How To Improve Your Chances Of Getting The Gig


Most venues always have more than a few acts clamoring to secure dates. Here are some ways to rise above the crowd and increase your chances of landing the gig. 

  1. Build relationships. Venue owners and managers hear sales pitches all day from all kinds of salespeople. Thus, overzealous sales calls or emails are most often ignored. The entertainment buyer is a person first, a buyer second. Work on building a solid rapport with the buyer. Then, ask permission to submit your act for their consideration. 
  2. Be prepared – Have everything ready that they may ask you to send them so you can follow up immediately after the call. That includes your EPK (electronic press kit with live video, pictures from gigs, a short bio, past and future gigs, etc). Don’t make them wait while you try to schedule a photo shoot or record a live video. Have everything posted on your website as well. Make it as easy as possible for them to do their homework on you.
  3. Do your own homework – Know what that venue looks for in an act. Talk to other acts who have worked there frequently. Ask them what questions the buyer will ask. Ask them what is important to the buyer. Know without a doubt that you’re a perfect fit for the venue.
  4. Be confident.  Let the buyer know that you have your act together, you’re professional, you’ve done your homework, and you know you’re a perfect fit for the venue. You have to do this without sounding arrogant or pushy and without a high-pressure sales pitch. Ask them what is important to them (even though you already know what’s important from doing your homework), and then tell them how you can accommodate them and deliver on those important aspects of the deal.
  5. Work yourself up to the gig.  Be certain that you’re not jumping too far out of your league in asking for the gig. Let the owner know the other comparable places you’ve performed and what the response was. If you’ve only played in smaller or less prestigious places, explain why you feel it is time to graduate to their venue.
  6. Ask how you can help the buyer. This question alone can open many doors for you! Every buyer at every level of the industry has had bad experiences with artists. Asking the buyer how you can help them reach their goals or even put their mind at ease about hiring you shows that your first interest is in seeing them succeed. 
  7. Ask what the buyer’s expectations are. This approach is crucial in letting the buyer know you are looking out for their best interests. It also confirms whether or not you’re a good fit for the room. You may find they expect you to do something you can’t or are unwilling to do. For example, some cruise lines expect you also to be a tour guide for their passengers, This is on top of performing. That might be something that you are not comfortable with.
  8. Be professional, on time, etc. Nothing turns a buyer off more than unprofessionalism. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. If you say you’ll call back in a week, call back in a week. If you say you’ll promote the gig on social media, promote it. If you say you’re going to be somewhere at a specific time, be there. Remember, you have a lot of competition to outshine!
  9. Be honest. Never misrepresent yourself. Know your own strengths and weaknesses and match them to the gig. If you say you’re something you’re not, you’ll kill your reputation immediately. Remember that entertainment buyers talk to each other. They belong to the same organizations. Word spreads quickly about who’s good, who’s professional, who’s easy to work with etc. But the word about who’s amateurish, difficult to work with, or not as good as they think they are spreading a thousand times faster and much more emphatically!
  10. Be complimentary. Make the buyer feel smart for the good choices that he or she has made in the past! Acknowledge who has been successful in the venue, and if possible, compare some of the acts’ characteristics to yours. For example, you can say, “I know you like the high energy of _________. Our act delivers the same kind of energy.” 
  11. Have your schedule ready. You never know if a buyer has a hole in their schedule that they need to fill and is willing to take a chance on you. Never make them wait because they may get another call in the meantime from another act that is able to commit to that date.
  12. Have references ready. Truthful references from other entertainment buyers give you credibility. Every time you successfully finish a gig, be sure to ask the buyer if you can use them as a reference. 
  13. Thank the buyer. After your initial conversation, and after you have booked the gig, and after the gig, be sure to send them a simple thank you. An email can work, but a personal note you email to them will set you apart from everyone else. 
  14. Confirm everything in writing. Be sure that you confirm all dates, times, your wage, and other vital details in writing. There’s nothing worse than showing up on the wrong date, at the wrong time, expecting more money than you got, finding out the gig doesn’t supply lodging (if you’re on the road), etc. Ask the buyer to acknowledge that all the details you sent are correct.

© 2024 Vinny Ribas. Used by permission.

About the Author

Vinny Ribas

The founder and CEO of Indie Connect, Vinny has been in the music industry for 55+ years. His past and current experience includes 25 years as a full-time musician and band leader, a recording studio owner/producer, songwriter, artist manager and a mentor and consultant to over 1,000 artists. He was a booking agent for20+ years and the Entertainment Director for the NV Sate Fair for 3 years. He has authored several music industry and non-industry books and courses as well as over 500 published articles.