I Hate Cold Calls

– Posted in: Biz Booster Hot Tip! Book the Gig
I Hate Cold Calls
I Hate Cold Calls - by Jeri Goldstein     

I hate cold calls! How about you?

If you read any books on selling, you might come away with the impression that the higher number of calls you make equals a certain percentage of sales. Make 100 calls you might, I said might, get 1 or 2 % in actual sales.

That’s why I hate cold calls. I don’t like those odds. I liked one-to-one odds better, one call, one email, one promo packet sent, get one gig.

When you use long lists, probably from directories or purchased databases, it’s likely that don’t know many, or any, of those people on the lists. Your chances of selling yourself, your act, your project is very, very slim—not impossible, but slim.

I don’t care what kind of list you are using, lists of venues, lists of clubs, lists of house concert presenters, lists of festivals or lists of organizations. You are creating a less than favorable scenario for success, when you use lists to start your calling.

So, when I say, I hate cold calls, I look for another way to make my preferred one-to-one odds happen more often.

Here are four steps you can begin using to increase your odds of getting the gigs you want without making a ton of cold calls.

4 Steps to Get the Gigs You Want

  1. What is your goal for the tour?
    Focus on the specifics of the tour before simply making calls. It could be promotional. Or it might be to get yourself to and from a specific event or anchor date. It could even be to make a certain amount of money.

  2. What kind of gigs would satisfy the goal?
    Do you need media event type gigs: radio, print, TV interviews? Is it necessary to get yourself from point A to point D type of gigs to help with expenses on your way to the main big event? Are targeted niche type gigs needed to complete a tour to reach a specific type of audience?

  3. Who do you personally know?
    Make a list of contacts you personally know, to be your very first calls to get the ball rolling. Now that you know your goals and your ideal type of venue or audience, review the people or places you have interacted with in your life and reach out to them first. Discuss your plans and ask for some referrals to organizations, businesses, similar venues and other potential performance opportunities. It is much easier to speak with people you know about a plan or project, than to make any cold calls.

  4. Make a series of calls based on who you know.
    You will be surprised at who you might remember from your past that could be a useful contact for future endeavors. This may include other artists, previous venues of a like kind where you’ve already played or media people who you’ve worked with before. It could also be friends and relations that now hold positions within organizations or communities in which you want to perform.

Each time I coach an artist about creating a touring strategy, we begin with who do they already know. You will be amazed, as each of them often are, to realize how many people you know in exactly the right place for the kind of planning you are doing. Most people never think to look back and reach out to those you know.

This is exactly why I always recommend that you include a column on any email sign up list or card that asks for, OCCUPATION. This will give you insight into who your fans are and what they do. They might be of help to your career at some point beyond attending a show or buying merchandise.

Look back at people in your life, previous work experiences, friends, neighbors and even family. Also review past gigs and the people who booked you or worked with you at those events. They are always a great resource to start to ask for referrals, and while you’re at it, ask for another gig. I hope you save all your previous contracts since that is the perfect place to start your research. Even if the booker you worked with is no longer there, having played the venue gives you a much better in, than any ice-cold call.

Next time you get ready to book a gig or an entire tour, work through the four steps above first. Come up with some lists that include people you already know, places you’ve already been, and start from a place where your odds of success are far greater by making friendly calls. When this strategy becomes your way of doing your booking and running your business, you will be well on the way to one-to-one odds of booking your gigs and no longer need to say, “I hate cold calls!” because you won’t be doing any.

How do you avoid making cold calls? What strategy have you found to make your odds more favorable to successfully book your gigs?

Leave me a comment below.

I can’t wait to hear about your success.

Thanks to Carol Ehrlich for this week’s graphic image.
Check out her work at v360.com

Now, Thanks to the Band Curfew from the UK for providing the Biz Booster theme Music, Future Dance.

And for more career boosting tips, articles, books, resources, tele-seminars and online courses, visit me at Performingbiz.com

4 comments… add one
  • Cash Edwards June 10, 2019, 10:07 am

    I feel sad for people who hate. Isn’t there enough hate in the world?
    Though your 4 suggestions are fabulous it doesn’t mean that some of the then planned calls would not be cold calls and with this philosophy the caller is starting off with a bad attitude. Cold calls should be embraced with the spirit of adventure and expansion. Yes, your four steps of planning first to decide the best course of action however why limit yourself and your artist like this? Every person on your 4 steps was at one time a cold call or first time introduction.

    • Jeri Goldstein June 10, 2019, 11:46 am

      This is why I appreciate you so much Cash. Thanks for your beautiful comment. I am always inspired by you as you hold up a mirror to help me reach for a higher place in my thinking and my writing. You make me a better educator and help me raise my own bar. In these days of marketing shock and awe, kindness in word choice can still make an impact while serving a higher purpose. As to your second point, sometime cold calls are unavoidable, agreed. They may even expand ones confidence and self-assurance. Hopefully these four steps will help reduce their necessity over the course of time. Thanks again. You rock!

  • Cash June 10, 2019, 11:52 am

    Love you more!

  • Nina June 10, 2019, 12:43 pm

    Great reminder Jeri to reach out to people we know as a starting point! We often miss the obvious! Thanks!

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