Del and Brad, successful businessmen in band marketing, give more pointers and tricks on how to get gigs and being able to increase your clientele. The key to any success is hard work, but what good is hard work if you are not doing the right thing? This is a good opportunity to build your marketing plan. Listen from the masters of gigging.
There isn’t just one way of getting people to notice what it is that you’ve got to offer. – Brad
There’s always those dates in a diary that we need to fill. And even if the diary is very, very healthy, you have to maintain it. – Del
For me, it’s about changing the mindset of where you are at the moment. – Brad
It’s about being prepared to take the responsibility for your own diary. – Del
One of the biggest issues was would the band actually turn up? – Brad
Why is no one booking us? Most of the time, it’s about marketing and promotion. – Brad
If you spend an hour and a half, if any of us do that and look at the competition that we’re up against, all the websites start to seem the same. – Del
DEL: This is Gigging Success podcast #2.
BRAD: Yes, exciting.
DEL: [Laughs]. It sure is. I think what we should do with this one just to give people an idea if they’re indexing or keeping a tab on the things that we chat about, this podcast is going to be about the big one – how to get more gigs. And we’re going to talk about the basics, kind of a boot camp on how to get more gigs.
BRAD: Yeah. So this will be kind of an overview, some kind of key tactics and strategies really, wouldn’t it?
DEL: Pretty much the things we have discovered that work and some of the things that we discovered that don’t work over the many years that we have been in the business.
BRAD: Yeah. So maybe we should just briefly, for anybody that hasn’t caught up with the podcast before, in two minutes should we sum each other’s careers up to this point?
DEL: Sure, absolutely.
BRAD: You go first? Yeah?
DEL: Absolutely. And so I’m Del Cotton. I’m a just recently retired gigging musician. I’m also the MD at hireaband.co.uk, the entertainment agency. And we have been running the agency now since 1999. The agency itself came out of a very full diary from my own band. And, you know, you name it, I’ve been there. I’ve schlepped up the stairs of… worked in every kind of venue imaginable for every kind of gig that you can possibly think of. And I’m still here to tell the tale.
BRAD: Fantastic. I’m Brad Lazarus. I’m the owner and MD at LM2 Entertainment. We are a management company effectively for function bands. My background was in the music business. I started out in the post room, worked at A&M Records, worked my way through the ranks as a plugger, and then to cut a long story short, set up a management company nearly 10 years ago now in actual fact, and signed a couple of acts to major labels, and decided about two and a half years into that when they weren’t becoming big chart successes that I needed to really go into a slightly less risky place in terms of the business, and hence the reason for going down the management of function bands route. So we now manage a small stable of acts. We’re relatively unique in the marketplace in the fact that we are purely a management company and not an agency. So I’ve spent a long time studying the marketing of the bands because that’s what I do as opposed to you, Del, that started out as the performer. And you kind of really just… you found yourself doing the things that got you the gigs without kind of almost knowing that they were the right thing for you, wasn’t it?
DEL: That’s exactly right and mainly through trial and error and if I’m honest, mainly through error. So it took a long time really to figure out what we’ve kind of stumbled on. And what we are talking about in Gigging Success and in the Gigging Success podcasts is how to get shortcuts, if you like, to avoid all those mistakes that I’ve certainly made over the years and now that I look after bands as their representative, as an entertainment or a talent agent, how we’ve helped those bands to get busy with their diaries which is exactly what you do with LM2. You’ve got very busy bands that you look after. And obviously, in that time, you’ve found techniques and tips and tools to enhance the bookings that you get for the bands that you represent. And in my own way, I think, with my own bands and my own gigging experience and then luckily with the agency, we’ve had to do the same. And what we always talked about when we first spoke together was about marketing. It was our thing, wasn’t it?
BRAD: Yeah. I mean, I’ve got a passion for it, really. It’s almost a bit of a therapy for me, the whole kind of marketing and understanding that there isn’t just one way of getting people to notice what it is, you know, that you’ve got to offer. There’s so many different ways. And, you know, that’s what’s kind of…. you know, Gigging Success came from that thought, really, is that, you know, we need to share these ideas with all you people out there who are, you know, looking to get more gigs. So we should actually kind of clarify that, shouldn’t we, in the sense that, you know, if you’re deciding whether you want to listen to the next 40 minutes of this podcast and whether it’s worth it or not… you know, who are we targeting here, Del? Who would be best placed to carry on listening?
