I guess you know these situations. People don’t listen but they want to talk – especially musicians or politicians. Since you’re building and growing your fanbase, you don’t want these situations.
Wherever you meet new potential fans (remember: this can be anyone), present yourself in one or two clear sentences, then listen. Most of the time, people are not interested in what you say. And most people aren’t interested in you, either. They are interested in hearing themselves talk. Unfortunately, it’s our human natural behavior. We all have a narcissistic trait in us – whether we admit it or not.
So instead of showering them with meaningless words, listen. While listening, look out for hooks to ask questions. For example, someone says, “I always wanted to learn how to play the saxophone.” Wait until they finished their talk. If the topic is still on saxophones when you have a chance to reply, you can ask, “what was in your way to learn it?” Then continue listening again. And if it’s not, you can dump the topic. Maybe they asked something about you…
Make the conversation about them – even when you talk about yourself. So if a potential fan asks you about your music, tell her about your vision and purpose. For example, “my music is about learning disability and I want to encourage people who suffer from this.” (Not the best example, indeed). Keep it simple and concise. Then turn it around and ask her questions.
Learn something about her and save it in your mind for later recall. Because if you do, people will value you (and like you, AND buy from you) a lot more. They will speak with others about you in a positive way. This will bring more people to you. Hence it’s crucial that you take your time and focus on her. Chances are much higher she will become a fan or recommend you to someone else – even if she doesn’t like your music!
Oh, and don’t allow distractions while talking to someone, such as looking at your phone, trying to multitask things or speaking to other people.
So my advice today is that you focus on listening to people. Let them speak. Ask purposeful questions. Listen again. Build rapport.
Start today, but especially next time when you go to a conference, concert, workshop, fan meeting, interview, or anywhere else. If they show interest in what you do, ask them for their contact information, so you can keep in touch. And make sure to keep in touch. Follow up after a day, and recap 1-3 things that you genuinely enjoyed (learned, experienced, etc.) by listening to them. Finally, reap the long-term results.
I know it’s hard. That’s why we start right now because it’s a fundamental skill for growing your fanbase.
P.S. The same principle applies to social media and messages. Read (twice) before you write. And if you write, keep it as simple and concise as possible.