Brad & Del, the gig getting gurus discuss making your web site work for you, the art of following up on enquiries and how to handle not getting the booking.
The two types of website and what one you should have
The mistakes most band web sites make
Ninja tips regarding testimonials
The most visited page on most web sites
How to turn your repertoire into a gig getting Godzilla
How speed helps you succeed
Stalking your prospects but not in a creepy illegal way
Don’t reinvent the wheel
The cost of getting the gig
Everyone seems to face the same barriers, the same problems, the same issues. – Del
Somebody else selling your band is 25, 30, 50, 100 times more powerful than you trying to sell your band – Brad
Everyone should ask for feedback after every event. – Del
It’s about engaging with them, making it easy for them to say yes. And there’s so many small, quick things that one can do to make that happen. – Brad
If you’re running your act or your band like a business, you want to get back as quickly as you possibly can to the inquiry using the template that we’ve provided on giggingsuccess.com which is free. – Del
You can do texting within Microsoft Outlook if that’s the platform that you use – Del
Be there when they’re ready to buy, not when you’re ready to sell. – Brad
We’re constantly thinking about how we can move that prospect to the next step. – Brad
DEL: This is going to be a kind of carry over from… we almost went overtime on podcast #2, but we were really getting into the discussion of that particular title. We were talking about getting more gigs. The basic question that every band, every performer has is getting more gigs.
BRAD: Yes. And I think we were specifically talking about how your website can almost be your kind of sales and marketing machine for your own gig.
DEL: So our background would be a useful thing just to point out to anyone who’s come to the podcast for the first time and why we’re qualified, I guess, to speak about these things. So just briefly, do you want to let everyone know who you are?
BRAD: Yeah. Very briefly, I started out my career at A&M Records in the post room, of all places, worked my way up through promotions to become a plugger where we looked after some really big names. Plugger, meaning I was the broker between the record company/the artist and the media. So we would work with acts like kind of Tom Jones and Richard Ashcroft to Badly Drawn Boy, and we’d put them on TV effectively. So then maybe 10 years ago, I set up a management company, signed a couple of acts to major labels. It didn’t quite work out exactly how I would have liked, very risky business to be in, got fed up with the level of risk that was involved in the music business, and repositioned my business which is now LM2 Entertainment as a management company of function bands. So we now have a small stable of acts which we promote and market to anybody organizing a wedding, corporate event. We do a lot of B to B, so we work with a lot of event planners, a lot of agents. And on that journey, I’ve learned a huge amount about marketing and about the industry and that’s why I’m here to share that with you on Gigging Success. And you, Del, briefly, what’s your background?
DEL: Yeah, I’m Del Cotton. As you can probably tell from my dulcet tones, I’m a Scotsman. I live fairly near Glasgow in the west of Scotland. I’m the managing director of a large entertainment agency, a talent agency. We look after hundreds of bands right across the UK. Now, we have offices throughout the UK, and we look after bands who perform the same kind of events that your bands perform at, Brad. In fact, we’ve worked together on a number of occasions. So we look after wedding bands, corporate events bands, and we have a large tribute act roster. You name it, there’s a tribute to them out there somewhere. And we are very busy with that. And our clients can be brides and grooms, they can be golf clubs, and they can be corporate events, maybe IBM, a client of ours. We look after events at Wembley Arena and we look after events for the football association. And so we are really proud to be associated with companies like that. But at the same time, we can also be doing things in the local community centre. That can be an anniversary or whatever. So we do thousands of events every year. And what led me into this business was just having a really successful career as a gigging musician in the first place, by no means the best musician even in my street. But I got good at marketing, really just from trial and error, things that I did. There was an element of being in the right place at the right time, I can’t deny that, getting on the start of the whole marketing thing, studying the marketing techniques, and applying those things to the bands that I was in, and really building the bands into a business. And from a busy band diary, I was able to build the agency itself. So I’m now retired from gigging but along those many years as a gigging musician, I’ve picked up lots and lots of bumps and bruises and some really bright ideas, and I’ve met some really, really inspiring people. And you and I came together to talk about our joint experiences, didn’t we, of life as a gigging musician?