DEL: Well, the way we’ve said it before and the way that I think of who Gigging Success is for, really it’s for anyone who makes some or all of their living as a performer. So we are not looking at guys who are, you know, out there to sign record deals, the people you worked with before when you worked in the record labels. And we’re looking at the guys who go out and perform either at the weekends or through the week and who make some or all of their living, some of their income or all of their income, from the performances that they do. And generally speaking, our background is in bands and in covers bands but really for anyone – DJs, solo acts, tribute acts, people who go out and put their egos on the line every single Friday and Saturday and then do the performances whether it’s in bars or pubs or clubs, whether it’s for private functions at parties or corporate events. Those guys and those girls are the people who, I’m certain, will learn lots and lots of things from this.
BRAD: Yeah. It’s important to say that, because a lot of these concepts are kind of universal across all entertainer types, you know. So what you’ll find is that we talk a lot about bands because that’s obviously kind of, you know, where we come from and that’s where we kind of honed our chops, I suppose, to use a musical term, really. Isn’t it?
BRAD: You know, these concepts and ideas and strategies and tactics are as applicable to, you know, soloists, duos, trios, quartets, up to bands, even, you know, entertainers along the lines of kind of, you know, jugglers or whatever that might be.
DEL: Sure. Yeah. We should clarify that. So whatever we say, he or she, we mean either sex, and whenever we say bands, we’re referring to anyone who is in the performance industry either on a full-time or a part-time basis. Even if you do, you know, write all your material and you’re out there trying to cut a break with your own material, there’re things that you can learn from the experience that we have gathered over the years and from the experiences of the people that we know and have talked to that, I think, will be invaluable. So there are lots of lessons to be learned. Tonight, we’re going to be talking about just how to get more gigs, the basic number one thing that everyone wants to know. And, you know, none of us have ever got too many gigs. There’s always those dates in a diary that we need to fill. And even if the diary is very, very healthy, you have to maintain it. There’s no point in just getting the diary filled then taking your foot off the gas and thinking that your diary is going to, you know, stay in good shape for the rest of your days. Because new bands come along, things change, styles change. So you have to keep your eye on the diary, your foot on the gas, because you’re really only as good as your last gig. So no matter what the condition… even if you’re starting off fresh, then Gigging Success is a great way to avoid all the mistakes and the early-stage cockups that we’ve all made when we’ve been trying to form bands, get our first gigs, knowing what to ask for as far as fees are concerned, how long you’ll play. All of those things are discussed in Gigging Success. And it’s a good idea to just remind people that if they want to find out more about what we’re all about and what Gigging Success is all about, it’s simply a matter of visiting gigging success.com and you’ll find our podcast and stuff there.
BRAD: Yeah. And you know, it’s worth getting along to the website. You know, if you leave your email address there, you can receive a free quote template which we actually use in our businesses which has increased booking rates by 23 percent in actual fact. You know, we track everything in our businesses. So we know exactly… when we implement a new marketing tactic, for example, we measure the results and the results of this particular quote template which you can receive if you leave your email address, achieve that result. And if you do, there’s also a video. I’ve done a 15-minute video which just talks you through the psychology behind the various elements in that quote template, so well worth getting along to giggingsuccess.com for that.
BRAD: Should we start though with maybe kind of what some of the problems are that people have when it comes to kind of getting gigs? You know, what are some of the obstacles? I mean, you know, you’ve had them firsthand. You know, I can imagine… I know you’ve had some great success over an extended period of years, you know, but there must’ve been times where you’ve looked at the diary and got that kind of cold shiver.
