Confessions of a Master CD Sales Woman
by Sharon Wothke & Marc Gunn

Well a great performance and an interactive sales crew is just the start to seling more CDs at gigs. The Rogues also employ other salespeople. "Our sellers work off of a commission, with bonuses built in when an individual's sales total reaches a certain amount. Giving a salesperson a commission motivates them to sell more product than just giving them a flat rate.

We do have minimum pay for a day's work when the sales are not good. In that case the band usually pays $50 day, or a 10% commission of the sales total, whichever is greater. At the more modern venues, such as highland games and celtic festivals, we have found that having a sales table is an extremely successful way to increase sales, especially in combination with a roaming salesperson (when using both are appropriate).

At pub gigs, we only have a sales table. Having someone roam in a tight space like a pub would be seen as too aggressive or invasive, which the Rogues do not encourage their salespeople to be. Friendly competition between two or more sellers is fine as long as there is a feeling of team spirit. Our sellers help each other out when one needs change or more stock. The larger the crowds, the more sales people are needed.

The sheer size of the crowd has a tremendous impact on sales. When you get that many people standing or sitting that close together and they are all excited about the music, it is like a ripple effect--once the sales start flowing, everyone seems to jump on the buying bandwagon. At one particular show at the Maryland Renaissance Festival, where the crowd was huge, our three sellers were not able to maximize the full sales potential.

A good indication of my not being able to tap the sales potential that is when I am standing in one spot and have not moved out of it the entire show. Just as soon as I finish one sell, another person comes up to buy a CD. I call that standing in a "sweet spot"--when people come up to you already wanting to buy a CD. My job then is to try to figure out, as quickly as possible, what CD or CDs would best suit what they are looking for. I always try to point out the fact that they can order more CDs through the website or mail order, or listen to the music on

As a bandmember's wife, I am always trying to promote the band. I take business cards from people who want to hire the band for potential gigs and I direct them to my husband, Randy, who is the business manager for the band."

1. Reward sales people with commission
2. Set up sales table for venues
3. Encourage friendly sales competition
4. More people to sell for larger crowds, enjoy 'ripple effect'
5. Take business cards to gigs and hand out at every opportunity.

Marc Gunn, Bard of the Brobdingnagian Bards has helped 1000's of musicians make money with their musical groups through the and the Texas Musicians Network. Now you can get personal advice by visiting for FREE "how-to" music marketing assistance. No time to visit the site? Subscribe to the distributed weekly for Free. Just e-mail