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The Art of Negotiation

October 22, 2010

Hello All! I feel a little deceitful using this title because it sounds like I’m about to bestow some kind of new knowledge that I’ve figured out over the past months and share it all with you! This is far from the truth as I feel like negotiation is a skill that can be learned and practiced, but never mastered as it deals primarily with the act of compromise which can always be different. However, I do feel like I’ve got a grasp on a couple of key items that have been prominent in all of the negotiations I’ve had so far working with promoters to bring our artists to their event!

1)Although I wish they weren’t, some things really are non-negotiable.
*As an agent, I have spoken with management and our artists about their wants and their needs when looking at shows. I want to emphasize needs – Several of our artists have families they support, special travel needs and specific preferences. When working with promoters, I want to do whatever I can to make it successful for all parties involved, and sometimes, that means passing on a date or suggesting another artist who better fits the logistics of a particular date. As an agent, it’s my least favorite thing to pass on a date, but it’s not only my responsibility to work with promoters to create opportunities for the artists, but to be the voice for our artists and ensuring that the deal I’m working on makes sense for them, their ministry, and their needs.

2) Get creative!
*As I mentioned above, it’s no fun having to pass on a date, so I do my best to get creative. After I’ve taken all the information into consideration and it looks like there’s no way it’s going to come together, it’s time to take a second look. I look at the overall deal and then spend some time considering the parts that are holding us back from moving forward. With that information, I begin to play around with different possibilities such as renting equipment that the promoter is unable to provide, talking to the promoter about other performance possibilities in the area if financials are the issue, and researching different travel possibilities to cut down on costs and travel time for the artists. The possibilities here are endless as every deal can be as unique as desired, so don’t be afraid to suggest some not -so – typical options. If you’re able to make it work, great!

These are just an example of a few of the skills I’m continually working to improve as I put together contracts for out artists. They sound simple, and in reality, they are. But it’s important to keep them in mind for every deal so as an agent, you can feel confident that you have done all you can to make it a successful endeavor for everyone involved.

Are there any non-negotiables you have as an artist, or is coming to a compromise the best way to handle discord?

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