DEL: [Laughs]. That’s absolutely true, especially when you’re starting out. I started out, you know, from scratch on several occasions. It tends to happen when you’re leaving one band and you form another band. So, you know, it’s not absolutely only a problem for the newbies, the guys who have just decided to put a band together and get out there. I mean, those problems seem vast. But, you know, even experienced guys, when they form new bands, they kind of start with an empty diary. And you’ve got to get out there and try and get the diary filled. So there are lots of barriers, I guess, that seem insurmountable when you’re faced with an empty diary or a diary that needs a little bit of life support pumped into it. And that’s what we’re going to talk about now. And, I guess, the first thing that faces us is where do we start? I mean, what’s the best way of going about making people aware of the band in the first place or whatever it is that you happen to be doing as a performer, how do you raise awareness? The market’s absolutely chock full of established acts, and they seem to catch all the gigs. Those are the guys that have been in certain venues over the years and they catch the gigs. They are the guys who usually get the call first. So how do we break into those venues either that we have never played in before or that we’d like to play in?
BRAD: Yeah. Well, I mean, I think going right back to the beginning of this process, really, is … let’s say for sake of argument you might have a full-time job and just be gigging at weekends, hobby based, maybe doing it a little bit semi-pro, maybe you’ve got like one gig in the diary per month, you’re playing at a wedding, for example. How are you going to get from that to two gigs? You know, that’s your first goal almost, two gigs. And for me, it’s about changing the mindset of where you are at the moment. Because if you’re just looking at the band as being a hobby but you want more gigs, I think you need to change the way that you think about how you get these gigs. Because the reality of it is that there’s too much competition out there in the marketplace just for gigs to come and fall in your lap. You have to go out there and actually go and proactively look for them. And the way that you look for them is through marketing, is through going out there, finding a particular marketplace that you would like to play. You know, first off, think, “What’s your ideal gig?” Where would you like to be playing, you know? You have a choice. You know, the gigs don’t necessarily… it’s up to you where you want to play. You should dictate that, not the other way around. You shouldn’t feel desperate about where you play. You should have a very clear idea about the type of gig that you want in the diary and then you should go out and put a campaign together or at least throw a couple of tactics together to go out and find that gig. So I think being more strategic about how you approach things. So, yes, it’s a hobby and it still can be fun. Being a strategic marketer of your band can still be fun because it’s really great fun when you end up playing at the venue for the type of client that you earmarked, you know, 60 days earlier. That’s the fun bit. So it can be a fun process and it should be a fun process. So I would really be thinking about how you kind of start with the end in mind, in essence.
DEL: Yeah. I couldn’t agree more. I think that what we have to assume is that people who go to the trouble of buying equipment and rehearsing songs, want to see some kind of return in their investment. So it’s great to get gigs where you get to play… if for instance, you’re an obscure tribute band, let’s say. Let’s say you do Steely Dan covers and that’s your thing. Well, the idea is to get more of those kind of gigs and hopefully to get paid a reasonable return on them. But that would perhaps be a slightly different set of ambitions than for someone who has grown used to the income that they get. Because no matter what income you have from your day job, should you have a day job, you get used to the money that you earn as a gigging musician. And I think we have to come from the assumption that everyone wants to earn a little bit more and play at nicer venues, be a little better treated than we normally can be, and we want to be able to invest perhaps in the band and the equipment that we use. It’s always nice to have new guitars and new amps and new drums and new keyboards and stuff. And if that’s your thing, then why not? You know, why not earn more money?
BRAD: Yeah, absolutely. And that’s what a business would do. A business would invest back in itself to continue to grow. And that is really important. But so many bands aren’t able to do that because they can’t get the gig numbers and they can’t get the fees that they want for the gigs. And I think the other thing that I see as well is a lot of bands, musicians, entertainers, again we should keep it broad, almost kind of feel resentful when they’re at a gig because they’re not getting paid enough. It’s a long way away from where they want to be. It’s not the type of venue that they want to be playing at. It’s not the type of client. They’re not being treated very well. And it doesn’t need to be like that. And it shouldn’t be like that, particularly if you’re working as a hobby-based semi-pro, as well. You know, it can be different. And it should be different. And it’s just a case of changing the way that you think about how you approach the kind of the promotion and marketing of your band that will enable you to right all those wrongs, if you like.
