If you’ve ever observed this, you have probably thought something along the lines of:
Why does that person get called for every gig?
Who do they know that gets them all these gigs?
Am I doing something wrong?
When I was finishing school a few years back, I was starting to get some gigs around town and began to notice this.
And you know what?
It was super frustrating.
Since then, I’ve learned a lot (even become a busy contractor myself) and I’m going to let you in on a big secret.
I know you’re probably thinking, “Yeah, yeah, yeah…I know. It’s all about who you know.”
While that is a big part of it, that’s a huge over-simplification and honestly it’s a lazy excuse people make.
The real reason is that contractors typically hire two types of players:
- Their friends (who they know, trust, and like)
- People that make their lives easier
So, #1 is obvious.
People tend to hire their friends, of course.
But number 2 is a little more ambiguous….
What does “make their lives easier…” even mean?
Before we dive too far into this, I want to show you an email I actually received recently when I was hiring an orchestra.
I will never try to hire this person ever again and you’ll see why…
What do you notice?
This dude made a few big mistakes:
- First off, look at the dates. I emailed him on Sept. 30th and he responded on Nov. 23rd (after the first concert was already over!)
- He didn’t follow any of the directions I gave in the email. ALL of the information was in that link.
- You can’t see this, but there isn’t even a concert on the February 23rd. (cue sarcastic GIF)
- But this is probably the most important thing…he’s making me do more work (I’ll explain, don’t worry).
Now, the first three items above are super obvious as to why they’re wrong.
But here’s the thing that almost nobody ever takes in to consideration.
Contractors are super busy.
If you can make a contractor’s life easier, they will love and want to hire you. (<—click to tweet!)
Just think about it, if someone is hiring a full orchestra for a gig they’re going to be reaching out to a ton of different people.
Each one of those people is going to be emailing them.
That’s a lot of people/emails to keep track of.
The last thing a contractor needs is more work.
So in order to help you avoid being like this guy above (and so I don’t write a blog post about you…), below are a few things that you should always keep in mind when dealing with contractors.
If you do these things diligently, I can pretty much guarantee that you will start to form a relationship with every contractor you work with (even if you can’t do the gig).
1. Answer emails as quickly as possible.
Even if you need to look at the calendar, just let them know that you’re interested but need an extra day to confirm. Then always follow up.
I actually keep a completed copy of my W-9 handy just so that I can send along any payment info as soon as they ask.
Also, you might not be the only person getting the call, so keep that in mind.
2. Don’t ask them questions you can find the answer to.
If you have a question that Google can answer, don’t waste someone else’s time because you’re too lazy to look it up yourself.
Someone actually asked me how to get to a gig recently where the train station literally shares a parking lot with the venue…I mean, come on. Google Maps would’ve told you that in less than 30 seconds.
3. If you turn down the gig, always give them referrals.
Even if you can’t do the gig, always send along a list of other people to contact.
Contractors love when you do this because it makes their lives a lot easier if they’re struggling to fill a section.
There’s actually a local orchestra that I’ve been asked to sub with many times over the years but could never make the gig.
But every time they ask, I always recommend a bunch of names of other players.
Even though I had never even played a gig there, I get called over and over again because I always helped them out. (see below to get the exact email I used to do that)
So there you have it.
Simple enough, right?
The recurring theme is here that no matter what the situation, if you can help someone else out, you should.
It’s amazing how far gratitude and generosity will take you in the music business.
At the end of the day, if you do for others what you hope they would do you for, then you’re going to be in great shape.
Now, before I wrap this up, I have something special for you.
I’ve created a PDF for you of word-for-word scripts you can use to:
- reach out to any contractor
- follow up with people in way that will get you hired over and over again
- turn down a gig in a way that will help you get called again (even without playing)
You can literally copy and paste them in to your own emails and never have to worry about what to say again.
These are the exact email scripts that I have sent hundreds of times that have helped me earn tens of thousands of dollars and build relationships with folks at all levels of the industry when just a few years ago I couldn’t get the time of day from many of them.
Just fill out your name below and I’ll send them right to your inbox.