There are many friendly and talkative artists who seem like they’re experts at networking but in actuality, they don’t get the results they want. They seem to be giving too many business cards and they seem to be always busy but there are just no good results. So what are they doing wrong? Here are some ways you’re doing networking the wrong way:
APPROACHING WITH “HOW CAN YOU HELP ME?” INSTEAD OF “HOW CAN I HELP YOU?”
Always remember that the people you plan to approach to help you are constantly being small-talked by new musicians for career help. They can detect these people within 5 mile radius and there’s nothing they dread more than listening to musicians tell them about how good they are and how they want to be helped. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine what it’s like to deal with newbies approaching you every single day! Not fun, right? So what should you do then if you really need their help? Tell them what you need but focus more on how you can help them. Most of these people would dismiss you right away if you only talk about how you can benefit from them. Establish as quickly as you can that you want to be useful to them and you’ll have a bigger chance of them warming up to your requests.
BEING TOO HELPFUL TO THOSE WHO CAN DO YOU NO GOOD.
Pause for a moment and think of those people who just take and take and take from you whether it’s advice or instruments or referrals. What have they given you in return so far? If it’s only been a month, that’s fine. But if you know someone who just takes and takes from you for many years, it’s time to start asking them favors or cutting them off. You’re not working for charity.
SPENDING A LOT OF TIME WITH MUSICIANS ON YOUR LEVEL.
I know it sounds like a cold-hearted advice, but if you want to learn more, you better spend more time with people who are already in the position that you’re aiming to be. Not only will they give you good advice, they’ll help you connect with more important people and even give you perks you’d never imagine. It doesn’t mean you have to cut off your connections with your peers, you simply have to spend more time with those who are above you.
BEING TOO DESPERATE/ASSERTIVE/IMPATIENT.
So let’s say you met a guy who said that he can help you. You feel so giddy because it can put your career to new heights. However, your new friend has not given you any update and it’s been two days! So you give him a call this morning, and you will call him again tonight, and tomorrow, and for the rest of the days until the time he fulfills his promise. This is a big turn-off! You’re dealing with people who have busier lives than you so you really have to wait. Wait for at least a week before you remind him of his promise to you. It’s like a dance. You cannot do limbo rock when he’s still dancing tango. You’re the one who needs help and the least thing you can do is wait.
NOT BRINGING A BUSINESS CARD OR DEMO REEL WHEREVER YOU GO.
Bring your marketing stuff with you wherever you may go because you’ll never know who you’ll bump into at the grocery store or even on your way to the bank. You will miss many opportunities by not bringing your cards. Of course, not totally. But it helps a lot if you hand out a card instead of just looking for a paper and writing down your name and website URL.
James Hill is a veteran of the music industry. He first worked at Warner Reprise Records then later joined Interscope/ Geffen Records where he managed producers and songwriters and got his first platinum record for Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is. He is now helping indie artists with branding and manufacturing through his company Unified Manufacturing, a CD/DVD/vinyl and merch company in LA.