First of all, I am not saying that you should go and join a “networking group” (although Meetup.com is a great place to do that). I’m pointing out that simply leaving your house can be looked at as a networking opportunity.
There Are 3 Reasons Why We Network
To find a direct target or a customer. For example, a fan who will buy tickets, music, or merch and support you.
To gain a sphere of influence, and therefore a source for referrals (i.e. the people who like the people who know & support your band).
A resource for you and your customers (yep- I’m calling fans customers).
When You Go Into Any Networking Situation:
The biggest goal of networking is: Be memorable.
How do you do that?
Simple: The more that they talk, the more that you are remembered.
After that, follow these ABC’s when you go to a party, wedding, or any social situation.
Know what to ask for (I suggest an email address as something you can always ask for if you do not have a goal that day).
Be a walking advertisement for your music and what you are up to in the world as a musician.
Be a gatherer. This means when you are in any social situation, you should be gathering as much information as possible about each person: interesting tidbits about them, what they like, who they know, where they go, etc.
TIP: For this don’t think about yourself! Think: How can I be helpful to this person that I am talking to? So, let go of your story and your pitch and let them talk all about themselves.
The Follow Up – After you get home and it’s time to follow up, never send your marketing pitch or talk about your business in the first initial e-mail. Get people to respond to your follow up.
Say something very simple without a pitch, like:
It was nice to meet you. Weren’t those little pigs in blankets delicious?
If they respond, then you can pitch them. So, remember, the first follow-up is always friendly and positive and not business-oriented!
On First Contact
When you meet someone, first ask a question about them. “What brought you here today? How did you meet the bride?” Get them talking.
Never walk up to someone and say: “Hi, I’m David.” That makes it all about you. So, what you’re basically saying there is, “Hi, it’s all about me.” Let’s proceed. Instead, you want to say something like: “So, Nancy, what do you do?” Or: “Are you having a good time?” Then, it’s all about them.
1. If you don’t have one and you are above the age of 18, GET A BUSINESS CARD NOW! You have no excuse – they are free. Go here and order one:
TIP: Put one sentence about your music (your PITCH) on your card and the instrument you play. A card with a “name and an address” is TOTALLY USELESS and unmemorable! Put a photo of yourself on the card or your band logo to add even more branding and recognition.
2. Don’t worry about giving out your card; focus on getting their cards.
Never give your card out unless someone asks for it. If you give a card, you are selling (people hate selling). If some asks for your card, they are buying (people LOVE buying).
Be A Shark In A Sea Of Tuna
When networking, don’t think about your industry. If you are trying to grow your business, always go to the places that are exactly opposite of your industry.
So, as a musician, go and network with a bunch of other musicians if you are looking for more people to play with or to tap into a community of other musicians. However, this is probably not going to make you money.
If you go to, say, a bridal convention and you meet a whole bunch of people that are planning weddings and you introduce yourself as a musician, you might get some really good gigs.
Initial Follow-up On The Phone
Something like: “Hey, Larry. Laura asked me to give you a call. This is Ariel.” Use only your first name. Never say, “Hi, my name is Ariel,” because then people will think of you as a stranger (you would never call your mom and say: “Hi, my name is Ariel.” It’s too formal).
So, just say: “I’m ____,” and then carry on with your conversation.
Words Never To Say:
Words that you should never, ever say are:
“I’m not looking to sell you anything…”
“I’m not looking for connections…”
Don’t use these to try to put them at ease because the person will immediately think the opposite. The brain doesn’t register “I’m just…”
When It Is Finally Your Turn To Talk: How To Position Yourself
When they are finally engaged with you (after they have talked about themselves) and you are ready to make your pitch, talk about what other people say about you, instead of pitching yourself.
Why? Because people always believe what other people say about you more than they believe you saying it about yourself!
So, you could say something like: “People say my music sounds like Bob Dylan crossed with a touch of The Beatles.” OR “My voice gets compared to Annie Lennox.”
That registers very, very well.
Ariel Hyatt founded Ariel Publicity & Cyber PR 11 years ago and her firm has worked with over 1,000 musicians and bands of all genres. The Ariel Publicity mission states that all artists deserve to be heard and there is a place for artists of every level to receive exposure. Ariel Hyatt has managed to place tens of thousands of artists in countless outlets from national magazines and TV to the most grassroots online fanzines. Her company is now 100% digital and helps artists increase their online exposure. She also runs http://www.Bandletter.com a company that creates newsletters for musicians.
Ariel Publicity’s Sound Advice is a free monthly e-zine for musicians & entrepreneurs who want marketing, promotion and PR tips for navigating the new music business. Sign Up here: http://www.arielpublicity.com.