BRAD: Yeah, absolutely. Well, I’m not a gigging musician. I tried to play the guitar many years ago. That didn’t work out. But I work very closely with musicians. We actually partner with all our bands. So we actually invest in them and we’re almost like the sixth member of the band, so to speak. So, we’re very close to the actual band side of things, if you like, the running of it. But our main concern is about getting them gigs, and that’s pretty much what we do.
DEL: Yeah, so we’re at the sharp end aren’t we?
BRAD: Yeah, absolutely.
DEL: The website giggingsuccess.com, our podcasts are aimed at anyone out there who earns some or part or all of their income from performing either at the weekends or through the week or whatever. So whenever we refer to bands, we’re really referring to anyone who’s out there and nobly earning their income from the art that they perform, and that can take many shapes and sizes. But if you’re out there at the weekends or through the evenings performing whatever it is that you perform, then giggingsuccess.com is for you. And you and I have taken all the experience that we have gained over the years and also the experience multiplied hundreds of times through the bands that we represent and through the entertainers that we know and work with who’ve all had very, very similar experiences. And we just have realized that everyone seems to face the same barriers, the same problems, the same issues. And really, we’ve been talking for a long time now about how to address those issues. Because every day, you and I in our day jobs are giving advice to entertainers on how to overcome those obstacles, how to market themselves more successfully with the end result…
BRAD: With the result of getting more gigs, actually.
DEL: With the end result of getting more gigs exactly, and eventually getting better paid gigs, gigs in better venues, and being treated better at those gigs, and then ultimately, how to run the band or the show or the act in a manner that gives you the very best return for all the effort that you put in, whatever return you want to get, whether it’s more money, just more gigs, able to play more of the kind of shows that you want to play. So it’s for everyone that’s involved in this business.
BRAD: Absolutely. And we should also mention at this point that if you go over to giggingsuccess.com, if you leave your email address there, there is what we call a fill in the blanks quote template which we use in our businesses which has increased bookings by 23%. So get over there, fill in the blanks. You’ll get an immediate result of that if you actually implement it, if you leave your email address. I put together a 15-minute video on the other side, once you’ve left your email, which talks you through why the certain elements that are in the quote template are in there. So that’s well worth picking up as well.
DEL: Yeah. And Brad, it pains me to say this as a Scotsman but that’s all free.
BRAD: Yes. Shocking.
DEL: I tried to talk you out of it but you insisted. So that’s all free. And there are going to be new resources, lots and lots of free things and bonuses and stuff that are going to appear on Gigging Success as the website develops and as the program develops.
BRAD: Never mind the podcast.
DEL: Exactly. The podcast is also free.
BRAD: So we’ve made all the cock ups and errors possible so you don’t have to in that sense. So where we kind of left off last time, it was a really interesting discussion about how a website is able to kind of be your sales and marketing machine, if you like, and why that’s necessary. And I think it’s worth reiterating why because people don’t really do things unless they know why they should be doing it. And I think just going back to the website thing again, why should your website be more than just… well, I’ll just take one step back from that. There’s two types of websites really. There’s the brochure website and then there’s the website that will sell what you’ve got and actually generate a lead and convert an inquiry into a booking without you having to do anything apart from, you know, make sure that the content on the website is sufficient enough. The old fashioned brochure website is one which is kind of very static. It’s just about, “Here’s the information. Now, you go and digest it as you wish, prospect or viewer.”
DEL: And 99% of all the websites in the world for entertainers, for bands are that kind of website, aren’t they? They’re just, “Here we are, come and book us.” They do nothing more than that. And in fact, in our experience, they’re even very rarely updated. So you have photographs and images up there that can be years old, demos that can be years old, set list that haven’t been updated in donkey’s years. The hits from 2001 was the last song even though you’ve been learning new songs for years. They don’t get updated. Why is that? I think the reason is they don’t get results. Those sites just don’t get results.
BRAD: No. And that’s the thing. And then you start to lose interest in something that doesn’t kind of give you feedback, so to speak.
DEL: Well, that’s right, yeah.
BRAD: It’s not performing for you. You think, “Well, that’s not working. So I’ll kind of let it go and just let it almost kind of die.” I mean, I’ve spoken to musicians. They’ve got dates up there from 2008, 2009. I said, “Why have you got that up?” And they say, “Well, I don’t have the log-in details for the website.” Honestly, I’m being tough here but that is inexcusable.
