Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Calling Tips from Chinook Records - F.A.B.


Want more dancers in your club?  Use FAB!
  
What is FAB?

FAB is a proven selling technique whose initial letters mean:

 F = Feature
 A = Advantage
 B = Benefit

A FEATURE is what the product "is". Square dance ads often mention only features: exercise, fun, friends, music. Features are easy to identify. Most features are nouns. While square dancing indeed offers many great features, persuasion requires much more than just features.

An ADVANTAGE is what the product "does". Sometimes an advantage compares your product to competing products. Advantages are often modifiers: faster, better, friendlier. For example, square dancing is not just exercise: it's fun exercise. Square dancing isn't just friends: it's lifelong friends. Advantages are great, but persuasion requires more than just advantages.

A BENEFIT is what the Feature and Advantage will do FOR YOU. Benefits explain the main thing your prospect wants to know: "What's in it for ME?".

Benefits sell

People buy benefits. Think about a store selling beds. But nobody actually wants a bed. People buy a bed to get the benefit they want: a good night's sleep.

Likewise, nobody wants to buy "exercise". They don't even want "fun exercise". Instead, "at the annual office party, I want to look better than that flirty girl from accounting".

Nobody wants "music". They don't even want "a wide variety of music". Instead, they want to "feel your stress melt away while you sing or hum along to your favorite songs from past and present".

Benefits make it personal. Benefits make it persuasive. Benefits spell out what the product actually does ... for ... YOU.

Take a good honest look at your square dance advertisements.

Surely you will see many Features. Square dancing is exercise, music, friends, a mental challenge, fun, sociability, etc.

Occasionally you'll see Advantages: easier exercise, all kinds of music, more fun than other activities.

How often do you see Benefits in square dance ads? How often do we describe what square dancing does for the reader? Can you come up with ways to put yourself in their shoes, and describe exactly what square dancing will do for them?

Examples: You'll be happy. You'll feel energized. You'll feel a closer tie to your community. You'll look better. You'll get (or stay) in shape the FUN way. et cetera

What is BAF?

Let's step FAB up a notch and talk about BAF. BAF is Benefit-Advantage-Feature. It's the same as FAB, except BAF mentions the benefit first. With today's short attention spans, it makes sense to mention the benefit early in the conversation.

FAB example:

 - Feature: Appalachian Mountain Girl on Chinook Records features an authentic bluegrass band.

 - Advantage: Live instruments stir up more down-home happy energy than synthetic instruments.

 - Benefit: You'll have happier dancers and they will admire your keen ear for good music.

Same thing, except BAF:

 - Benefit: Do you want happy dancers who admire your good taste in music?

 - Advantage: Choose music recorded by a live band and specifically produced for square dancing.

 - Feature: Appalachian Mountain Girl on Chinook Records features a real bluegrass band. The guitarist is Doug Davis, owner/producer of Chinook Records. Don't delay! Get your copy right now at www.chinookrecords.com 

Other BAF examples:

Want a memorable and fun night out, while spending none of your hard-earned money? Come to our once-a-year Free Community Dance!

Tired of feeling tired? Gain energy, balance and ease of movement, the fun and exciting way, through American Square Dancing.

Looking for a fun exercise so you can get (or stay) in shape with your partner or your whole family (ages 11 and up)? Square dancing is good, clean, all-American fun. You can try it yourself, next Tuesday evening.

When's the last time you made a new friend? The average adult has made zero new friends in the past five years. Would you like to easily rise above that average?

What's in it for me?

People don't buy features or advantages. They buy benefits. So, start spouting benefits! Instead of describing what square dancing is, describe what it does, and specifically, what it does for your prospect:

Look more toned and attractive.
Have more friends.
Enjoy life more.
Become mentally sharper.
Proudly support your local community.
Improve your health.

Get FAB

Would you like more people at  your beginner sessions? Focus on benefits! Every time you talk to people about square dancing (whether in person, social media, advertising, etc.) think FAB, and focus on the benefit. Explain what square dancing will actually do for your prospect.
 
FAB. Feature. Advantage. Benefit. Features Tell. Benefits Sell !
   
From your friends at
Chinook Records
Chinook Records
18825 North Dunn Road, Colbert, WA 99005

Friday, December 27, 2019

One-Two-FREE Sale at Chinook Records continues until December 31


Dear caller,

Chinook Records One-Two-Free sale continues until December 31.

