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It’s Amazing What You’ll Find Face to Face - The Value of Meeting a Client Prior to Performance

In case you haven’t noticed, a frequent conversation for us here at Gigroster is the attempt at blending the traditionally person-to-person methodology that entertainment and music booking has historically had with the expectations and technological realities of the 21st century. While a number of online booking services offer streamlined and seemingly hassle-free methods of connecting prospective clients with performers, the reality is that no innovation will overwrite the fact that on average, people connecting over a business transaction will be much more comfortable and trusting if they are able to actually see and more directly interact with each other. If unaccustomed this may seem like a bit of a hassle, but given the variety of opportunities and ways of making this happen it should eventually become an expected and pain-free step to any of your future bookings!

But why go through the extra work in the first place? Don’t these online booking platforms exist to alleviate the need for such interactions? If a performer is scheduled for a given performance and a contract can be made, what is the use of a more in-depth meeting really? Consider this; someone is planning a wedding, an often-times incredibly intimate occasion that people spend months arranging for, so would they feel more comfortable being approached by a relative stranger on the day-of asking where he can put his or her DJ equipment, or the recognizable face of THEIR hired DJ, whom they have already spoken to and know by face and can speak to as a member of the “Let’s make this wedding happen” team, rather than feeling like an uninvested stranger? Even beyond weddings, the reality is that nearly every engagement seeking entertainment is in some way a planned occasion, be it a company party, festival, etc, and the success of these events largely depends on the healthy interactions between the numerous people helping to put it together. It is these small interactions that help to build the larger event into a more cohesive substance, fostering an attitude of shared goals within the event rather than just a collection of individuals being paid to be somewhere at a given time. Behind most any important planned event is this underlying goal to bring the involved members closer together, so viewing the building blocks of an event in this manner will help to truly make the most of all the hard work it takes to make it happen, and as a performer better the likelihood of a repeat booking.

Meet at an Already Scheduled Performance
If you are a working professional musician, band, or entertainer, there’s a very good chance that you already have at least one performance scheduled between your initial contact with the client and the date of their event. This can present a great opportunity for both parties not only because there is no need for extraneous scheduling and meeting organization, but also that this presents you the performer in the most true light doing what you do. All the best bio, website, and visual media can’t make up for a genuine in-person witnessing of one’s abilities, and the truth of this can be seen by the clear jump in successful bookings we here at Gigroster witness when such a meeting has taken place. Best of all, the client can both satisfy their “business” needs of witnessing the product that they are looking to purchase as well as just enjoying themselves for a night out! This is a completely appropriate question for a client to ask either the band or booking agent assigned to work with them, and also reassures the band that they are working with a serious client who is personally invested in what they are looking to purchase.

Schedule a Meeting Between Parties
In the event that the client is just not available to take the time to check out your performance at an existing engagement, the next best option is to try scheduling an in-person meeting. In case this seems unusual, just consider the hiring practice as just another business transaction - in most cases it would seem very unusual to consider paying hundreds or thousands of dollars to an entity without ever meeting with a representative, and entertainment services in this way are no different than any other hired professional. This could be as standard as a meeting in someone’s office or home, or as laid back as meeting for coffee or beer at a location that works well for both parties. This obviously needs to be taken with a degree of reasonable expectation; if you are travelling to the event from a relatively far distance, it would be a little bit excessive to be expected to make an additional drive solely for a meeting. But at the same time a client can always inquire if you might happen to be in the area at an opportune time well before their event date. Numerous times we have seen occasions where a performer just happened to be driving in the vicinity of a client some weeks or months before a performance in that area, and had no trouble stopping by to meet with their soon-to-be client. This sort of arrangement can help relax you as the performer just as much as the client, so the benefit is worth considering before writing off the possibility.

Chat Via Online Services
All that being said, it is perfectly understandable that an in-person meeting is not feasible. This could be due to distance, schedule conflict, or any number of perfectly legitimate reasons on either the client or performer’s side. Luckily, we live in an era where there are numerous ways in which we can talk to each other via visual communication, all from the comfort of our own homes or work spaces. Some of the easiest and most popular methods include Skype, Google Hangouts, Apple's Facetime, Facebook, ooVoo, and WeChat, but even more exist that are just as easy to use. It may seem easy to write off this option since hypothetically you could achieve just as much via a phone call or email, but let’s be honest; on average, most people don’t prefer phone calls these days, and email can be slow depending on who you are communicating with. There is a certain human element of interaction that can only be achieved when you can see the person you are communicating with, and when an in-person meeting just isn’t feasible a video call can give much of the benefit of a face-to-face conversation while still respecting the reality that not everyone can make time to meet in-person prior to an engagement.

It is still easy to make the personal connection if it simply does not work out to have such a meeting with your prospective client, either due to scheduling issues or event simply lack of interest on either end. Our only hope in this discussion is that you as a performer know that any desire to have some form of in-person or at least face-to-face conversation with your client is a completely reasonable thing to ask for, and for the client is just another choice to be made on their end when it comes down to how they are organizing the event. We here at Gigroster hope to facilitate and foster these sorts of connections; indeed our aim in this regard is to do our best to hold onto these very personal and human facets of the entertainment world as we collectively move into a more technological future, and how best to make use of these tools to leave room for the human interactions that make our industry what it truly is. If you would like any assistance in this regard, we’re here to help every step of the way!

It’s Amazing What You’ll Find Face to Face - The Value of Meeting a Client Prior to Performance
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