The one and only Bob Schneider
One of my favorite things in life is to go to a live show, stand in the middle of the room and listen to the voices around me sing every lyric to every song. And from the musicians perspective, I would think that hearing and watching the audience sing – loudly, even – the lyrics that you wrote, that started as just a collection of words floating around in your head – has got to be incredibly rewarding and validating.
So my question to you as a company is, are your customers singing along with you? Do they know you so well that they WANT to learn all the lyrics? Do they know where the key changes are and the origin of your songs? And are they just humming along, tapping their toes? Or are they leaning forward, arms raised, pounding the air and screaming out each and every word?
I know there’s a lot of talk out there about “fans.” But I think we have to go deeper and begin to dissect the anatomy of what a true fan really is. Without a doubt, they are the people that know you. That know your words and ways and what song is coming up next. But the other thing is that everyone has their own favorite song. And that’s why – to continue the metaphor – you need to have that killer set instead of that one-hit-wonder.
So listen to the audience. Are they singing along at the top of their lungs? Can you step back from the mic long enough to listen to them?
Lucero at the Handlebar
At the STRONG urging of a friend, I went to see Lucero at a local venue last week. The only exposure I had up to that point was listening to some of their music on their MySpace page. But Jamie and Leslie know their music, so off I went. I honestly had no idea what to expect, but I wasn’t disappointed. The doors open to a crowded room of folks I’d never seen in the Greenvegas before. And as I immersed myself into the music, I noticed that ever-present group of people at the front of the stage. You know the ones. They know all the lyrics. They know every guitar riff. And you can always see the silhouette of their hands up in the air. Twirling and moving and shaking through the entire set.
So, as these types of things tend to do, it got me thinking. Those folks are the true handraisers. They aren’t your typical customer. But they will come from far and wide to support their own. Because they feel ownership. They feel pride. And they aren’t afraid to let loose and lose themselves in the experience. And by doing that, they allow others around them to get into the experience as well. Make no mistake about it, this goes far beyond bands. It goes for your company, too.
There are handraisers for hire and then there are true handraisers. One takes more time and effort to identify, approach and have conversations with. But that group will always be there for you. They will always show up to support that thing that makes them feel a part of something bigger than themselves. And as long as you never forget that, then they’ll never forget you.