Being a booking agent is certainly one of the most rewarding jobs in the music industry, but it’s also one of the hardest. When it’s your job to book artists, you’re guaranteed to run into some tough situations. Business is never easy, and the music business goes that extra mile with communication difficulties. Things can get especially tough when you handle objections from promoters, so what can you do to make sure you take the right steps?
If you have sales experience, a lot of the same frameworks can be applied to being a booking agent and handling objections. Let’s take a look at this in detail.
The most important thing you can do when dealing with promoters objecting is to listen to their demands and make it clear that they are heard. A lot of the time, people simply only hear what they want, and tune out the rest. People have an acute sense for this, and will certainly feel like a number if you treat them like one. If you want to be a killer booking agent, the first step to overcoming objections like a pro is to step back and actually listen to what they have to say, instead of only thinking about your bottom line.
Next, you’ll have to actually do something about their objection. Most likely, the one you will hear the most is that they want a lower price. While this is a standard part of the bookings process, you don’t have to break the bank. Think about the long term potential of the client, and if a lower price now can secure more bookings for your artists later. If this is your intention, make sure to negotiate clearly so that no one leaves the table uncertain.
The best way to handle this kind of objection is to find a way to add more value to the situation. Beyond asking for more bookings in the future, you could also present another act to bundle the original artist with, or a special price on a liveact. There’s always something you can do to make the situation a bit more valuable to the promoter - you just have to know your business well, and be creative.
You will most likely also encounter objections from artists as a booking agent. While the more serious objections such as “My schedule is too full” and “I’m having a mental health crisis” should certainly be taken seriously, it will be your job to handle your artists objections regarding stuff like timeslots, stage placements, and the non-stop barrage of questions about why Artist X or Y got there instead.
This is where managing artist expectations comes in. You’ll need to make sure to keep your artists grounded and to communicate with them genuinely. Make sure they stay on planet earth - as the booking agent, you are the bridge between the artist and the promoter, and it’s your job to make sure that neither person on either side of the deal is left unsatisfied.
If you want to be a professional booking agent, you will need to become an expert and handle objections respectfully. Don’t worry - practice makes perfect, and it’s simply the best way to become skilled at this specific part of the job.
Thanks for reading the Stagent blog! We hope you learned something, and invite you to learn some more about the music industry and our artist management software by checking out the rest of our blogs.