DEL: I think the one thing that will determine the level that you’re performing at and the level of your income is demand. If there’s demand for your particular shows, for your band, or for your act, then you can call the shots. You can say, you know, “I’m going to play at that venue,” or “I wouldn’t play at that venue.” And when I was gigging at my peak, doing those 80 or 90 gigs a year, you know, in wedding events and in corporate events and things like that, we were able to at that point then to say, “Well, we no longer have to travel as far as we traveled previously.” Or we wouldn’t be prepared to perform in those venues that were difficult to perform in either because the staff were unpleasant or disagreeable or because the access was tough. And demand allowed us to pick and choose where we would perform. And also, we were able to edge our fees up quite considerably so that we were getting the money the we felt made it worthwhile for us to go out and travel certain distances and play certain venues. So demand is the thing and I think the first thing we have to do is determine how we can increase demand for the band or for the show that we perform. What’s your take on that?
BRAD: Just before we get onto that, one thing which I always think about is this analogy of standing on the beach looking at the ocean. Before you think I’m going mad, let me explain. This idea that a lot of bands will sit around feeling sorry for themselves because they feel as though there aren’t any gigs out there, nobody wants to book them, the economy is bad, these are all alibis. These are all reasons that you formulated in your head as to why you’re not getting the gigs. And going back to my analogy of standing on the shore, I believe… this is the mindset that one needs to have approaching this. If you imagine all the gig numbers that you could ever possibly want is the sea, you’re on the seashore with a bucket, you walk up to the sea, which are all the gigs, you put the bucket in, you fill the bucket up as much as you want, and you walk away content with how full that bucket is. And that’s how it can be. But it just takes some hard work, some thought, some strategizing to be able to go and confidently, strategically, you know, walk to the shore and put your bucket in and fill it up as much as you want. But the gigs are out there.
DEL: And that’s the mindset, isn’t it? That’s the thing you were talking about at the start.
BRAD: Totally. Yeah.
DEL: It’s about being prepared to take the responsibility for your own diary. Because really, what separates the busy bands, the big earning bands, from those who aren’t as busy really is the attitude that we’re going to treat the band like a business. And even if people aren’t aware that’s what they’re doing, if people are marketing their band properly, if they’re looking at the nine or ten things you can do to market your band, just the very basics, there are nine or ten things that you can start to do today and we’ve all discussed those. People may be waiting to hear that but we’ve all discussed those things.
BRAD: Well, I think this is all important kind of lead-up stuff. Yeah.
DEL: Yeah. And the mindset is, look, there are tools that you can use. There are actions that you can take to go out there and pick those gigs up. And some things take longer than others to kick in. And some of the biggest diary busters, if you like, take a while to establish. But once they get rolling, then there’s a snowball effect. And there’s one thing that gets a diary busier and that’s a busy diary. The way we talk to bands here at Hire A Band is one gig should always get you at least another gig.
BRAD: That’s your best advert.
DEL: Absolutely. You’ve just done the job and providing you’re able to fill a dance floor and keep people happy and all of that, then that’s your chance. You’re being seen and auditioned if you like, if it’s a wedding and there’s a hundred people there, there’s going to be 30 or 40 of them who are the same age as the bride and groom who are thinking about getting married over the next two or three years. And we found that with the weddings that we were doing, we would always come away with at least one… it may not have been the very next week. That definitely would have been almost impossible. But, you know, six months, 12 months later, you would get a call or an email from someone and they would be… in fact, in my day, it was just a phone call. In fact, it was almost a carrier pigeon. It’s that long ago. But they would come to you with a request and it will say, “Oh, we saw you at such and such’s wedding.” And by that time, you can’t remember anything about that particular gig. But, yeah, so you would pick that job up and that would lead on to more. And at one point, I remember we did entire families, all the siblings in a family.
BRAD: What I was going to say, I mean, if you come out of London… London can be quite a tricky one to kind of keep the boundaries of referrals, if you like, in place. But as you go out, you know, to the towns and cities outside of London, the word of mouth seems to travel quicker.
DEL: It sure does. Yeah.
BRAD: And I found that one of our bands, Schwing, was up in Leeds. And over the last four years, we’ve worked our way around not just the brothers and the sisters of the families but we’ve worked our way around a whole crowd of friends, you know. And it took time to get to that point. But it’s such a great thing when the phone call comes in and they’re not phoning to do anything else apart from book the band, and that’s a great thing.
