In the modern day many people will more readily send an email than physically call a person. Emails, social media, and other communication is great way to get in touch with people, but sometimes the most successful way is a good old-fashion phone call. A well-developed telephone technique is crucial to the success of the client contact process. Potential clients can sense when you don’t feel confident, even when that conversation is over the phone.
If you lack confidence or if you are shy, you should consider getting advice on how to put forward a strong verbal presentation over the telephone. Many books have been written on the subject, and they are not just for telephone salespeople. Anyone who uses the telephone to drum up business must work on their technique.
Speaking slowly and clearly and learning a “script,” especially when you are cold-calling clients, are some of the techniques worth knowing. Another is how to follow up on cold calls. Yet another is how to leave a message on voice mail that will be memorable, which is a technique a little like a 30-second elevator pitch without the business card.
Some musicians don’t think it’s respectable to call a client themselves. They believe that clients have less respect for musicians who represent themselves than for musicians who are represented by an agent. Therefore, some musicians prefer to have an agent who will call clients on their behalf.
However, you should consider that TV commercials where the owner of the car dealership or mattress emporium represents him or herself are rated higher and more effective than commercials that don’t have an owner present. This was part of the secret behind the rise of the Wendy’s restaurant chain, under the charismatic leadership of Dave Thomas, who often appeared in national TV ads.
Following this logic, clients may well be more convinced of your skills as a musician and bandleader if they talk to you in person, rather than through an agent. Plus, one of the benefits of representing yourself is that you at least know how you are being presented.
Telephone calls are still one of the least expensive and most effective ways of self-promotion. If your phone technique is good, and you present yourself and your band in a memorable way, clients will recall you when you phone again.
For example, Hal Galper of Local 802 (New York City) remembers the time he sat on a panel at the International Association of Jazz Educators’ convention in Atlanta, Georgia. His name was mentioned often on the panel, and many of his clients were present. At one point the moderator asked, “Is there anyone here who has not received a phone call from Hal Galper?” Everyone laughed, and amazingly only one person said, “I haven’t.” Galper arranged to chat with this person after the panel was over. “It pays to have a good phone rap,” he reminds other working musicians.