms of what’s kind of next for you, where do you … As somebody that’s fulltime employed and got a marketing career on the go, but you love what you do and your band’s kind of to-go. Where do you … Do you set yourself any kind of goals. Do you have like, “I want to do an X amount of gigs this year”? How do you plan ahead? Or are you just moving along and seeing the way things go?
Brian: It’s a good question. I think we planned to a point. What we’re finding is, as we get more inquiries and more bookings, you get to a stage where, because different members of bands have to juggle … Obviously, they have busy, busy diaries. But you need to call in deps and stand-ins that much more.
So I think one thing that, over the past few months, and it’s been driven by increasing inquiries and demand, you end up having to make sure that you’re available and that means utilizing additional musicians.
And I think what I would advise is that once you’ve started to build your product and you packaged it and you know who your audience is, and you’ve got some experience with playing gigs, once the demands starts to increase as a result of all of that hard work, make sure you can handle peak periods, because you don’t want to be saying no.
For us, we’ve started to create our own brand with Buffalo Tale. It’s not centered around any single individual, but it is about performing to a certain quality and satisfying those customers, as we talked about. And therefore it means you should be able to, when somebody can’t make it, find a suitable replacement and they can use the band name or the brand that you’ve created to make sure that that signifies quality.
Brad: Yeah. I mean that … It’s an interesting one there because … I’ve seen this with my act. It’s almost the equivalent of you going to a Pizza Express. For anybody that’s not … that’s outside the UK, Pizza Express is a chain of pizza restaurants in the UK.
You always know you’re going to get an American Hot and it’s going to taste the American Hot you had the last five times you went in there. So it doesn’t matter which Pizza Express you go in. You’re always going to get that consistency of experience, isn’t it?
Brian: Yeah, that’s right.
Brad: Is that what you’re referring to with Buffalo Tale and having that consistency show after show?
Brian: Yeah. That’s exactly it. It’s not just the show. It’s the lead after the show. It’s the show. It’s after the show.
Brad: Right. Okay. So this goes back to your adding value on top of just the performance, doesn’t it?
Brian: Yeah. I think that, as a journey, each time, you potentially could get referrals because you’re treating them as you want to be treated yourself.
Brad: Yeah. Absolutely. So make yourself referable. I always use that line, “Make yourself referable.”
Brad: And the only way you do that is by creating a great experience for your customer.
Brad: Absolutely. Cool. Yeah. Just going back, just that one point, one of the things which I think holds that consistency of experience, one of the things that we found with a couple of my bands is … the lead singer is the bandleader and has such a strong character and personality. He’s indispensable. You can’t replace him.
You can’t dep in that sense. That’s it. There’s nowhere else to go in that sense. So if you can’t perform on that night, then that’s it. The band doesn’t play. So all that kind of hard work in terms of what you’ve done with your website and your sales and your marketing. And then, all of a sudden, you can’t book the date.
So yeah, don’t have a really character-full front man. I know that sounds slightly counterintuitive, but there’s other ways of creating great experiences for your client in terms of performance. And it’s about the brand experience almost, isn’t it?
Brian: Yeah. I think so. You mean, your pepper and peas is a great example. There’s more than just pepper in them.
Brad: Yes. There’s cheese. There’s lots of other things. There’s lots of things propping all that up as well. So okay, cool. Is there anything else that we’ve … that you think we should know about that we haven’t … I mean one of the things that we haven’t … We haven’t got too much longer left, maybe another two or three minutes. But what are some of the … What’s the biggest hurdle that you’ve kind of encountered that you’ve overcome and you almost kind of wish you knew when you first started out?
Brian: Well, I think the busy band mates is definitely a hurdle that we’ve overcome through using deps and the right deps. I think we’ve probably at a stage now where we can or want to increase the amount of referrals and increase the amount of inquiries. And they say we need to do more advertising. I don’t think we’ve necessarily cracked that yet.
And I think it’s always that balance between … A like on Facebook does not equate to booking, but it’s really important to both raise the profile, but also to make sure you’ve got steady stream of inquiries. So we’re utilizing a combination approach from agency to direct marketing and referral. I think, really, there’s still some hurdles for us to overcome. Each stage is a different set of challenges. For us, now, we’ve kind of gone through the growing pains.
Brad: Yeah. Absolutely. Well, this is the kind of the multiple pillars of marketing, isn’t it? You kind of have your leads coming in from six, seven, 10 different places. So if one of them dries up, you still got a band which is out there getting bookings, don’t you? So, okay, I think we’ve pretty much come to the end of it. Are you happy for me to give the website out, people can go along and check what you’re up to?
Brian: Absolutely. Of course. Yeah.
Brad: Yeah? So if you go to … If you want to go and see what Brian and Buffalo Tale are up to, go to BuffaloTale.co.uk. “Tale” is T-A-L-E, by the way. And Brian’s email address is on the website there as well. Brian, thank you so much for being so generous with all the information. There’s some real nuggets in there, so literally … if you’re not doing … If anyone listening isn’t doing one of … isn’t doing any of that, just doing one or two of those things will set you on the road to a fuller diary. That’s for sure. So Brian, thanks a lot, again, for your time and we’ll catch up with you maybe in a few months’ time and see how things are getting on.
Brian: It’s my pleasure. Thank you for your tips. I’m off now to film my frequently asked questions.
Brad: Good start. Speak to you later.
Brian: Okay. Bye-bye.
Brad: Well, there it is, the interview with Brian. He was really generous with what we shared with us there. So do take note of what he’s saying. Implement some of that stuff because it really does work.
That’s it for this week. If you haven’t done so already, head over to GiggingSuccess.com/CBE and you can download my free guide, Five Free and Easy Killer Tactics and Strategies to Get More Bookings and Dominate Your Competition in the Current Economy. And again, I do ask, because it really helps the rankings of the podcast, if you can get over to iTunes and leave a positive review for us over there. It really does make a big difference. So thanks again, and see you next time.