DEL: Well, it is.
BRAD: You know, you’re not going to get gigs if that’s the way that you’re thinking because it’s just not going to happen.
DEL: Here’s a tip that’s just occurred to me from that. Something that we do at Hire A Band, we never have the dates of a testimonial on a particular band’s page because if you haven’t had one or you haven’t updated your page in a while, your last testimonial may be from two or three years ago. You have to sell to kind of the lowest common denominator. You have to assume that people are going to think that’s when your last gig happened. So if you don’t get lots of testimonials on a regular basis, then don’t put the date of the testimonial on, just the names if you can of the people who’ve left the testimonial and the venue you’ve performed in.
BRAD: But be really specific about that. I think that’s really key as you rightly say. Be as specific as possible, excluding the date.
DEL: Yeah, yeah.
BRAD: And with a picture of the bride and groom or the client, the actual venue, the town, what type of event it was. What we do is we scan the email testimonials that come through. In actual fact, what we do, and this is probably a topic for another podcast, is we actually orchestrate the testimonial in the sense that we ask a series of different questions of the client so that we can elicit a response that gives us a testimonial.
DEL: That’s a cracking point and something that bands are going to be saying, “How do we get testimonials?” The way you get testimonials is to ask for them.
BRAD: Ask for them, yeah. A lot of people feel as though they just can’t. And they are just getting back on kind of topic in terms of why you should be doing that because they are your sales… somebody else selling your band is 25, 30, 50, 100 times more powerful than you trying to sell your band, trying to tell that prospect how good you are.
BRAD: And if you can find ways and just ask questions of the client that will elicit a response that gives more insight into what you were like at the event.
DEL: Yeah, definitely. And that’s really legit. You can go back. And everyone should ask for feedback after every event. In fact, it’s so standard here at Hire A Band that it’s automatic. After an event, our system will automatically send out a kind of pre… the questions are already there and the email and they do kind of lead the client to give us… bear in mind, if we get negative feedback, we’re on it like a bad shirt and we deal with it very, very quickly. And sometimes, you can actually learn more and improve more on negative feedback than all the great feedback that you get. But from a purely sales point of view, we’re talking about convincing other people to hire your band or your show or your DJ rig. It’s going to be those positive testimonials that do that for you. And you can never have too many.
BRAD: If we look at the analytics of our bands’ websites, what we find that comes out quite high on top in terms of viewed pages is the repertoire page or the playlist page.
DEL: Yeah, yeah, great point.
BRAD: And I think this is a really kind of underutilized area on bands’ websites. If you’ve only got three or four audio and you’ve maybe got a bit of mobile phone footage, then what that prospect is trying to do is piece everything together. They like the look of you. They like the feel of the website. They may have spoken to you on the phone. They’ve listened to a few audio tracks. They’ve maybe heard something from somebody that checked out the testimonial. They’re trying to piece everything together. And so often, I see on so many bands’ websites, the repertoire page is just one long list of songs. And it means almost nothing to that prospect looking because they can’t create their own story from that. And everybody is inside a story. I think that’s really kind of important. What they’re looking to do in their head if it’s a bride, for example, is she wants to see genres. She wants to see those 55 songs, or whatever it is, broken down into six sections in a language she can understand. What I see a lot of the time, even some of these repertoire lists, even though they’re broken down, they’re broken down into musical genres that isn’t the language of the prospect.
DEL: That’s essential, isn’t it. We as musicians and as entertainment professionals, we have our own vocabulary. We use it between ourselves but we forget because we’re constantly dealing with other entertainers and musicians. It’s easy to forget that the civilian population, if you like, don’t get the references that we have. One of the reasons we’ve decided on giggingsuccess.com for our website address was because we knew that gigging was the universal language of the people that we are speaking to. But gigging doesn’t necessarily translate well into the non-entertainer population. They may not know what that is. But that’s the point. You have to use your language in a way that’s understood by the prospect as you would call that potential client. And you’re right, the repertoire has to be in a language of slow dances, for instance, or something like that. First songs is a really good way.
