Yes, I know it sounds terrible. The door-to-door salesman in the polyester suit trying to sell you a vacuum cleaner you don’t want. But wait, there’s more!
In this business though, in any business really, you must know that you are a sales person. Each and every one of you. We are all selling every day. “Sales” tends to have a negative connotation when speaking of art but if you simply reframe it as the process of spreading the word (describing the value) about your music then it won’t feel like sales at all.
Your live show is either selling people or it isn’t and if you want your business to grow then you want it to sell people. They need to walk away saying “you know that’s the best darn (vacuum cleaner) I’ve ever seen!” How you interact with the fans – that’s sales too. If you’re a jerk to them you’ve probably lost a sale (unless that’s your shtick). Being able to succinctly describe your band to anyone on the street with the hopes of convincing them to come see your show? Sales.
In all of these cases you are helping the potential customer see the value in what you offer. You are also building up a level of trust with each customer/fan.
This same mentality is required when meeting with business people, not just fans. This is where I see many bands stumble. Many bands are fearful or uncertain as to how to approach a booking agent, another band, a venue, or a promoter. This is where the little voice inside the head says “you’re not good enough” or “you have nothing to offer them.” Fact is, if you want to grow your business to the point that you can bring on partners (agent, manager, label), then you need to get over this hump. In this case I’d recommend making a list of all the things you can offer in each scenario. See in your own work what value you are bringing to the table. Reframe your position and see how you can offer them an opportunity, a chance to be a part of something that matters, rather than coming at it from the “can you help me” perspective.
Be strong, be confident, know your value and display that value. Everything you’re doing to grow the band is sales so commit to becoming a great sales person. In the worst case you can always sell vacuums if the music career doesn’t work! I’m guessing you won’t want to do that though so you better get selling!