Give Them More Than They Pay For Or Expect

© 2011 Vinny Ribas

There is one surefire way to put your act in demand and increase your income. That is to consistently deliver more than expected and more than you are getting paid for. This refers to your fans, your team (including your band members) and anyone who hires you to perform. It is not difficult to do, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, if any! Here are some ideas:

Your fans:

  • You can give away free downloads, and they don’t have to be anything that you plan on selling. For example, give away older ‘vintage’ recordings of you from years past with every CD sold. Fans love to feel like they know you, and as long as the recording doesn’t embarrass you to where it would hurt your future success, it could be a real fan attraction.
  • Give away low-cost keepsakes like key chains with your band logo on them. The goodwill and long-term affinity you receive will more than compensate for the cost!
  • Offer discount coupons from businesses when someone buys your CD or attends one of your shows. For example, ask several local restaurants if they would give you ‘buy one, get one half-price coupons’ to give away. This means that your fans would instantly get their money back for the show or CD, and maybe even make a profit! The restaurant will love it too because you are bringing them new customers.
  • You can get the same kinds of deals I just mentioned from bowling alleys, movie theaters and many retailers. Then put your own personal coupon book together to give away. Include a coupon for a free download, or a discount on another CD or show ticket!
  • Have very generous upsells. An upsell is the upgrade or secondary item that you sell to someone who is already purchasing something from you. For example, offer a 2nd t-shirt at cost with the purchase of one. After all, the goal is not only to make money right then and there, but also to get as many people wearing your t-shirts as possible.
  • Be free with your time. Stick around after every show to meet everyone who wants to meet you. Take the time to respond to messages on your social networks.
  • Personalize everything. At your merch table, ask each fan his or her name and then give them something for free (like a band postcard) that you address specifically to them. Have a variety of choices (colors, sayings etc.) so you can pick the one that is most appropriate for each fan.
  • Perform longer shows than your fans expect (with the permission of the venue).
  • Put bonus tracks on your CD and let your fans be surprised when they play it for the first time!
  • Mingle with the audience before your show and during your breaks. Learn the names of some of your audience members and refer to them from stage (always in a positive light). Publicly recognize anyone in the audience who is celebrating something special like a birthday, anniversary, promotion etc.

The venue and/or person who hired you:

  • Go the extra mile in everything you do. Offer to play longer if the audience wants you to. Offer to be available to help in any other way that they might need you to. You never know when an extra hand for a few minutes can help them out of a jam.
  • Ask the manager, bartenders, waiters and waitresses what you can do to make their jobs easier. Even though they may not be able to think of anything, just the act of wanting to help them will endear you to them.
  • If you play overtime at the end of the night, don’t charge them. I guarantee it will come back to you in the form of future gigs at that venue!
  • Offer to start early if it looks like the pre-show audience is starting to leave. Again, don’t charge for this.
  • Offer to let other acts use your equipment if you are sharing the stage with them. It makes life easier on everyone, it lets you use the equipment you are used to and sound best on, and it makes you look like the hero.
  • If you are booked at an event where the venue will need to rent a PA for you, and you have a PA that is appropriate that you can bring, offer to bring yours at half the price of the rental (or at no extra charge). The same goes for lighting and other equipment.
  • Express your appreciation for the venue and/or for the person who hired you from stage. Let them know that it is an honor to be there.

Your band and the rest of your team:

  • Give out occasional bonuses when there is a windfall. Best of all, give out bonuses when it is least expected! It doesn’t need to be much. For example, a gift certificate for 2 to a restaurant might be fine. A new guitar strap might be just as appropriate. It just needs to be enough to say ‘I appreciate you.’
  • Be the hardest worker out of everyone on your team. Be there in the trenches before they even start, and continue working when everyone else is done for the day. Prove that you are worthy of all of the good things that come your way. Then, when you need them to carry the weight for you, they will do so without missing a beat.
  • Recognize your entire team, including your business team, from stage. Honor the unsung heroes that are keeping you in forward motion.
  • Do something extra for them that is unexpected like donating to their favorite charities in their name or remembering and celebrating their birthdays.

It is easy to see that giving more than you are paid for or more than is expected from you is a powerful way to earn respect from everyone and set yourself apart from the majority of acts that do just enough to get by. It also makes you the first act people think of when they are shopping for live or recorded music!

About The Author

Vinny Ribas

Vinny Ribas is the founder and CEO of Indie Connect, an artist management, consulting and training company. The company also hosts networking and educational events and has published an app that connects people to the Nashville Music Industry. During his 40+ year career, Vinny has been a full time musician, artist manager, booking agent, songwriter, studio owner, producer and the Entertainment Director for the NV State Fair. He has also coached over 1000 artists and songwriters. He is a sought after speaker and has authored over 400 music industry articles. Vinny is also the CEO of Top 4M Entertainment, an independent film and television production company.