BRAD: Exactly. Or if you are going to use a genre, then the genre should be one that people kind of recognize. I mean, we have kind of soul and Motown acts and people know what Motown is. They don’t see Motown as a record label. They see Motown as a kind of genre and a style of music.
DEL: That’s exactly right.
BRAD: So kind of play into their hands with that. And sometimes, just because it didn’t come out on the Motown label but it might be perceived as being a Motown track, put it in the Motown section. Because that’s the way that people will digest the information and understand it.
DEL: We’re getting really into the nitty-gritty here of what makes a good website, and I think we should continue along that vein. And if you’re listening to the podcast, there are some good points coming up here that will be worth making a note of.
BRAD: Well, these are all kind of pretty simple. If you’ve got a website at the moment where you’ve got 35 tracks on your playlist page, then it’s so simple. Get in there, break them down into three or four different categories, and you’ve kind of implemented something which is going to make a pretty significant difference really.
DEL: Another point on that front is don’t assume that the person reading your repertoire or your set list, as we call them, knows just the title of the song. Put the artist that originally performed the song in as well.
BRAD: Made famous by.
DEL: Yeah, absolutely.
BRAD: Yeah, absolutely, yeah.
DEL: People will often come to us and say, “I’m looking for our first dance,” and they give you a line. But it’s a line from the song, not necessarily the title, maybe a line from the chorus or something. So if you put the actual titles of the songs that you cover on your set list and you don’t say who it’s by, they won’t recognize it and it just becomes a long list of words. So it’s a really good point to make.
BRAD: And they could absolutely love that song. That could be the song that kind of clinches the booking for them because they haven’t seen that anywhere else or whatever. You know what it is though? It’s about making it really easy for that prospect to say yes.
DEL: Absolutely. Yeah.
BRAD: That’s what it comes down to. It’s about engaging with them, making it easy for them to say yes. And there’s so many small, quick things that one can do to make that happen.
DEL: And keeping them on your site longer than they’re on the site of your competition. Give them information but make it in a way that’s accessible and that’s useful to them. We talked in the last podcast, podcast #2, we talked about FAQs and how important they can be, the frequently asked questions. And for people who hire entertainment really irregularly which, let’s face it, is most people, they really don’t know what the questions they should be asking are.
BRAD: Well, the one question that they do know what to ask, they always know to ask, “How much is it?”
DEL: That’s it.
BRAD: Yeah, that’s it. That’s the only question that they know. And it frustrates bands and entertainers when people ask that question. But we must understand that they don’t know what else to ask.
DEL: Yeah, that’s exactly right.
BRAD: They’ve never done this before. They’ve never booked a band. Well, at least, the private client, if you like, has never booked a band before. And even if you’re talking to like an events person at a charity organization, for example, and they do 25 events in a year, they might only book one or two bands. So again, all they’re concerned about, even more so because they’re looking for charity income, is how much is it?
DEL: Sure. And there’s a way to address that question because that does tend to come up first and it’s good, I think, at this point to refer back to the quote template that we have free and available on giggingsuccess.com. You fill in the blanks essentially. You’ve built a template so that bands and users can simply fill in the blanks.
BRAD: Well, we use that template.
DEL: And it’s been extremely effective especially when you compare it with the standard thing that most bands will just simply respond to a client’s inquiry with, “Yes, we’re available and this is how much we charge.”
BRAD: And do it in three lines.
DEL: Well, exactly. That’s right. They fade into that fog, that miasma of quotes. Here’s an interesting thing that’s worth pointing out. As an agency, we will pick up very many inquiries on a daily basis. And you mentioned in the last podcast, people tend to surf the net looking for bands certainly for their weddings in the evenings after coming home from work, having a glass of wine or a beer or whatever. And we notice, we know what time the inquiries are made. And they tend to be between half past 9:00 and say 11:30 in the evening. And people when they eventually get to our site, they may well have been on half a dozen other sites and sent inquiries to the bands on those sites or direct to bands. And this is a really useful tip here that we’ve picked up and developed over the years. They email you just the same as they’ve emailed six or seven other people. The speed of your response is essential. And I’m not saying you can sit there and manage your emails of an evening. But really, if you’re running your act or your band like a business, you want to get back as quickly as you possibly can to the inquiry using the template that we’ve provided on giggingsuccess.com which is free. It breaks my heart, but it’s free. So, yeah, if they use that template, the client is going to come across your email first, almost guaranteed. But another huge advantage you can have over your competition is if you call that client or text them, if they happen to have left you a number, text is actually best. In all the tests that we have done, sending a text message, an SMS, is more useful even than making a call because it’s not always convenient. You’re going to get voicemail pretty much all of the time. But even if you get voicemail, simply say, “Hi, it’s Brad here from Schwing, I look after Schwing, and just to let you know that we got your inquiry in last night for the band and I’ve sent an email to your inbox.” Because there’s a chance these days with email that it’s going to the junk mail folder or whatever. But just by getting that call from you or that text message from you to say that, “I’ve sent you an email,” you’ve stood out against the competition.
