The Artist + Manager Relationship Question

Trust In The Artist + Manager Relationship

KDonoho9 asks:

What is the best way to gain the trust of your client? It seems to me that always being straight with your client, sometimes telling them what they don't want to hear, would develop a trusting relationship, but as we've gone over in class some artists are very easily upset when it comes to information they don't want to hear. From your experience, are there any sure-fire ways to develop a strong trust between yourself and a client? If I am the manager I want my client to bring any problem they have to me, regardless of that problem's nature.

Hartmann responds:

Trust is not assigned, or awarded, it is purchased by action, earned through achievement and reinforced over time. Honesty and integrity are vital components of any business relationship and they are requisite ingredients between partners. Performers come to the music industry lost in the fog of showbiz, blinded by self-confidence and driven to succeed. They quickly learn that building a career in music is a team sport. Their first marriage is to a Personal Manager.

The person to whom one entrusts all of his hopes and dreams must demonstrate a myriad of qualities to a potential client. Business acumen is at the forefront of the manager's contribution to the career building process. A combination of social skills, power personality and accumulated knowledge of the historical trajectory prepares managers to conduct the business of music. A clear understanding of the systems and mechanics of the entertainment industry accelerates the growth and development of any commercial enterprise. Most musicians need a business partner.

Personal values define who we are to our friends, associates and fiduciaries. Our behavior and conversation create the perception of who we are as people. An artist wants his manager to be honest, charming, intelligent, creative, flexible and visionary. If a potential manager advocates honesty, it can be presumed that he values the truth; and that he will be honest in his dealings. If he suggests that you lie , cheat and steal, it should be presumed that he might do that to you.

It is the manager's sacred obligation to always tell his client/partner the facts as he perceives them. Protecting clients from the hard stuff is not doing them a favor. No human enterprise ever goes perfectly well and the best laid plans always go awry. Success accrues to those who can adapt to the changes. When a manager presents the newest problem with the same grace as the last glory, he is preparing the artist to deal with the adversities they will surely face in the future.

Errors and blunders provide opportunities for managers to prove their integrity and honesty to their clients. By claiming responsibility for his mistakes, rather than shifting blame to others, a manager can demonstrate his strength, security and character to his partners. Empathy and caring backed by a twenty-four-seven commitment to the artist's business and personal concerns reinforces the strength of the artist + manager bond. The job is of "personal" service and nothing is off limits. Meticulous care and constant attention are the cornerstones of their relationship.

The trusting is the hard part; everything else needed to build a business around a body of music, can be learned. When choosing business partners, trust carefully, and when you do, trust totally.

John Hartmann © 2008 – 2024