Most musicians and/or bands don't realize the financial opportunities available to them at a show. They incorrectly assume that the fee they receive is their only income. The problem is... that fee can be incredibly low or nonexistent at some venues. Just having product "available" does not guarantee sales.
Q: So how do you turn your product into cash?
A: You ACTIVELY sell it. Now I'm not talking about being pushy or obnoxious. I'm talking about sharing your passion and creating value with your fans. When I say, ACTIVELY selling, that does not mean stacking your CDs on a table with the hope that people will pass by and purchase. Sure, some will, and you can make a little money that way. But...consciously making an effort can yield tremendous results.
First of all... you have to realize that the people at your shows are your fans (or at least potential fans.) They are there to see YOU. They are spending their night out with YOU! They are a captive audience and they are open to suggestions. They WANT what you have. All you have to do is make it easy for them to get it. If you think about it, you're actually doing them a favor.
TIPS For Selling
1. Put the table near the entrance. So the FIRST thing people see when they enter is the merchandise. It's imperative that someone is actually AT the table greeting, answering questions and talking about the product.
2. Put a sign on the table that said he would be signing CDs after the show. The person at the table also "verbally" mentioned this and suggested they get their CDs now in case we ran out.
As a new artist, you may feel you're not "famous" enough to be signing anything. Get over that now! You'd be surprised just how much your fans appreciate this. Believe it or not you're doing your fans a favor. Now they don't have to get embarrassed about ASKING you for an autograph. You've offered. You just made it easy. Don't underestimate the passion or enthusiasm of your fans. You are NOT your own fan. Your fans respect you on a completely different level. You need to realize that.
Send some of our helpers around the room to remind guests that you will be at the merch table signing CDs. Of course, your helpers should have CDs in hand that they offer for sale right then and there. You will move a lot that way. Also tell the guests that even if they don’t want a CD, they should come by and say "hi," because you would love to meet them. (sort of a "meet & greet). This has an incredible effect. Because what it does is make you seem friendly and approachable... Which you need to be with fans!
Have your helpers tell the guests that if they want to meet you, they should form a line along the wall near the table. You will be amazed when a line actually forms. They will stand there... in line... with cash and/or CDs in hand ready to be signed. Its unbelievable! The thing is... once the line forms, it only gets bigger.
Two things cause this:
1. The fact is, customers, consumers, fans, etc. Whether we believe it or not, we like being told what to do. It's just easier. Give them the plan of action. They will simply follow your directions and they will be happy to do it.
2. People want what they don't have... AND what they think others want. Once that line forms, the people you haven’t talked to get interested and the line grows even more! Clubs have been using this technique for years. Put a line outside the door and EVERYBODY wants to get in.
Points to remember...
You can't do this alone. You will need help from a few friends... call them your "MERCH CREW". If they need motivation or an incentive, give them a percentage of what they sell.
Remember. Don't be pushy. That's not what we are talking about. It's NOT a hard sell approach. It's a passionate approach... a genuine approach. If you LOVE what you do... and your fans love you, then THEY will LOVE what you do, (ie. your product.)
Your product It's a little piece of YOU that they can take home. And if you make it personal by signing it, your fan's connection and value has gone up 10 FOLD. You've given them something personal and a memory to go along with it. Your fans may not remember all the songs your performed at your show, but the WILL remember how you made them feel. Don't underestimate the value in that.