How to deal with buyers who have never booked a gig before

Live music has its share of rookies including fans booking house concerts and private gigs to inexperienced venue managers. When it comes to dealing with these fresh faces it’s important to take a strategic approach, says Megan Price of Gig Salad.

Guest post by Megan Price from GigSalad

When you get leads on GigSalad, it’s easy to think you’re dealing with professional event planners who know all the ins and outs of booking. In actuality, many have never booked before and may need a little extra help with the process. We have some ideas to help things go smoothly for both you and your rookie client!

GigSalad has spent years perfecting our SEO game, which means most planners who find us are doing so through a Google search. They may not have community connections or referrals for the service they need, so they turn to the internet for help. Many of our users are parents, teachers, brides, or people planning a first-time event. Even to those who are professionals, using a booking platform like GigSalad may be totally new to them. Oftentimes, clients are relying on their vendor to help them through the steps since they’re usually more experienced in the process. By stepping up and assisting your client, you may secure more bookings by building rapport and trust.

Set the tone

Being a friendly face (and voice) out of the gate is an easy way to show your client that you’re happy to help. Event planning is stressful and they could be feeling overwhelmed, unsure, and nervous about booking a vendor online. Clients are more likely to book a kind vendor who has eased their fears about their big event.

Save valuable time by writing a few saved messages with warm, fuzzy intros (and hey, fun emojis) so you can quickly respond to new clients. Your friendly message could be the first one they see!

Communicate their way

While you may think a phone call is the best way to discuss an event, your client may feel differently. Ask the client how they prefer to go over details and communicate their way as often as you can. If a phone call is necessary, dispel your client’s potential fear of a “hard sell.” A quick reassurance in your messages can help with that.

With effective communication, you and your client can get on the same page and start moving toward closing the booking. Just remember that you may get a better response if you try their method. Try embracing texting, email, and instant messaging, even if it’s outside your comfort zone.

Be flexible

The event planning world never runs quite the way everyone wants, so the more flexible you can be, the better. If a client needs to get approval from a third party before booking, send them an extended quote. Rather than offering a hard price, try offering a range and let them know that you can work within their budget by removing or modifying your services. If you sense they’re stressed about a tight timeline, see about loading in earlier and coming back for the event. By offering flexible solutions, you become more valuable and will build trust and confidence in your services.

Be sure to keep your own needs in mind, too, because overextending yourself may cause internal resentment toward the client. The goal is a positive relationship and event experience for all!

Offer your expertise

As mentioned earlier, many of your GigSalad clients find you through a Google search and immediately ask for a quote. They are focused on the end result – a successful event – and don’t always know the specifics to make that happen. They may not know general pricing, how much space is needed, regulations or insurance, breaks for performers, and other logistical details. Unless you’re new to the gig game yourself, you can probably help guide them through the process.

The key here is to do it in a gentle and encouraging way. You’re teaching your client, not talking down to them. They may not realize a belly dancer can’t perform for an hour straight. Or that Santa Claus shouldn’t be seen arriving in his car out front. While these are things that those in the gig world feel are “common sense”, the layperson just doesn’t think about them. Show them that they’re booking a professional by setting correct expectations and offering guidance for making the event a success.

While other professionals may be condescending and take the attitude of “Do you know who I am?”, you can take the high road and close more bookings than your snobby competitors.

Help them book

After you’ve discussed all the details and the client is ready to book, there’s one more step where you can lend a helping hand! Familiarize yourself with the booking process from the event planner’s point of view by using our Help Center. Then if/when your client has questions, you can offer some helpful guidance. Of course, our Customer Happiness Team is available to help, too, if you both get stuck! But if you’re ready with the answer first, the booking can be closed that much faster.

As you’re putting together your final quote, make sure your services are clear, the pricing matches what you agreed to, and the date and time are correct. An accurate and complete booking agreement is a must for a first-time, and any, client that you book with.

Always follow-up

When your first-time client has wrapped up their first successful event, you should celebrate with them! Send them a thank-you for booking you and let them know what a great time you had. The follow-up is just as important as the booking process and can help you land more repeat clients.

Offering kindness and patience to first-time event planners may help you close more bookings, gain repeat clients, and educate another person on the gig world. Next time you get a lead, try investing a little bit more time with clients who have never booked before and see if these tips work for you!

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