Posted by jaredjudge
November 4, 2019
As musicians, deciding to play weddings is one of the best ways to guarantee a steady income stream. It’s also an incredible way to help amazing couples start their marriage off on the right foot with your beautiful music.
The beautiful thing about weddings is that each couple is unique – there are some that want a music experience that reminds them of the fraternity parties they attended in college, there are some that want elegant and classical, some that want to feel like they’re at a hip-hop concert, and some that want the feeling of sitting around a campfire with an acoustic guitar playing their favorites. Weddings are truly an opportunity for ALL musicians.
One of the most important things to know about wedding planning is that it’s a HUGE task. For many people, this is their first time planning a large-scale event, and the amount of companies (or “vendors” as we say in the wedding industry) they have to reach out to and coordinate is overwhelming. They need to feel taken care of. They need to feel like they’re getting your attention so that they are not fearful that you will neglect them or mess up their wedding.
The clock starts as soon as they send their first email, submit your inquiry form on your website, send a message to you on Facebook or call you for the first time. Ideally, you would respond to them within minutes, but if you’re busy that isn’t always possible. Regardless, either you or one of your bandmates needs to get back to them within 24 hours or they may take their business to another group who is able to maintain that response time.
For my group, we maintain a Phone Call First philosophy. This means that regardless of the way the couple reaches out to us (WeddingWire, Facebook, our website, etc), if they provide a phone number, we call that number right away. The reason for this is simple: we want to build up trust with our clients, and having a phone call where they can hear our voice, know that we’re real people, and we can empathize with their situation is done easiest over the phone.
We’ll spend some time and get to know the couple. Typically it’s one person who answers the phone, but be sure to ask about their other-half. Asking about how they met is always a fun ice-breaker, and perhaps you’ll stumble across some valuable information that will help you sell your services to them later (e.g. they might tell you “their” song).
It is possible to book a wedding entirely over email. When you do transition to email, you’ll want to respond professionally and empathetically. This doesn’t mean you don’t show any personality – in fact, it’s critical to be yourself in your emails. After all, they’re interested in having you perform at their wedding!
You want to make sure you’re making it all about THEM. Yes, to convince them to hire you, you’ll have to brag a little. But if you show them how much you care about making THEIR wedding a success (instead of how awesome YOUR show is going to be), they’ll feel like you’re more of a partner and friend rather than a musician trying to get a gig.
Every time you contact a potential client, your job is to lead them through the booking process. The best way to lead them through the process is by asking simple questions at the end of each interaction. You’ll want these questions to be very simple, and not open-ended. If we ask complicated questions, you’re making it harder for them to respond to you. Keeping it simple will get responses.
We’ve put together a collection of a few email templates used by real groups that get couples to respond. Download the PDF of email templates here.
Being disciplined to follow these rules is hard. As busy humans, it’s not always easy to remember to respond to a lead within 24 hours. Sometimes we might forget to ask a leading question in our emails, or we might have had a bad day and respond unprofessionally.
Using a system is the best way to up your gig-booking game. BookLive is an online system built on the belief that ALL musicians should have an equal chance at making a living doing with they love. It’s like having a manager that nudges you to be more professional. It’ll remind you to respond to your leads within 24 hours, it’ll make responding with email templates a snap, and once you get to send out a contract, it lets you take care of all that digitally in just a few clicks.