Purchase two selections at regular price, then your third selection is FREE !

If you're curious about exactly when is 'the last minute', the promotion ends at midnight on New Years Eve, Hawaii Time (GMT - 10 ).

Why wait until the last minute?  Surf to www.chinookrecords.com right now and choose your freebie(s).

Happy Calling!

Doug Davis, owner and producer
Chinook Records
( You received this one-time-only message because you bought music from chinookrecords.com and/or subscribed to the Chinook Calling Tips newsletter. )
Chinook Records
18825 North Dunn Road, Colbert, WA 99005

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

One-Two-FREE sale at ChinookRecords.com


Dear caller,
Here's something new from Chinook Records: our first-ever Customer Appreciation Sale! For a limited time, purchase two selections at regular price, then your third selection is FREE !
Chinook Records always brings you high-quality music at the lowest price on the internet: just six dollars per tune. To make your holidays brighter, our One-Two-FREE sale nets out to a crazy ultra-low four dollars per song! (because after you purchase 2 songs for 12 dollars, your 3rd selection is free.)
 
Surf to www.chinookrecords.com right now and choose your freebie(s).
Happy Calling!
Doug Davis, owner and producer
Chinook Records
( You received this message because you bought music from chinookrecords.com and/or received the Chinook Calling Tips newsletter. )
Chinook Records
18825 North Dunn Road, Colbert, WA 99005

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Hints and Techniques for Square Dance Callers (April 1, 2017)

Let's celebrate April with several hints and techniques for better calling.

Memory Calling

Has this ever happened to you? You're calling a song. Things start out great. But near the end of the song, you forget the words. This common problem has a simple solution. When learning a new song, play the music backward. That way, you can practice the end of the song first, and it will remain fresher in your mind.

Showmanship

Would you like to express more emotion and feeling in your singing calls? You probably already use facial expressions such as smiling. But do you move your eyebrows enough? Eyebrow movements transmit tremendous meaning. Raise both eyebrows, or just one, and the message speaks louder than words. Practice your eyebrow movements often.

Recruiting

Have you ever been stuck in a traffic jam where everyone slowly creeps along? And when you eventually get to the front of the blockage, you discover that the huge line was caused by one stalled car on the roadside? Clearly, people consider the sight of a stalled car irresistibly appealing. They'll wait in line for HOURS just to catch a glimpse. This basic human urge can help you recruit new dancers. At your next open house, park a stalled car inside the dance hall. People will line up for miles just to see it.

Teaching

Do you teach by definition? Consider the plus call "anything and Roll". The definition requires you to turn an additional one-quarter (90 degrees) in the direction you were already going. Consider, from Ocean Waves, "All 8 Circulate ... and Roll". The original outfacers walk a curved path, so they "roll" by facing right or left. But what about the original infacers who walked straight ahead? They are required to rotate one-quarter more ... but HOW? There's only ONE answer: they must fall to the ground, flat on their face.

Styling

Consider the call "Right and Left Grand, Every Other Girl with Every Other Hand". Your dancers probably do an ordinary Right and Left Grand. But that's so wrong. Here's the correct way: do a RIGHT Pull-by with your partner. IGNORE THE VERY NEXT PERSON (thus satisfying the "Every Other Girl" directive). Now give a LEFT (thus satisfying "Every Other Hand") Pull-By to the next person (i.e. your original opposite). Ignore the next, give a RIGHT to the next, etc. It takes TWO trips around the square (four pull-bys and four "ignores") to properly dance "Every Other Girl with Every Other Hand".

Choreography

Be very careful with Mini-Waves. Let's review. An Ocean Wave is "a formation of THREE or more dancers". And a mini-wave is "an Ocean Wave consisting of TWO dancers". Combine the two equations: a mini-wave is a formation of THREE or more dancers, consisting of TWO dancers. Huh?? Three dancers suddenly become two dancers?? That's a huge problem! A mini-wave makes dancers disappear! Experts have long puzzled over the continued decline in dancer population. Now we know why. Mini-waves make dancers disappear. Stop using mini-waves.

Speaker Placement

Race car drivers already know this trick. It's called "slip-streaming". Whenever you use two speakers, place one speaker directly in front of the other. Sound from the first speaker clears a path so that sound from the second speaker can follow along smoothly in the wake. Make sure to alternate your speakers, i.e. the front speaker this time becomes the back speaker next time, so that your speakers will wear evenly.