BRAD: Yeah. That’s what I would call a ninja tactic.
DEL: A ninja tactic. I like that. Yeah.
BRAD: Nobody is doing that apart from Hire A Band at the moment.
DEL: That’s true. I agree with that. And it works enormously well for us.
BRAD: Yeah. I think that’s fantastic. I think a lot of people get almost kind of nervous about communicating via mobile. And I think it’s important to kind of understand in this context that if somebody gives you their mobile number, they are saying in a roundabout kind of a way, “I give you permission to call me.”
DEL: Without a doubt.
BRAD: So, you know, contact them. If you contact them in this way, I think that’s brilliant, actually.
DEL: It’s fundamental to the way we operate here. When we open a new office, a new Hire A Band franchisee, we franchise our business now, a new Hire A Band franchisee, rule number one is that you follow up every email with a text now and you can do texting within Microsoft Outlook if that’s the platform that you use, and you can buy bundles of text.
BRAD: You can do it in Skype as well.
DEL: You can do it in Skype. That’s right. Yeah.
DEL: You’re the technical guy. So it will be worth maybe at some point listing all the ways that you can do that.
BRAD: Yeah, yeah.
DEL: But I think that that is a killer application, if you like, and it destroys the competition because they don’t do it. In fact, here’s the proof of the pudding. When we do communicate with someone within 24 hours, they get an email, they get a text message, or the call or whatever, they’re always like, you know, “I’m really surprised how quickly I heard back from you.” Because the experience of people who shop online is that if they get a response at all, it’s days after they’ve made the initial inquiry.
BRAD: Yeah. Yeah.
DEL: And you got to strike while the iron is hot. So that’s a massive tip for anyone.
BRAD: I can’t quite who it was from but I mean, in the kind of direct response marketing world, there’s people testing these things to death. But I think there was a significant increase in the conversion of an inquiry to a sale the quicker the response was to the inquiry.
BRAD: It just speaks volumes to that prospect in terms of the professionalism. It just speaks volumes.
DEL: And if your response in your email is based on the template that we have provided which is a proven converter of inquiries, it’s proven to work, then you’ve hit them twice, a right and a left.
BRAD: Absolutely. And that’s the whole multichannel marketing thing going on again.
DEL: Without a doubt.
DEL: So there’s two things that the competition aren’t doing. They don’t send a comprehensive quote or response back to an email inquiry and they don’t follow that. Even if they do send a couple of lines out to the client, they don’t follow that up with a text or an email to make sure that they got the inquiry. And here is something to bear in mind when it comes to communicating with people that have gotten in touch with you because they’re interested in hiring you, bearing in mind that they’re also looking at half a dozen, at least, other options. They’ve perhaps contacted you of an evening. And it may well be that they’ve gone off the boil a little bit. They think they’ve covered that aspect of their wedding if it’s a wedding they’re booking. So they may not be ready to buy when you’re ready to sell. They may just be making initial inquiries. And you have to keep in front of that person for a long time sometimes before they are ready to commit to making the booking. So you can’t assume that because someone hasn’t responded to your quote the very next day with the same speed that you have, that you’ve lost that client. And it’s essential that you have some form of software, some sort of management software that you can record who you’ve sent quotes to. And you can do it in Outlook. Outlook does a perfectly good job of that.
BRAD: Yeah, or you can get a spreadsheet, or you can kind of power up and get a CRM system, a customer relationship management which you can get many of them free which will do the job for you.
