7 Useful Tips To “Earning” People’s Help
Let’s face it, every young and developing artist could use some help with getting to that next level of their career—whether it’s getting a producer excited about recording your music at a discount price, or getting a well-connected consultant interested in recommending you for that audition. But to get people’s help, you must first earn their help. Remember these 7 useful tips.
1. Be Able to Show You’ve Got The Skills: If you want people to take you seriously and offer a helping hand, it pays to have some real talent. No one respects a wannabe, poser, or a dreamer.
2. Build Some Accomplishments: Everyone likes a doer! Whether getting first prize in a local battle of the bands, or attracting large crowds in local clubs, earn some stripes first. Show people that you’re not just looking for a shortcut to success. Instead, show them you can work for it.
3. Form Professional Relationships: People in positions of power are more likely to offer their help to those that they know, like, and respect. Thus, put yourself in situations where you can build important relationships. Perhaps an influential manager speaks at popular music business conferences where you can network and become engaged in an intellectual dialogue; a well-connected music supervisor teaches a university course that you can take and ace; or a savvy entrepreneur runs a PR firm where you can intern and kick total ass. Just don’t expect people you don’t know to respond to your unsolicited emails. Start building professional relationships now.
4. Don’t Flirt or Mislead: While on the general topic of networking and getting to know people, never resort to using your powers of flirtation with hopes of getting what you want (unless, of course, you are genuinely interested in having a romantic encounter). Sex sells, but if you push the tease too far, you could easily mislead people, cause yourself drama you won’t know how to handle, and gain nothing. So, always be a true professional! On the other hand, should a “person of power” make romantic gestures to you, let him or her know immediately that you are all about business first (unless, once again, you are interested romantically). Sure, doing this might lose that person’s attention and scare him or her off for good, but that’s probably for the better in the long run. To be sure, if it’s business you’re really interested in, then be businesslike at all times.
5. Be Prepared To Give Back: If you want people to help you, figure out “what’s in it for them.” Seriously! Remember that no one owes you anything, and nothing is for free. Don’t just ask that well-connected musician to put in a good word for you on that big audition—instead, offer him a finder’s fee if you get the gig. Or don’t just expect that busy producer to record you at half price—instead, offer to record vocals on his or her songs to even out the deal. And don’t just expect that music “mentor” to guide your career—offer to run errands for him or her on the weekends. It’s really the gesture that counts. Bottom line: Give people an incentive to help you.
6. Keep Them In The Loop: If you want people to help you (and continue to help you), then remember to keep them in the loop. Don’t just contact people when you need their help. This is just rude and self-centered and it spells “user” all over it. When someone is kind enough to offer their assistance (by offering an introduction or a recommendation for instance), it’s proper etiquette to CC them when sending your correspondences. And should you get that big gig, let them know about it and keep them up to date on your successes. Doing this keeps people invested personally in your career and increases the chance they’ll help the next time you need it.
7) Practice the Attitude of Gratitude: Finally, while on the topic of keeping people in the loop, I’d like to stress that you must always practice the attitude of gratitude. Whether you take them out to lunch, send them a thank you card, or mention them when accepting that big award, be ready to show thanks! Of all the 7 tips mentioned herein, this is the big one. So just do it! Peace.
BOBBY BORG is the author of Music Marketing For The DIY Musician: Creating and Executing a Plan of Attack On A Low Budget (September 2014). The book is available on Hal Leonard website under “Trade Books” http://bit.ly/1po5FyO (ISBN: 9781480369528), AMAZON http://amzn.to/X4Fwst, or Bobby Borg (www.bobbyborg.com).