If someone comes up to you after a show and gives you a compliment, it can sometimes be awkward for to accept the feedback. Sure, you appreciate what they’ve said, but you might not know exactly how you are supposed to react.
My first tip? Just say “Thank you”.
You don’t have to be a braggart or some self-involved person to accept a compliment. In fact, I would recommend that you don’t try and “soak up the praise”.
Thank your fan, and if you have the opportunity, use that as a conversation starter to engage with them on a deeper level. Ask them what they liked about the show, if they’ve heard of you before, and just try and gauge what type of fan they are.
Once you’ve figured that out, start asking them questions about their own musical taste, or even just their life.
Start making friends.
It makes very little sense to play a show for someone, gain their appreciation, but then forget to actually take that somewhere.
You’ve already warmed up their heart with your performance; they WANT to like you. Continuing a conversation with this type of contact is very easy.
Find out what common interests that you have. You might both be into a lot of the same music, or maybe you both love video games?
If you have the time, I really-highly-cannot-stress-enough how important it is to make friends with your fans. This is how you start making people “raving fans” who share your music with everyone they know. If you can get a fan to like you, you should never underestimate how valuable such a contact is; you never know what they have to offer you (and what you have to offer them).
I’ve met far too many people who I initially thought were “a bit weird” who turned out to be really awesome people (that I appreciate knowing immensely) for me to not say this.
Talk to your fans!
I’ve gotten gigs, band members, likes, and more because I spoke to my fans.
Learn to delight in speaking with them then. If you don’t like them now, find out what it is that you might like about them (rather than what you don’t like).
I’m as cynical as the next guy; some people are just annoying! I’ve played shows and had some fairly obnoxious people take up my time, when I would rather be talking to some of the more well-adjusted fans in my crowd (who can no longer talk to me because Mr. Obnoxious is monopolizing my time).
You’ll have to decide for yourself how you might deal with those particular people, but consider this:
If you hate people, then you are going to have a hard time being particularly successful. If you aren’t convinced of this, then go read the book “How to Win Friends and Influence people” by Dale Carnegie.
That book will open your eyes to how important your ability to influence people is for you to make it where you want to in life.
Choose to ignore people, and you can expect things to become much harder for you.
Choosing to ignore certain people? Well that might just be a strategic choice on your part.
Ask them to add you on Facebook, and get them in your newsletter (you do carry a newsletter sign-up sheet with you at all your gigs, right?)
A great idea is to offer them a digital download of your music for free. In fact, you should probably have this as an incentive to sign up for your newsletter anyways, but it shouldn’t be a tit-for-tat kind of thing; offer them the download regardless of whether they sign up, you’ve no idea how much loyalty a simple gift can provide.
A good way to word it is to say “Hey we have a free download of _____[song] that we’re giving away. If you put your email down, we’ll send it straight to your inbox”. Many people will be interested in that. You can also refer them to your website if you want.
As a final note, I want to leave you with this.
If a fan asks you to write about this or that, let them know that you don’t take song idea requests unless it’s from a collaborator (unless you really like their idea), but you do take concert location requests.
Sometimes you don’t always know where your fans want to see you play, but if you have a bunch of people requesting that you go visit Calgary Alberta to play a show, you can take it into account the next time you plan a tour.
It’s a good way to not offend a fan by shooting down their idea, because you’re offering them another thing they can request in return. Plus it gives you good demographic information so that your tours can be more successful.
The bottom line is that you can turn down a fans (sometimes ridiculous) request as much as you like, without getting all pissy or offending them.
You really are in control of your musical endeavors, and you can use that responsibility wisely and craft endearment from your fans (multiplying your efforts), or you can botch it entirely and miss out on big opportunities.
So what's your choice?
My name is Andrew Muller. I love creative art, music, television shows, movies, video games, and a good story.
If you had to find me somewhere, you would probably find me down at O'neils home cooking eating an organic sweet-potato bun breakfast sandwich with ham.
Among my friends, it's a "Muller Classic Move" to eat Mcdonald's at 2am because it's cheap and open 24/7. The joke here is that I'm an idiot.
I play drums, guitar, piano, and I write & perform music for My Goal Is Telepathy. Take a listen to the latest sound here.