“If you want to stand out from the crowd, give people a reason not to forget you.” Richard Branson
One of my hobbies is reading band websites and vendor pages. ( I know, I need to get out more often!) I do it for a reason and so should you. It reminds me NOT to sound like every other band out there. And boy, do we ever sound the same. Of course, every band sounds different when you listen to their demos. I’m not talking about that.
It’s how we describe ourselves on our websites and quotes. If you sound like every other band, you can kiss more gigs goodbye.
I’m serious! One of the most important goals you should have is finding ways to make your band stand out in a crowded field. The best way to do that is to give clients a reason NOT to forget you.
Here’s an easy way to do that when you’re sending out a quote for a wedding or a corporate gig. Most bands don’t talk about this so if you do, you’ll stand out. First, the problem. Then the solution.
The Problem: Bars and Weddings Are different
One of the biggest differences between bar gigs and wedding and corporate gigs is what time you arrive to start setting up. With bars, I’d show up 60 minutes before show time. I’d set up while customers we’re eating, watching a game, or playing pool. It didn’t matter what they were doing. I’d show up, set up, and make all the noise I wanted. It was rarely a problem.
You CAN’T do that at weddings.
You CAN’T do that at Corporate parties
Get Ready to Arrive Early!
For 95% of weddings and corporate gigs, we’ll arrive 3-4 hours before we perform. The reason? You have to be set before the guests arrive. The LAST thing a client wants their guests to hear is
- Your drummer banging on the drums.
- Or your guitar player checking his lead boost or new overdrive pedal and playing his newest riff at 4th set volume
- Or the “Check, Check 1,2” of your singers.
Clients expect the room to be set up and ready by the time their guests arrive. That was news to me and it caused a lot of problems early on.
Now, this is one of the reasons you charge more for weddings and corporate gigs. There’s a lot of “Hurry up and wait” time. You should factor that into your quote.
Tell them you do this and you’ll stand out!
More importantly, you should use it as a selling point. Let the client know that you guys will be set up before the guests arrive. Many bands won’t do this because they don’t know about it either. Highlight the difference for them. Use it to your advantage as something that sets you apart. Every band is going to say they’re a great band. Few bands say “we’ll be all set up before your guests arrive. That’s important! Nobody want their guests to have to listen to a drummer pounding on the drums during the cocktail hour.”
Say something like that and now you stand out. Now the bride is thinking “The more I think about it, I DO want the band set up before my guests arrive. Jim Greer and the Losers* is the only band that told me they’ll do that.” You’re now on the short list and that’s exactly where you want to be. This one little hack is an easy way to make your band unforgettable. *Note: Jim Greer and the Losers is my fictitious band name. I’ve always wanted a band with that name, but I can’t find anyone to join it!
A word of caution: You want to use this as a selling point, but you don’t want to be foolish about it. Stipulate in your contract that you’ll arrive 3-4 hours before you perform after dinner. Brides are often clueless about time, and they want us to show up 8 hours before we play!
There’s no way we’re going to do that!
Put a clause in your contract that says you charge an extra $300-$500 per hour if you have to arrive earlier than 4 hours. Most of the time that will wake brides up and they’ll realize they don’t need you there that early. Other times, you’ll make more money. Either way, you win!
If you want to see the actual wording I use in my contracts, shoot me an email at Jim@bookyourcoverband.com and I’ll send it out to you.
If you found this tip helpful, you’ll probably like this one to: 5 Booking Mistakes that Are Costing Your Gigs
If you want to book more weddings and corporate gigs, make sure you plan to arrive 3-4 hours before showtime. Let potential clients know that you'll be all set up before guests arrive. Use that fact as selling point to make your band stand out in a crowded field of options.