Earlier this year I discovered a method that increased my bookings over a 100%. I'm not claiming originality here, because that would be foolish, but I was quite happy to see the success I had with it. The best part though is that it was a very simple idea, and it can be yours for just $9.95.
I'm just kidding about the price, but the method really does work. Simply, as the title suggests, it's merely following up.
Over the years I've tried quite a few ways of promoting myself. One of those ways was through mail and email campaigns. I would send out hundreds of promotional kits and, as is the average, would get about a 1% return. Sure, it would pay for the cost of the mail campaign, but it was a lot of work for not much in return. However, I continued with it because that is what I was told to do by professionals. It wasn't too bad, because I was getting enough to live well, but I wanted to do better. I love performing, and I wanted more opportunities.
So I started trying to follow up after my email and mail campaigns. The most logical way was to give those people/organizations a call to make sure they received my kit. At that point, I would try to sell my show; however, that wasn't the best method. I increased my bookings, but I wasn't satisfied with my method. Plus, I knew that if I could schedule a meeting with the person who was in charge of hiring me, I could greatly increase my chance of being booked for a gig.
That's where I finally came up with this idea. I stopped trying to sell my show over the phone. Instead, during my follow-up calling, I would make sure they got my promotional kit (if they didn't, I would briefly tell them what I do) and then I would insist that we scheduled a meeting to discuss my services further. It wasn't like I demanded a schedule, but I presented the idea in a way that it was hard to say no to.
I never asked if we could schedule a meeting. Instead, I would make my intentions clear; that I wanted to schedule a meeting with them so we could discuss how my services could benefit their company. Then I would ask for a time that worked best for them. They could certainly say that they weren't interested, but by the way I set it up, the chance of an outright no was decreased.
I soon found out that people were more likely to meet with me when I didn't try to sell them a show over the phone. Also, since I was already asking them a time that they were available, it somewhat convinced them that they wanted to meet with me, even if at first they were more hesitant. The reason was simple as to why this was. It didn't give them an easy chance to say no.
The way I first tested this out was on fairs and festivals around my state as well as the surrounding area. This was a venue I had been trying to get more into for the past couple of years, but I had very little return with my previous mail/email campaigns. After trying this new method, instead of doing maybe 1 or 2 fairs/festivals in the summer, it jumped to me doing one pretty much every weekend. Even more though, my newest mail/email campaign also has been met with more success.
The simple reason this works though is because you're taking action. You're not allowing your promotional kit to just sit on someone's desk and be forgotten about, which happens very frequently. Instead, you're keeping yourself fresh in the minds of those who have the power to hire you.
It's a very simple way to increase your bookings; however, many performers simply don't think about it. I know I certainly didn't.