DEL: Absolutely. And then if you’ve got the knowhow and, to be honest, the desire to increase your diary, then you can set in place automatic followups that do that for you. And that may be getting a bit technical and that’s how we do things here because we have such a volume of inquiries. But there’s no reason why you can’t say, “Okay. Every Wednesday night, I’m going to send a little what we call a tickler email.” We have a seven-step follow-up process which is fully automated here at Hire A Band. But it doesn’t have to be automated. It’s just a reminder to yourself to get back in touch with that bride and groom and just to remind them who you are and if you can be of any further assistance. They’ve come to you so you’re not cold calling anyone. And people, quite rightly, have a difficulty with approaching people completely cold. But these people have approached you in the first place and made an inquiry, and you’ve gone to the trouble of building a website that encouraged that inquiry. You should take advantage as much as you possibly can of their interest in you and be there when they’re ready to book whether it’s this week…
BRAD: I think that’s the big kind of takeaway there and I think it’s in terms of be there when they’re ready to buy, not when you’re ready to sell. Are you prepared to share maybe a little bit of detail as to the timing of that followup?
DEL: Yeah. Well, absolutely. If I remember rightly, this is really rich coming from the MD, our systems are automated as I said. And we do change them. We test different time periods, if you like, but our initial inquiry will come in. We will respond to it the very next day. Or if it comes in before, say, 3:00 p.m., we will respond to it that same business day. So they get an immediate response. The email goes out first and then we will follow that up now with a text message if we have a mobile phone number. Now, our website is built in such a way that you have to give us a mobile number. And I’m not saying that that should always be the case in other people’s websites because it does put some people off. They don’t want to part with a mobile number. Do you really want to be chasing a client who’s not really ready to buy? So we try and qualify. The website does a lot of the filtering, if you like, for us early on. So we always have some kind of mobile or contact telephone number. Within five minutes of sending the email, we’ll follow up with a text or a phone call to say, “We’ve sent you an email.” Okay?
BRAD: Right. Yeah.
DEL: Then they’ll go into a seven-step follow-up process. The next contact they’ll get will be within five working days. And it tends to be that it’s every five working days after that until we get to the seventh method of contact. Now, within those seven steps that are mainly phone calls, they’ll get emails, they’ll be put on to our list. We have our wedding band showcase list. So everyone that comes to us and has shown an interest in one of the bands that we represent will go on to another list. It never ends, that series of emails. So every time we have a showcase which is when we bring together a number of wedding bands, put them in one particular and we invite people to come and see them live which is a very effective tool and something bands can do themselves which we’ll go in to later, but when you are on that list, that’s the last step, if you like, of the seven-step follow-up process. So over 35 days really, we’ve contacted that client seven times.
BRAD: Right. And you can almost bet that your competition hasn’t got anywhere near that level of contact.
DEL: We’ve not seen it yet. We monitor our competition really carefully. We haven’t really seen it yet. We tend to set the standards certainly in the UK as far as entertainment agencies are concerned. So generally, what we do gets copied eventually. But we haven’t yet seen certainly a seven-step follow-up process and it’s like one of the 10 commandments here at Hire A Band. Our system is set up in such a way that it does it automatically. But for the phone calls, our team here, our agents here, get an email or a message within our system to say it’s time to phone such and such and we just make that call. And more often than not, it’s a voicemail and it’s just a matter of reminding them that you’re here.
BRAD: Yeah. Do you then follow that phone call up with an email as well?
DEL: Yeah, we do it the other way around now Brad. We’ve now implemented that in that seven-step process but always as an email now and the phone call is the excuse. You have to have a reason to call someone.
BRAD: A reason, yeah.
DEL: And that’s what we do. And each of those emails is prewritten. It’s already been written. We’ve experimented with it. And it’ll have links in various little points in it. We keep it all text only so that it gets through a lot of the spam filters with as few links as possible. In fact, we try and link to one page in our website which then has links within it, sort of a landing page for that particular client. And that’s a whole other discussion about landing pages and stuff. But that’s how it works.
BRAD: Well, I think, what’s interesting there as well was you said you got to have a reason to contact them. And I think a lot of people don’t want to contact because they don’t have a reason to contact.
