Calling more than one agent at a time can actually make it harder, not easier, for you to find a great band for your party. Here’s why.
Bands and agents have long-term relationships, and the business has its own rules that almost all professionals follow:
1. A band leader will work with the first agent who reaches out about a specific party.
2. Agents will all quote the same price for a band. In other words, you should pay the same price no matter what agent you use.
Bands pay agents a percentage of their fee to the agent in exchange for the agent doing the work of booking the party, coordinating with the host, etc. Agents don’t get paid for the time they spend looking for a band.
If you call three agents in the same city on the same day, they will all start making calls to bands. At some point, Agent X will call a band someone else has called. The bandleader will say hi, thanks for calling, but I’ve already talked to Agent Y about that party. After a couple of those calls, agents start to realize that multiple calls are being placed, sometimes through other agents and sometimes directly to the bands. They have to evaluate the likelihood of making the connection against the confusion of all of these people trying to tackle one task.
Instead of having one agent focused like a laser on presenting great options to you, you’ve now got two or three agents all wondering if there is a more productive use of their time.
My suggestion is this. Talk to one agent–I hope it is me. Give that agent a reasonable period of time, like a week, to help you identify some great options. Don’t be afraid to ask to see other options if you don’t like the first ones, and to talk about what factors – date, availability, budget, timeline – might affect the selection.
Then, if you really don’t like your options, say thank you and move on. Realize, however, that if you then call another agent, or call the band directly, the band will still feel obligated to work with the first agent who contacted them about your party. It is helpful, and it won’t hurt anyone’s feelings, if you tell a second agent that you talked to the first one and he or she presented specific bands you did not want to hire.
Are there exceptions?
Sure. There are times when you might get a different price, often because of an exclusive management relationship, a mark-up policy, or special facts or relationships
Also, don’t forget, you are the customer. If you feel that an agent doesn’t understand your goals or is bullying you to sign a contract right away when you’re not sure, you are free to walk away and refuse to work with that agent. In the right deal, everybody wins, so stay focused on working with someone who can find the win-win and set you up for a fantastic party with live music.