Go Green

Save energy. Set your amplifier to the lowest possible volume. Of course you'll need to yell into the microphone, but that's a small price to pay for being eco-friendly.

Dancers Moving to Higher Levels

We bemoan the fact that dancers want to move up to higher levels, yet callers are to blame. How often do callers tell dancers to "move up"? We tell them to Square UP, Circle UP four, dance UP to the middle and back, Spin the Top and the Boys Move UP, etc. Callers constantly tell dancers to move UP, and then we're mystified when they actually do move UP. To nullify the "move up" effect, simply call "Chain DOWN the line" more often.

Voice Effectiveness

It's important to grab people's attention so they will listen carefully. Fact: the sound of a crying baby is impossible to ignore. So ... when you call intricate choreography, and you want dancers to pay close attention, punctuate each command by screaming like a baby who needs a diaper change. Your dancers will listen better and thus they will dance better.

Music

Chinook Records, headquartered in Washington state, partnered with another state resident: ultra-billionaire Bill Gates. He agreed to give One Million Dollars (if you're Bill Gates, that's merely pocket change) to one lucky Chinook Records customer. To earn your chance at a cool million, visit Chinook Records website ( www.chinookrecords.com ) and buy music. The more you buy, the bigger your chance to win. You saw this announcement on the internet, therefore you know it's true. Forward this to all your friends.

April Fools

Happy April Fools Day from Chinook Records!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Name That Call

Are you looking for a simple way to make your calling easier for dancers to understand (and thus they'll dance better and have more fun)?
As callers, our job is to say the names of calls. We do a good job when we say each call name correctly.

How can we know the correct name for each call? Simple! Look at the Callerlab Mainstream (or Plus or Advanced) list, where you'll find one (and only one) name for each call.


Abbreviated vs. Complete

Dancers must hear a call, recognize it, then do it. If we abbreviate, we add an extra undesirable step: dancers must now translate "what they heard" into "what was meant".

Examples:

Abbreviated: Circ
Full: Couples Circulate

Incomplete: Pass the O
Complete: Pass the Ocean

Unfinished: Reverse Flutter
Finished: Reverse Flutterwheel

Part of a call: Weave
A full call: Weave The Ring


Made-Up vs. Real

When we use synonyms, dancers need extra time and effort to translate, with increased risk of misunderstanding.

Examples:

Almost Real: Bend Your Line, Bend My Line, Bend That Line, Bend it
Real Call: Bend the Line

Fake Call: Hairy-Legged Ones, Trade
Real Call: Boys Trade

Ersatz: Flutter Flutter Peanut Butter
Bona-Fide: Flutterwheel

Made-up: Chain The Girls Across
Real: Four Ladies Chain

Not real: Well Now The Girls Go In While The Gents Sashay
Real: Ladies In Men Sashay

Mispronounced: Re-sickle like an old dill pickle
Accurate: Recycle

Requires Translation: Spin Your Top, Spin That Old Top
Ready To Use: Spin the Top

Dancers learn real call names during lessons. It's only fair to use those same real call names after lessons.
 

Benefits of using real call names instead of made-up names:

1. Better timing (because dancers no longer need to translate).
2. Better dancing / fewer breakdowns (because calls are easier to decipher).
3. More fun (because of the above two reasons).
4. The caller gains a reputation for being knowledgeable and precise.


Cluttered vs. Clean

"Please hide the calls in a stream of babble, to make hearing and interpreting the calls far more tedious" ... said No Dancer Ever. For smooth dancing, dancers need a clear call name, without audio clutter.

Examples:

Jumbled: Well Now You Circle Up Four, Burst Right Out To a Line Of Four
Clean: Circle to a Line

Imposter: Double Plow Right On Thru
Genuine: Double Pass Thru

Gobbledy-gook: Well Now That First And Third, You'll Bounce Right On Up To The Middle of the Ring, Then Bounce Right Back
Clean: Heads Forward and Back

Cluttered: Rollaway With a Half Sashay
Clean: Rollaway

Error-prone: Let's Square Thru
Clean: Square Thru
("Let's" is easily misunderstood as "Left".)

Cluttered: Do a Swing On Thru, Get Me Two By Two
Clean: Swing Thru
(The cluttered version forces dancers to listen intensely to ten words and pick out two vital words. The clean version contains only the vital words and is therefore five times easier than the cluttered version.)