DEL: Yeah, it’s lovely. When those bookings come in, a kind of cheer goes up among the team and the staff here at Hire A Band. Because usually, there can be quite a lot of hand holding between the initial inquiry for a particular act and then the booking itself particularly in the wedding market. That’s something to be remembered. There are no real instant results in the wedding market because people tend to book things 6 to 12, sometimes 18 months in advance. But when you have someone that just sees a band on the website and has been to a wedding that they’ve seen a particular band at and they come to us to make that booking, it’s terrific. You know, they call up, are they available, what’s the price, boom! The booking’s made. And that’s fantastic. But it’s rare. So going back to the success that Schwing have had in Leeds and the various bands that are out there that are doing well, what is it they do at the gigs that they have, assuming that…
BRAD: Well, for Schwing, they got me managing them.
BRAD: [Laughs]. That’s what they’re doing well, Del.
DEL: Yeah. I get that. What did they do, I mean, on the night? Let’s go right back to… should we look at a gig, do you think, and do a little kind of examination of the life of a gig on the day of the actual event itself? One of the things we see here at Hire A Band is that you can be the best band in the world but if you don’t get to the gig on time or at all, then you’re absolutely no use to anyone. And nothing will destroy a reputation for a band more than the non-performance side of things going wrong. Is that your experience?
BRAD: Oh, massively, yeah. I mean, we surveyed our clients. I’m looking up on my wall here because we’ve got the results of the survey. We surveyed I think it was like a hundred of our previous clients. And by far, what came up on top was – I’m just looking at it now actually – it was… where is it? Yeah. One of the biggest issues was would the band actually turn up? You know, if you think about the emotional impact and anxiety levels that the client is going through, if that’s what their biggest concern is what you need to do as a band is just to alleviate that concern, just say, “Look, everything’s going to be okay.” You know, you need to continually communicate that, that that’s not something they need to worry about. If they want to worry about anything, don’t worry about anything to do with the band because it’s covered. You need to be finding ways of communicating that to them. But I think that’s a big, big concern.
DEL: Yeah. You know, a golden tip is the fact that fear is out there, you can kind of capitalize on that. Because every one of us has heard stories of bands not turning up for events and it is the kiss of death. These days with internet forums everywhere, it only takes one disaster like that and your name is mud. If you build up 10 or 15 years of fantastic gigging experiences and then one gig you don’t get to and for reasons that were kind of within your control, double bookings, that kind of thing, or just plain forgetting, which sometimes happens, then all that hard work that’s gone into building your career has been flushed away. So you’ve got to take advantage of the fact that people out there do concern themselves over the fact that the band, you know… “Are they going to get here?” That is our number one question, too. Of the thousands of bookings that we’ll do every year, the one thing that we know worries people most is, “Are we going to be left without entertainment for our wedding?” Or, “Am I going to have a room with a thousand delegates in it and the MC doesn’t turn up, the host, the band for the evening doesn’t turn up?” That’s the concern. And entertainers should capitalize on that to an extent just as you said by addressing that issue early on in the process.
BRAD: Imagine you’re in a situation where the client, your prospect, the bride, the groom, has got three bands on a shortlist. And she can’t tell the difference between those three at the moment. She doesn’t know what the difference is because so many bands, I feel, are kind of targeting nobody in particular. And if you just come out with one piece of communication to her to alleviate that fear that you will turn up, for example, here’s a short case study of you turning up at a couple of weddings, here’s a testimonial from a previous bride and groom and it references how you turned up on time, you were really helpful, etcetera, etcetera. That will put you at the top of that shortlist. That’s the competitive advantage, and it’s so easy to do.
DEL: Well, I think this touches on something we were talking about earlier today, in fact, which was the whole concept of knowing what your market is and then addressing that market with the appropriate messages. So if you’ve decided… and to anyone listening, the wedding market is a massive kind of recession-proof business that’s pretty constant throughout the course of the year, obviously with its peaks in the summer months, but increasingly, there are weddings happening right throughout the course of the year. And that applies the world over. No matter where you are listening to this, you’ll find that the wedding market is… certainly, I would recommend anyone, if they can find a way into it, should certainly make it a target market. And when you are selling into that market, when you’re trying to get booked for weddings and events like that, and civil partnerships and things, then you really should make your message appropriate to that market. And we know and we’ve just established that the big number one fear the market has is, “Will the entertainment be reliable? Will they get here?” And I think that your point about having the kind of proof that you are a reliable band is essential. You know, what I would say, Brad, is that the tips and the techniques and the things that you learn at Gigging Success, if you take half of those things on board, you’ll be 99…
BRAD: Yeah. You take 15 percentand you can kind of create a competitive advantage for yourself. Yeah.
