How To Book More Shows
By Brad Weston
At first, it might seem like an overwhelming process to find new clients and got booked. But in reality, each of the steps are relatively simple, and if you take it step by step, it won’t really be that big of a deal at all. This process is the same no matter what type venue you are trying to get booked in, whether you are in a band, booking a theater show, or are a variety entertainer. Figure out which venues are likely to hire you. One way to do this is think of a similar act that you know and google them to see what types of venues have had them in the past.
The first step of the booking process is to get a client list. There are a number of ways to do this, but surprisingly, despite the modern age, using a good old fashioned, printed phone book is the easiest source for client lists. You will know that all of the results in each category exist in your local area. You will also know that each entry is a real business. On the internet there are tons of websites that represent businesses that don’t really exist.
I recommend setting up a database system before you start culling your lists. This way you will have a place to put the data that you have gathered and keep it organized. Don’t forget to add a field for notes, so that you can write down anything said during your conversation. I use Filemaker Pro, but there a many good database management programs out there. I have my database set up so that I can generate cover letters, labels, and contracts automatically.
After you get the list together, start calling down the list. Your main goal here is to verify the name of the person that you will be sending your packet to. Also, you want to verify what format they would prefer. Sometimes you can email all of the information to the client. If the venue is competitive, and you are competing with other entertainers in that area, then always mail a hard copy in addition to emailing. The other purpose of this call is to generate a little interest in your services. Be prepared to tell them what you do, but keep it very brief. If they don’t answer your call, leave a message, but don’t expect them to call you back. It can happen, but doesn’t seem to happen very often. Make a note of having left a message, then move on to the next client on your list. If you get them on the phone and they say to call back, write down the date and time of callback in a separate field.
Send out all promotional packs at the same time, or in large groups. The more that you can batch your efforts, the more efficient your campaign will be. Unless you are doing massive mailings of many thousands of pieces, it is probably not likely that you will benefit from having a bulk mail permit. There is also evidence that having an actual stamp on the envelope will make it more likely that your mailing will get opened. I print all of the address labels in a batch, then I print the cover letters in a batch, so that they will end up in the same order.
After you mail the packet, you should call the client a few days to a week later to make sure that they have received it. You are trying to get a booking at this point. Be bold and ask them for the work. If they are not interested, it is a good idea to ask them why. Sometimes, they will tell you that they simply are not ready to make the decision. If that is the case, ask them when they will be making the decision and plan on getting back in touch with them a bit before that time. If there is any other information that you can send them, now is the time to find out and send it along.
That is pretty much the deal. Get the list, qualify over the phone, mail to the list, call to close the sale, repeat.
Good luck and get rich quick!
Brad Weston is a writer and juggler. He can be contacted for comment at Brad@bradweston.com