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The Big Texan, 72 Oz. Steaks, and Asking Permission, Part 3

The Big Texan, 72 Oz. Steaks, and Asking Permission, Part 3

The problem with the singing cowboy wasn’t that he hadn’t gotten permission (he asked me, after all) but that I wasn’t anticipating it, and I hadn’t gotten enough information to make an informed choice. 

 

It’s one thing to put someone on the spot and ask them if they’d like to hear a song. It’s another thing to have the customer anticipate that you’re coming, clearly tell you that he wants you to interact with him, and then give him a way to keep in touch when he leaves. 

 

When we stopped at the next gas station, I typed out this note to the Big Texan on my iPhone:

 

 

Hi Guys,

 

I love what you’re doing with the singer at the Big Texan! He’s really talented, and I’d love to see him get even better at reaching the customers that would most enjoy him directly serenading them during dinner. Here’s what I propose:

 

I’d suggest printing off simple folded card to place on every table in the restaurant when he’s playing. It would read: 

 

 

“Howdy! My name is _____, and I’ll be your entertainment for the evening. You can find out more about me at www.yourwebsite.com, and see a list of all my songs. 

 

If you’d like to be serenaded during dinner, leave this card where it is and I’ll visit you. If you like to listen from afar, just move the card to the back of your table.

 

Got a request? Write it on the card and I’ll see what I can do. Tips appreciated- you can even stick the bills in my gun holsters.” 

 

 

Thanks for supporting musicians,

 

Eric Barfield

 

Nashville, TN

 

 

Let’s me break down why I suggested each of these steps: 

 

“Howdy! My name is _____, and I’ll be your entertainment for the evening. 

 

Establishing who he is, why he’s here, and why you should care. This is step one in any conversation with your tribe. 

 

You can find out more about me at www.yourwebsite.com, and see a list of all my songs. 

 

He’s showing what offers (selling himself), and inviting you to participate, while subtly letting you know what he will and will not play by offering a song list (translation: I don’t play Britney Spears so don’t bother requesting it, but I’m good at Kenny Loggins). It also stays in their phone’s search history long after they’ve left, and encourages people to come back and buy a CD or sign up for a newsletter.  

 

If you’d like to be serenaded during dinner, leave this card where it is and I’ll visit you. If you like to listen from afar, just move the card to the back of your table.

 

This is the most crucial step: he’s asking you to make a decision, to take action. But he’s not making you do it blindly- he’s already given you the chance to think about whether you’d like to be serenaded by him, and saying no isn’t going to mean you’ll have to look into his eyes and see the disappointment. This is an opt-out marketing technique- you can bet he’ll be coming over playing and looking for tips if you do nothing and leave your card on the edge of your table. 

 

Got a request? Write it on the card and I’ll see what I can do. Tips appreciated- you can even stick the bills in my gun holsters.” 

 

Another chance to interact, to be part of the experience. It subtly says “if you make me work harder by requesting a song, I’d appreciate a tip. I’m offering an experience worth paying for.” Putting dollar bills in his gun holster isn’t just frosting- it makes giving him money a part of the entertainment. 

 

Why would I take three blog posts to tell you this tale? Because if you work in the music industry, you are a singing cowboy. Every part of what I just wrote directly translates into what I’m saying to my audience, and what you’re saying to yours. Every time I write someone, speak about something I’m passionate about, or do anything with my business, these are the steps I try to take.  

 

To make it more clinical, here’s what I’m saying:

 

1. Show what you do, get permission.

 

2. Listen, interact. 

 

3. Ask for action. Make it easy to take the first step. 

 

4. Establish a long history of trust, and then ask for payment. 

 

5. Get feedback. 

 

 

Sarah is waking up again. “He really was good, wasn’t he.” She yawns. “Who knows? Maybe we can stop by on the way back through”. I smile as the billboards whip by the car window in a cloud of dust.

Mainstage Mondays: Whip Up a Worship Pad From Scratch

Mainstage Mondays: Whip Up a Worship Pad From Scratch

The Big Texan, 72 Oz. Steaks, and Asking Permission, Part 2

The Big Texan, 72 Oz. Steaks, and Asking Permission, Part 2

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