DEL: Yeah. And that’s because most bands don’t have the mindset that we talked about which is to go out there and win gigs. They kind of wait for the gigs to come to them and wonder why the phone isn’t ringing or they don’t get the emails.
BRAD: Well, it’s a classic case, isn’t it, of … the mentality is build it and they will come. You know, you’ve got this great band. You know, everybody’s great. The guitarist is a great player. His technique is topnotch. You’ve got this great vocalist. Why is no one booking us? And it’s like there is a very good reason. And there will always be a very good reason. And most of the time, it’s about marketing and promotion.
DEL: I agree. And we see it time and time again that it isn’t alwayshe fastest that wins the race. It’s not always. In fact, it’s got very little to do with the actual quality of the performance that a band can put out. What I always see, and we’ve discussed this, is that, it’s not about how good you play. Because most people, most of what we call civilians, most buyers, entertainment hirers, they wouldn’t know a good band from a great band. They’d certainly know a good band from a bad one. You know, the bad guys, they can’t get arrested. No one can help them. If they don’t have the basic chops, then there’s nothing that can be done. But your average entertainment buyer is in awe of anyone who can go up on a stage and perform and have the balls to go out there and perform in the first place and to actually get a tune out of all the instruments that are assembled on the stage. That just satisfies them enormously. And when we at Hire A Band… I know your standards are very high at LM2, and at Hire A Band, we say, “Look, it’s a given that you’re going to be able to perform and that you have good enough tunes in your repertoire to go out there and perform for the length of time that’s required.” That’s a given. And to be honest, getting back to the buyer of entertainment, they kind of assume that that’s going to be, that you can actually achieve what a band or an entertainment show is supposed to achieve which is to entertain. But the big thing, from our point of view is all the off-stage preparation and all the off-stage work that you do to get… because once you’ve got the gig, you’ve got the gig. And then that’s where the agent… his job’s kind of done at that point, and the manager, too. You put the band on the stage and then it’s over to them.
BRAD: Sure. Absolutely. Yeah. So, prior to that and going back to your point about deciding… this is wrapped up with who do you want as your ideal client and what are you going to do to engage with that prospect in order to turn them into a client? Because so often, we see on so many websites, and well, at some stage we’ll maybe even do like kind of a website critique and put it on the blog. But, I see website after website of bands that are just talking about themselves. And I think the key thing is to realize that it really isn’t about the band. It’s about what result you’re going to give to your client.
BRAD: That’s what they’re interested in. They’re interested in what you can do for them. They’re not interested in the technicalities of how great you are as a guitarist or what range you have as a vocalist. They’re not interested. They just are concerned about what you can do for their event, the memories that you’ll help create for them, how many delegates are going to be, kicking it on the dance floor until 2:00 in the morning so the company is seen in a great light from their client. That’s what they’re interested in. And it’s really, really important that those messages come across in a website. Because I think one of the things about… again, going back to the website, and we see it so often, there’s two types of websites almost. There’s that brochure website which literally is, “This is us and this is what we do,” and that’s it. But then there’s also websites that actually sell the band. They’re kind of sales and marketing machines, if you like. They do the selling for the bands, you know. Nowadays, I think there’s so much searching online. There’s so much activity that at least a bride and groom will go through. They will spend from 10 o’clock until midnight just searching online. And they don’t want to call you. They don’t want to call you as a band leader or whoever the representative of your band is. They don’t want it as they almost know that they’re going to get sold to. So the only opportunity that you really have as a band to sell your band is on the website. So there’s just such a multitude of things that one can kind of do in order for that to happen. I mean, the simplest thing is in FAQs. Now, I’ve got a bit of a thing about FAQs because you go on to every band’s websites and the FAQs… you could literally interchange FAQ pages amongst bands. And they almost kind of know the… what do we call it? We can them hygiene factors here.