DEL: You’re just pestering there, aren’t you? You feel as if you’re pestering someone.
BRAD: Exactly. Yeah. We’re kind of going deep into this kind of topic of kind of following up. What we try and do is we’re constantly thinking about how we can move that prospect to the next step. It’s very unlikely that they’re going to make an inquiry and book the next day.
DEL: Oh, sure.
BRAD: As much as we would love that to happen, 99.9999% of the time, it doesn’t happen. They are looking at a myriad of different options of bands. But what we want them to be doing is continually moving closer and closer to booking ours. And if we see that as a pathway, then how can we get them to move closer and closer towards us without feeling as though we’re just selling to them. So we’ve kind of developed a number of different things that we can offer them which isn’t selling and is value giving.
DEL: An essential point. I totally agree with that. Yeah.
BRAD: Yeah. We have various kind of free reports based around the various different genres of the bands that we work with. And it’s things that educate that prospect as to yes, the benefits of what we’re offering, for one thing, but it will also help them in their buying process. And when you’re helpful to somebody, they will gravitate towards you. They’ll be magnetic towards you.
DEL: I really agree. Your calls don’t have to be, “Book us, book us, book us.” One of our emails is the Top 10 First Dances for Weddings. So if it’s a wedding client, you’ve got to be specific with regards to the market that you’re selling into. So this wouldn’t work obviously if it was a corporate client. But you can certainly give corporate clients some top 10s. Top 10s are great. So we will send an email saying, “In the UK, this is the number one first dance at this point.” And we also have the odd occasional YouTube video link that we’ll send out with something funny happening or a great first dance at a wedding. And you see these things these days where the bride and groom have practiced some brilliant dance routine. We will sometimes send that. And all you’re doing is waving to that prospect and saying to them, “We’re still here.” And one thing’s for sure, Brad, seven emails and phone calls later, your competition will have dropped off after the first or the second followup, if there’d been a second one at all.
BRAD: As I was going to say.
DEL: You’re the only guy left in the field.
BRAD: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. And the chances are, life has got in their way. They probably haven’t even seen your second, third, or fourth email. But now, on day 25, they kind of like, “Oh, you know what? We got to get this band stuff done.” And then all of a sudden, your email pops into the inbox and it’s like you’re still there.
DEL: It’s an absolute killer this and it’s one of the best ways to increase the number of bookings you get straight away.
BRAD: But I think what’s so key about this and I think the big barrier for most bands and entertainers is, “What do I follow up with?” And I think we just touched on a couple of things. It’s about the contact. It’s about you just being there. What you’re trying to do… and this is not my phrase. This comes from, I believe, Joe Polish. He was a carpet cleaner turned marketer extraordinaire. He said, “All you’re really trying to do is get them to know you, like you, and trust you.” But the reality of it is they don’t really want to speak to you.
DEL: Yeah. That’s right.
BRAD: They’re not really interested in speaking to you unless they’re very interested in what you’ve got. They don’t really want to speak to you. So how can you get them to know, like you, and trust you via email?
DEL: Absolutely. And it doesn’t have to be constantly just saying, as we said earlier, “Because we’re still here. Are you still interested?” That’s a killer. You never want to do that. You never want to keep saying, “Would you still like to book us?” They’d want to get rid of you if you’re constantly in their face. And a quick, short way of doing that is to say, “No, I’ve got a band.” You’re not going to convert every single inquiry. But if you are just there and available to them, and that’s why we find texting to be… at this point in life, this is the easiest way. People will respond to text a hundred percent more often than they will to a phone call. A phone call can be intrusive if someone’s at work which generally they are. Then they can’t answer your call anyway. And sometimes, if you see a voicemail message in your phone, it’s a hassle to call it up, listen to it. And you’ll find that those voicemail messages can be deleted as soon as you’ve told people who you are. They don’t want to hear it. But everyone reads a text message. As you said, if someone’s given you their phone number, they’ve given you their tacit approval to contact them via that method. As long as you’re letting them know another email has arrived or, “I sent you something interesting,” or whatever, and each band can figure out their own ways of what they’re going to say in a followup. But the point is, you should follow up. You may have built a website or advertised a website at some expense and there were marketers there, and every single inquiry cost you money in the first place. And when you don’t follow that up or respond to it quickly, you’ve just thrown that money away.