Cluttered: Well Now You'll Walk All Around The Little Left Hand Lady
Clean: Walk Around The Corner

When we say actual calls (instead of audio clutter), dancers gain because they can hear and enjoy more of the music.
 

Speaking of Music

Now that your calling is newly improved and your dancers are having more fun, surely it's time to celebrate with some great new music from Chinook Records.

Examples of how to get Chinook music:

Abbreviated: Surf It
Complete: visit the website www.ChinookRecords.com

Made-Up: Hit The Cat
Real: Browse the Chinook Music Catalog

Cluttered: (this entire article), LOL
Clean: Give your dancers a special treat of high-quality new music from Chinook

Reasons why www.ChinookRecords.com is your best place to get music:

1. Browse hundreds of instrumental and vocal tracks for free
2. Enjoy safe secure checkout with instant download of MP3s
3. Get the cheapest price in the universe.

Hurry, before we change our mind and raise the price two dollars to match everyone else. :)

Back to our Calling Tip:


Now vs. Later

When dancers receive a call late, the undesirable "stop-and-go" dancing can develop. For better calling and smooth dancing, give the next call efficiently.

Examples:

Delayed Delivery: There's your Corner, Look 'em in the Eye, Get Around That Corner, with a Little Dosado
Quick Delivery: Dosado
(Quick is better because dancers get the call sooner)

Flow-Stopper: Let's Have All Those Boys Do A Run
Flow Enabler: Boys Run

Delayed: Centers make an Arch, are you ready? Outsides Dive In.
On Time: Dive Thru

But I'm Not THAT Bad!

You're probably thinking, "My calling is much better than these examples". You're right! The examples show extreme cases. It's pointless to measure ourselves against bad examples.  The real question should be, "Can my delivery be improved?". Even if your answer is "My Delivery Is Always Perfect and Cannot Be Improved", it's still a great idea to keep practicing so that your delivery remains clear, concise and accurate.

Name That Call

Question: you're the caller, and it's the moment you've been waiting for.  It's time to say the name of a call. Which exact words do you say?

Why not say the real name of the call?

When we use real call names, we improve our timing, increase accuracy, enhance our professional reputation and bring greater dancer enjoyment.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