BRAD: You know, what are the hygiene factors? “Have you got public liability insurance?” “Yes, we have,”. What’s the other one? “Are you PAT tested?” “Yes, we are.” You know, those are hygiene factors. They can get that information anywhere. They don’t relate specifically to your band. Where, I think you can engage on a deeper level with a prospect without even talking to them, and I think that’s the key to it, is by really stopping to think about the last 10 conversations that you had with a client or a prospect. What were the questions that they asked, and what were the answers that you gave them? And really think about that. Or if you can’t remember, the next time you’re on the phone, keep a pad by the phone and jot down what the question is. Because that’s the question that they want the answer to, not whether you’ve got PAT certificates or you’ve got public liability insurance. They want to know the deeper stuff, the stuff that you’re not really that concerned with but they are.
DEL: And those are questions that are going to be personal to them and that’s the point you made earlier, that the prospect, as we refer to people in marketing speak, or the potential hirer, they’re concerned with their event and not anyone else’s. So they’re going to have their own individual questions and it tends to be the same ones. They follow a theme. But I think that the technical marketing guys, unless your background is very much immersed in the whole technical side of marketing and the engineering and the psychology behind marketing which, I think, is fascinating but sometimes just goes right over the top of my head. But you always refer to selling the benefits, don’t you? You don’t sell the, “We’re a five-piece band and we’re brilliant.” You know, “We deliver great weddings. We make happy brides and grooms.” That’s what they want to hear.
BRAD: Yeah. And things like, “We have a repertoire which keeps the 16-year-old to the 106-year-old on the dance floor all night.” You know, that’s what they’re looking for. They’re not looking for what the repertoire is. They will do. Of course, they will. They want to know the detail when they get to that point in the buying cycle. But initially, they want to know that those key things that they’re thinking about, you’re going to address those in those benefits.
BRAD: I’ve kind of banged on about the FAQ side of things but certain questions are challenging questions. You know, they could ask a question they’re thinking and I think what shows leadership is thinking about what your prospect is thinking about before they’ve even thought about it, if that makes sense.
DEL: Yeah, it makes sense.
BRAD: You know, they don’t know what questions to ask you because they don’t know. They don’t know what they don’t know yet. You need to kind of preempt what they’re going to think. Now, we’re in a massively advantageous position because we talk to these prospects. Well, you and I do, Del, day in and day out. But, if you’ve been running a band for any length of time, you will have spoken to prospects and you would have understood, as you just mentioned, what the key questions are. They’ll be subconsciously thinking, “Well, I want my dance floor full all night.” But what happens if the dance floor is empty? What’s the band going to do about it? So we have an FAQ. So how do you make sure the dance floor is kept full? Now, there is a concise answer to that question because that’s a question that they might not have even thought of consciously but subconsciously, they have thought of it. Now, if we can think ahead of them that puts us in a hugely advantageous position over any of our competitors that are looking for the gig.
DEL: I couldn’t agree more. Yeah. And that’s one of those tools that we can use, isn’t it, to kind of get the conversation around to making us look, or our band look like the solution to the problems that they perhaps hadn’t even thought about. Certainly, in our experience, people tend to hire bands fairly irregularly. So if it’s a wedding, and as I always say, unless it’s Elizabeth Taylor, you’re going to have one wedding with this particular client and that’s it. They don’t know how to find the best band. And if they go to Google or any other big search engines, they’re going to be faced with tens of thousands of choices. And there are ways with SEO, that you’re a particular expert in, that we can discuss and we will discuss in Gigging Success that can help place your website or your advert farther up the rankings. But when faced with those myriad options of bands who all tell the client about they are the best band and they’ve done the most gigs and whatever, your site has to jump out, doesn’t it?
BRAD: Yeah. If you tell them that you’re the best band, they won’t believe you.
DEL: Well, that’s right because everyone says that.
BRAD: Yeah. Because this is such a generic phrase. It kind of goes in one ear and goes out the other ear. It’s like, “Okay, well, why are you the best? Now, demonstrate to me and prove to me that you’re the best.”
