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The referral gig

October 17, 2013

When is the best time to book a gig? While you are currently playing one. If you like the venue, the owners, the pay, ask to book yourself again in a month or a quarter. And don’t stop there – book the next 12 months or 4 quarters or whatever makes sense for the next year ahead at the venue.

Next, ask who else the owner (or booking agent) knows that would also appreciate your services. It’s human nature to want to help. If they know other venue owners (and it’d be amazing if they don’t), they can offer names and numbers and maybe even make an introductory call for you right then and there. But guess what? You need to ask for the referral.

The difference between transmitting and receiving
No-Transmission-TowerOne of the biggest problems in our modern world is that everyone is busy transmitting but hardly anyone is properly receiving. The mentality is: sell, sell, sell! Always be closing! Endless self-promotion. Ego can be an ugly and ignorant force.

But like the old saying, the reality is that we have two ears and one mouth, and need to use them in proportion. When you stop focusing on sending messages and more on asking questions, the universe starts to turn on a new axis. Give it a try and you’ll suddenly see abundance out the wazoo.

Referrals are all about asking. But before you think it’s just about asking for something you want (like a gig date), realize that the purpose of asking is first to understand and to build solid, genuine relationships. In the sales world, this is thought of as getting deep into your client’s needs – seeking to understand where they are coming from before dumping your agenda on them.

What to ask
So ask them how biz is going. Ask them what they would like to see in a live show. Ask them what their biggest headaches have been with bands, and their biggest successes. Ask about their kids (or other life responsibilities) – and take a genuine interest in their response. Ask them what they think would help build more business. You may be surprised by the answers.

Asking is also creating a deferential role. You are in deference to them, to their wisdom and experience, and to their needs. You are the student and they are the teacher. Allow them this role, since most teachers have a lot to offer and can be very generous.

And when they refer you to other potential employers, they are putting their own integrity on the line to promote your band. They become your advocate. They basically sell you in a way that you could never sell yourself. But you need to ask…

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