Most musicians and/or bands don’t realize the financial opportunities available to them at a gig.They incorrectly assume that the fee they receive is their only income. The problem is… that fee can be incredibly low or nonexistent at some venues.
That being said, how can you actually make money? The obvious answer is product! But… just having product “available” does not guarantee sales.
So how do you turn your product into cash?
You ACTIVELY sell it. Now I’m not talking about being pushy or obnoxious. I’m talking about sharing your passion and creating value with your fans.
When I say, ACTIVELY selling, that does not mean stacking your CDs on a table with the hope that people will pass by and purchase. Sure, some will, and you can make a little money that way. But…consciously making an effort can yield tremendous results.
There are a few incredibly simple techniques that my friends and I have successfully used to sell substantially more product at shows. I don’t have room to list all of them, so I’ll have to start with a few. (More next time!)
First of all… you have to realize that the people at your shows are your fans (or at least potential fans.) They are there to see YOU. They are spending their night out with YOU! They are a captive audience and they are open to suggestions. They WANT what you have. All you have to do is make it easy for them to get it. If you think about it, you’re actually doing them a favor.
What most people don’t realize or believe is that customers need guidance. They need to be told what to do. They/ WE actually PREFER it.
Everything I’m going to mention is not theory. This is EXACTLY what we did… and we saw immediate results. In fact, when we started implementing these techniques we weren’t prepared for how well they would work. We sold out of our entire on hand stock in one night!
This happened at a show that a good friend of mine was doing. He had asked me to help him merchandise his stuff. If you’ve listened to the interview in the course, then you’re familiar with parts of the story already and you know who I’m referring to.
He is a really talented guy. His fans love him. And yes, he was selling a few CDs at his shows. He, much like, most bands had a little table set up in the back of the room with a stack of cds.
But, with a few simple changes, he REALLY started selling CDs.
As you probably know… most bands set up their table in the back of the room because it’s not in the way or in front of the stage. Sure, it makes sense, but here’s how to do it much more effectively.
- Put the table near the entrance. So the FIRST thing people see when they enter is the merchandise. It’s imperative that someone is actually AT the table greeting, answering questions and talking about the product.
- We put a sign on the table that said he would be signing CDs after the show. The person at the table also “verbally” mentioned this and suggested they get their CDs now in case we ran out.
As a new artist, you may feel you’re not “famous” enough to be signing anything. Get over that now! You’d be surprised just how much your fans appreciate this.
.Believe it or not you’re doing your fans a favor. Now they don’t have to get embarrassed about ASKING you for an autograph. You’ve offered. You just made it easy. Don’t underestimate the passion or enthusiasm of your fans. You are NOT your own fan. Your fans respect you on a completely different level. You need to realize that.
Back to the story…
As the 1st set was ending. We sent some of our helpers around the room to remind guests that Josh would be at the merch table signing CDs. Of course, our helpers had CDs in hand that they offered for sale right then and there. We moved a lot that way. We also told the guests that even if they didn’t want a CD, they should come by and say “hi,” because Josh would love to meet them. (sort of a “meet & greet)
This had an incredible effect. Because what it did was made Josh seem friendly and approachable… WHICH HE IS! Josh loves meeting his fans. Most performers do. But sometimes fans can be shy.
One final thing we mentioned which, when it worked, surprised us all… We told the guests that if they wanted to meet Josh, they should form a line along the wall near the table. We were flabbergasted when a line actually formed. There they stood… in line… with cash and/or CDs in hand ready to be signed. It was unbelievable. The thing is… once the line formed, it only got bigger.
Two things were at play here.
- The fact is, customers, consumers, fans, etc. Whether we believe it or not, we like being told what to do. It’s just easier. We gave them the plan of action. They simply followed our directions and were happy to do it.
- People want what they don’t have… AND what they think others want. Once that line formed, the people we HADN’T talked to got interested and the line grew!
Clubs have been using this technique for years. Put a line outside the door and EVERYBODY wants to get in.
Again,these are just a few changes we made that yielded fantastic results. But these little changes really did make a difference. I’ll have more next time.
Points to remember…
You can’t do this alone. You will need help from a few friends… call them your “MERCH CREW”. If they need motivation or an incentive, give them a percentage of what they sell.
Remember. Don’t be pushy. That’s not what I’m talking about. It’s NOT a hard sell approach. It’s a passionate approach… a genuine approach. If you LOVE what you do… and your fans love you, then THEY will LOVE what you do, (ie. your product.)
Your product It’s a little piece of YOU that they can take home. And if you make it personal by signing it, your fan’s connection and value has gone up 10 FOLD. You’ve given them something personal and a memory to go along with it. Your fans may not remember all the songs your performed at your show, but the WILL remember how you made them feel. Don’t underestimate the value in that.
We’re just getting started. More working tips next time…