BRAD: And that sales pitch is best coming from one of your testimonials. And first off, it’s best coming from a testimonial that’s on the website. Secondly, it’s best coming from an actual scanned note from the client because it becomes more believable. And thirdly, it’s best coming in the form of video. You know, that’s the kind of sales pitch which is going to replace you and not feel like a sales pitch to your prospect.
DEL: Well, absolutely. I mean, yeah, anyone can write a testimonial currently and post it on a site. But if you’ve got the actual client there on the phone or on the video extoling the virtues of the entertainment that they’ve just had, that’s very, very powerful. One of the things we try to do here at Hire A Band which is easier for us because we represent hundreds and hundreds of different entertainers, but if a client comes to us and is looking for somebody vague as to which band to book for their… say it’s for their wedding. But we’ll always try and find bands that have performed in that venue before. So it’s also very powerful to have the venues that you performed in somewhere on the website. And there’s every chance that the client will recognize their venue and get an element of comfort from having a band that have already performed there, know how to get there for a start, so they know the way, and they know about access and any space restrictions that there might be. And if you happen to have a testimonial from a client in that venue, and once you’ve built up a number of testimonials, you can actually pick the correct one to suit those new inquiries.
BRAD: Right. And that goes back to the point of relevance. Is it relevant to them? Yes, it is relevant to them because they’re looking for a band like yours; they’re having a wedding at the venue that you’re having the wedding in. Now, all these things are just kind of conspiring to fill them with kind of confidence that you know what the hell you’re doing. You know, and all of a sudden, you’ve got a couple of notches more than any of your competitors.
DEL: And if your FAQs are sparking light bulbs, “Yeah, that’s a great question. What happens if the dance floor is not busy? What happens between sets if the band is taking a break or whatever?” You know, if you can answer those questions and kind of give them the questions to ask in the first place, again, you’re doing something that none of your competitors are doing. Because, as you said, most websites, and almost everyone has a website, so most websites are just a few photographs, maybe a bit of video, some MP3 demos, and “we are a great band.” And I’ll tell you one thing that we get fairly regularly particularly with jazz bands and you deal with jazz bands an awful lot. Jazz musicians are very proud of their credentials. So you quite often get, “Chris performed with this particular act.”
BRAD: Yeah. Yeah.
DEL: Exactly. This conservatoire and has, you know, a master’s degree in…..
BRAD: Which is great, and those credentials should shine, but they should be communicated in a much more kind of consumable and understandable way by that person.
DEL: That’s right. And if you have the credentials, by all means, list them there because you’ve worked hard to get them. But they should translate into why that’s of use to the hirer. So, he’s done six years of this. So therefore, that means that he has a massive repertoire of tunes and plays them very well andif there’s anything obscure that you would like… but for instance, he’s a first sight reader so if you need to give someone the dots or sheet music for a particular number, then that band can do that. That kind of thing. But there has to be a benefit to all of those points.
BRAD: Yeah. Otherwise, it’s meaningless.
DEL: Yeah. And it just dissolves into this miasma that… eventually, if you spend an hour and a half, if any of us do that and look at the competition that we’re up against, all the websites start to seem the same.
BRAD: And it’s commoditization.
DEL: That’s it.
BRAD: And it’s almost like looking at six bags of wheat and trying to work out why one is more expensive than the other. You’ll never know why because the wheat can’t communicate to you why they are. So the person buying is left with no choice but to make a decision based on the price.
DEL: Yeah, that’s right.
BRAD: And that’s when the things spiral out of control. Del, we are running over.
DEL: Are we?
BRAD: Yeah. We got to stick to our 45.
DEL: We should. We should.
BRAD: That’s what we decided.
DEL: I think there’s another podcast due in this very same subject then, Brad.
BRAD: Yeah. I think we’ll just carry on through the next one. I think we were doing well on this one. So until next time. Just bear in mind as well, again, get to giggingsuccess.com where you can download that free quote template and start using that today. Literally, it’s a fill in the blanks. It’s really easy. So that’s at giggingsuccess.com. And we’ll see you next time.
BRAD: All right.
Thank you for listening. Feel free to download your copy of today’s podcast. Watch out for more of Brad and Del’s valuable insights on how to get gigs that will lead you to a successful career in the entertainment field.