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TOPICS FOR GUITARISTS
Most musicians while sitting quietly in their practice rooms think to themselves, 'all I have to do is be a great artist and I will be discovered.'

But being a great artist does not guarantee being discovered.

In fact, what makes you a great artist often keeps you from making it.

In the end you have to sell yourself to people. No matter what gig you are trying to get, someone makes the final decision. It's your job to identify that person and then convince them that what you have is what they need.

People buy from people they like. But this is only half of the equation. The other half is this: people like the people like themselves.

This doesn't mean you have to copy everything they do nor must you say you like everything they like. The real key to this is to learn about your decision maker. Find out what they like and don't like. Ask them not only about their love of music but the other things going on in their lives. In short, do what most artists don't do. When speaking with your prospective client be more interested in what they are doing than you are in what you are doing.

Most of the time, when we sell ourselves to other people, we emphasize how great we are -- where we went to school, who have we studied with, the music we are interested in, our opinions, us, us, us. That is no way to sell. Get people talking about themselves and use questions to find out what they are looking for in a performer.

If you are talking with the person who programs for a guitar society, ask them who their favorite artist was last year and why. Ask what kind of music they are looking for and what sort of budget they have for artists.

To best sell, you should spend 70% of your time on the phone or in person asking questions. People love to talk about themselves and opine on all sorts of topics and in the process they will usually tell what you need to know and how to position yourself to get the gig (or in some cases, to admit defeat and walk away).

If you are talking with a festival director and he says to you, "If I hear one more piece by Sor, Giuliani, Mertz or Aguado I'm going to scream" and you happen to be a specialist in 19th century guitar music played on original instruments, such questioning can save you a tremendous amount of time and embarrassment.

So, go against type and get to know your fellow man. You will find that there are some remarkable people around you and you just might get a few more gigs.