BRAD: Yeah, you’re leaving money on the table. Think how you can kind of picture this in your mind. Let’s say as a band, you’ve responded to maybe 15 inquiries in the last three weeks, let’s say, and you’ve got interest from one of them. So you’ve got 15 leads and you’ve got one of those leads interested. And that’s from one contact. So you’ve got 14 leads that currently haven’t responded to the quote that you’ve sent through or to your initial contact. If you follow up five times to each one of those 14 leads, the chances are you’re going to convert at least another one.
DEL: Yeah, that’s right.
BRAD: One more, and you’ve doubled your bookings.
BRAD: You’ve doubled your bookings. That’s it. I feel the necessity to kind of quote people where I get my information from and credit where credit’s due. But Dean Jackson is another marketer which I’m a huge fan of and one of the things that he talks about, and this is something that we can kind of leave people with as a to-do to get an immediate result from, is if you take those 14 leads and you can follow up with them and you can put your system into places Del has outlined. But initially, take those 14 leads and send them a one-line email. In the subject line, put their first name in it and then say, “Dear (their first name), are you still looking for a band for your wedding event?” or whatever that might be, and then sign off with your name. Don’t put anything else in there. Don’t put a signature in there. Ask them that question and you’ll be amazed at how people respond. Because I’ve tried that and literally, people will come back. They are so intrigued just to why you’re asking them that question. Because it’s not a sales question. You’re not trying to sell something to them. Literally, you just say, “Are you still looking for a band for your wedding? Brad.” You know, that’s it. You know, no signature, nothing. Because what we want to do naturally is to kind of add a little sales message under there. “Oh, we’re playing at so and so if you want to come down and see us.” Just try it. I think it’s kind of a bit of something that people can get an immediate result from now, hopefully.
DEL: Yeah, absolutely. And a chap who I listen to a lot and read a lot of is a British marketer called Chris Cardell. And he talks about whether that client comes back and books or says, “Go away,” you’ve got a result. If you’re using your time to follow up people and someone says, “Okay, I don’t want to hear from you anymore,” or “I’ve got a band,” or whatever, that’s fine. That’s a result as well. And you can close that inquiry down and that lets you concentrate on the other prospects who haven’t switched you off. One of the last things we do, the seventh step, if you like, in the Hire A Band follow-up process if it’s a wedding inquiry is to add them onto that showcase list and they stay there until they die or they tell us to go away or their wedding date passes. Our system automatically stops sending out those invitations to showcases after the wedding date has passed. Because you don’t want to be sending people three years after they got married an invite to see a wedding band showcase.
BRAD: Sure. Sure.
DEL: But you know what? We will fill every single wedding band showcase we do, every single one. And we do one a month. And we’ll have them all full and those people have come as a response to that last seventh followup. At a good showcase, we can book 50 nights. We can take 50 bookings in a reasonably good showcase from the six bands that are there. And those are people who may not have responded to us at all to those other seven steps.
BRAD: So there’s, I think, the big lesson. We’re going to kind of close off now. We’re at the 45. I think what we should talk about next time, Del, is this idea of being able to make sure that you spend your valuable time and resources actually following up with prospects whose events you want to play at.
DEL: Yeah. Yup.
BRAD: And that’s about kind of choosing your market and identifying your market and creating a USP for your market so they will almost kind of magnetize towards you. So maybe that’s something that we’ll pick up on next time.
BRAD: So just a reminder again, if you go to giggingsuccess.com, you can download the free quote template which has increased our bookings by 23 percent. So there’s something again that you can use immediately, literally fill in the blanks, and get going with it. You’ll start seeing results off the back of it. There’s also a 15-minute video there which talks you through the psychology and why there are certain elements in that quote template. So get down to giggingsuccess.com and you can get that there.
DEL: So the other podcasts are all there as well, aren’t they?
BRAD: Yeah, they’re either there or you can kind of get down to kind of iTunes and subscribe on there and get them on your iPhone, whatever it might be and have a listen to us in the car.
DEL: Other phones are available.
BRAD: Okay, Del, it’s been great. We’ll speak next time.
DEL: Okay, Brad. See you soon.