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When I worked in IT Consultancy, networking played a big part in getting the business off the ground. I would look for events where I could meet with other business owners and pitch at them. I used to attend a lot of breakfast events, lunches and evening events. It was always hard work and I kissed a lot of frogs. And it didn’t end when you left the event, the moment I got back to the office I would write a brief email to each letting them know it was good to meet them. When you are selling a service, lead times can be long so it is a case of staying in touch until there is a need.

The nice thing about the music business is that networking doesn’t have to be at a dedicated event, and, in fact, when you start a conversation with the person sat next to you on the bus it is much more relaxed. It is a social conversation. IT is a need, music is a pleasure. You don’t have to sell, your passion will come through, and what will win them over is your personal connection. The tip I always gave to my salesman, for any and every meeting, was you have one mouth and two ears, use them in that proportion.

It may seem a slow way to build your email list but added to all your other activities such as social networking and gigs, it will soon build up. But you need a mind set where you work it all the time. Another approach is to get into other people’s email lists. Be careful here, you can’t just acquire other people’s lists and start emailing them as that is spamming. But maybe you can encourage other lists to promote you which is not spamming.

Why would somebody do that? Because they gain from it, too. One simple way is to identify a band whose music is similar to yours and suggest that they email their fans with your next gig and you will do the same for them. Alternatively you can think more laterally. For example, a lot of wedding parties want a band, so think about approaching some wedding planners.

If you decide to go down the route of getting others to sell your services, like a wedding planning service, make sure you make it as easy as possible for them. Look for ways that you can add value to their service. If you have a gig coming up, invite them along so they have first hand experience of your music. Offer them a slice of the action, say 10% of the fee for any bookings they get. But remember, it is not only the music they are interested in because if you let them down, they are letting down their customer. Make sure you are dressed presentably, offer references if possible, and find ways to show them you are reliable. And then be reliable so recommending you is a no brainer.


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