How to Get Bookings

This article is for new callers. A future article will explore bookings for experienced callers.
Be Empathetic
When we call, we must think like a caller. When we seek bookings, we must think like a "caller-booker" (person or committee who hires callers).
Be Findable
The caller-booker must to be able to easily contact you!  Each caller-booker has favorite method(s) of contact. Make business cards which list all your methods of contact (email, phone, facebook, fax, twitter, website, snail-mail, etc.).
Be Effective
Some callers leave business cards on the check-in or flyer table, hoping that a caller-booker will pick up a card. Some callers hand a business card to a club member with the request, "please give this to your caller-booker". To maximize your chances, use the personal touch: personally give your business card directly to the caller-booker.
Be Persistent
If you don't know who a club's caller-booker is, ask someone. If the person you ask doesn't know, ask the club president. After you find out who the caller-booker is, approach him/her with a genuine smile and offer your business card. You can even mention who pointed you in the right direction: "Hi, your club president told me to speak with you!".
Be Memorable
Try to make the interaction sincere yet memorable. If humor fits your style, use it to make yourself memorable. For
example:
- "If you need a Good Dance done Cheap ... and you're flexible about it being a "Good Dance", then let's talk!".
- "The next time you book callers, you can save yourself a ton of time and effort by calling me first. I'm brand-new, therefore I surely have the date available!".
- "This is a great opportunity to book Tomorrow's Caller at Today's Price!".
If your style is more serious, develop a few reasons why the caller-booker should book you. Example:
- "Future square dancers need experienced callers. The only way to have experienced callers in the future is to book them for dances today. Let's build a better future together."
Be Appreciative
Caller-bookers are volunteers. Their work can be difficult and thankless. Make sure to thank the caller-booker for his/her volunteer service. You can mention the great job the caller-booker has done, i.e. you always enjoy the callers at this club. Make it clear that even if the caller-booker does NOT book you, you still appreciate his/her volunteer effort.
Be Musical
You knew the ad was hiding somewhere in here, right? :) Before you get all these new bookings, you'll surely want some great Chinook music to please your adoring fans. Just think: you could actually become the first caller to own every song in the entire catalog. :) At ChinookRecords.com, you get easy and secure checkout, instant download of MP3s, and the lowest price anywhere. We're two dollars cheaper than some sites! Use the savings to get snazzy business cards for yourself. :) Even if you don't buy a thing, visit the site anyway, where you can listen to hundreds of sample audio clips for free. You might even pick up new ideas to use at your next booking.
Be Helpful
It can be awkward to ask for a booking. You may want to offer a favor in return, such as "If you ever have a last-minute cancellation and you need to find a substitute caller in a hurry, please contact me, even on short notice. I'm eager to help!".
Be a Closer
Ask for the booking. If you find it difficult to ask for the sale, just get over it. :) One effective closing technique is to assume that you will be booked, so let's iron out the details. For example, ask, "How do you usually contact callers for bookings? By Email? Phone? Facebook?". When the caller-booker replies, enthusiastically express that you'll be waiting for that call / email / tweet / PM, etc. You can even ask, "Would it make your life easier if I contact you? When's a good time for you?".
Be Realistic
A 100% success rate is improbable. But you will definitely have some kind of success rate. The more bookings you try to get, the more you'll get. Sometimes it takes repeated attempts, over time, to finally get the booking.
Be Danceable
A guest tip is a great opportunity to get hired. Dancers sometimes find it difficult to dance to a new voice or a different calling style. In addition, new callers generally try to "prove" their skill by using choreo which is too difficult. Keep them dancing! A guest tip where people actually dance is far more impressive than a tip where everyone stands around perplexed.
Be Repeatable
Getting hired is wonderful. Getting hired back (for a repeat engagement) is fabulous! Sometimes the caller-booker will hire you back while the event is still happening. If nobody brings up the topic of a repeat booking during the dance, make sure that you bring it up. A great time is when a club officer says that you "did a great job". You can then suggest that it's a dandy idea to set up a future date.
Be Easy To Book
Caller-bookers have a hard job. They need to figure out (today) which caller dancers will enjoy (months or years from now). Think like a caller-booker, make their job easier, and enjoy more bookings.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Microphone Technique

Today we start an occasional (quarterly? monthly?) newsletter for square dance callers. Each message will explore a different topic. Please feel free to share with other callers.

Microphone Technique

Your microphone converts sound (air) pressure into electric signals. To get the best signal, place your mike to get the best sound pressure.

Most handheld microphones respond directionally. You get the best response when your microphone is held two inches from your mouth, and positioned midway between your mouth and nose. Even a slight move away from that "sweet spot" causes power to drop off rapidly, based on the Law of Inverse Squares. Double the distance and you get one-fourth the power. Triple the distance (i.e. 6 inches away from your mouth instead of 2 inches) and your power is suddenly reduced to one-ninth!

Hints for better microphone technique

Symptom: Reduced power
     Cause: Microphone is too far away
  Solution: Hold your mike two inches from your mouth. You can hold it even closer (but if you hear distortion, it's too close).


Symptom: Flat sound, reduced richness
     Cause: No nasal sounds. Microphone is too low ("chinning the mike")
  Solution: Hold your mike high enough to "hear" your nose as well as your mouth


Symptom: Thin, tinny sound
     Cause: Talking sideways across the microphone ("Sidewinder Style") rather than straight into it
  Solution: Hold your microphone so you can talk straight into it, along the long axis.


When you practice good microphone technique, you increase your vocal power and clarity. Your dancers will hear (and thus dance) better. Your calling will require less effort (and thus be more fun and effective).

"Keep It in the Sweet Spot!"

Now that you've suddenly gained nine times more power in your voice :), you will surely want to treat yourself with a new song from Chinook Records website.  ( www.ChinookRecords.com ) Listen for free, buy for less, delight yourself and your dancers. Have you heard the latest releases?

 "According to My Heart" (CK 230) - a Jim Reeves hit to channel your inner honky-tonk piano

 "Honeysuckle Rose" (CK 234) - Willie Nelson recorded the most famous version, but that's only because people have not yet heard YOUR rendition :)

At Chinook Records, you always enjoy safe, secure checkout and instant download of your MP3s!

Keep your voice, calls, tonal quality, dancers' smiles and square dancing STRONG, by keeping your microphone in the Sweet Spot!

Happy calling!

Your Chinook Records Team