It’s Not Who You Know, It’s How You Know Them

A lot of times you will hear entertainment people say, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” While this is demonstrably true in the world of music industry, movies, and business of all kinds, it takes on a character of anti-knowledge and pro-surface relationships with influencers. Still, it may even be in some ways very true. The person you know may be the only way into an opportunity that can go deeper. That is the point I want to make today in this article and from a webinar I held this summer for artists and managers.

  1. Who Do You Know?

Turn this from a VIP mentality to a work mentality. Develop RELATIONSHIPS.

For instance, I know the A&R person at a major record label. Not too well, but well enough. Seems like a great start. But I need to strategize how I get to know them personally over time with a quality representation of the mutual RELATIONSHIP if I want that to develop into a quality contact and open doors for some of my Madison Line Records artists and Visible Music College students.

One of the first things you must know about the entertainment industry is who to get to know. Is it only the top agents you want to talk to? Only top management?

First, lets establish that the entertainment industry is both completely unlike any other in many ways, and yet exactly like every other in basic business relationships. You need to know the distinctions. One of the first things you must know about the entertainment industry is who to get to know. Is it only the top agents you want to talk to? Only top management? Or are there legitimate business contacts at other levels who may be ablate help you in your specific genre, region, or question? I suggest that everyone who is making money, making ministry, or making connections for artists like you is someone to get to know.

I’ll tell you how I have had a successful career in music and ministry both at the same time.

  1. I appreciate everyone I meet as a child of God.

I practice this on family first.

I practice this on friends always.

I practice this on myself – quick to forgive and believe in myself.

  1. I acknowledge and relate with everyone I meet.

The business receptionist, assistant or secretary, is often influential.

I work respectfully with other artists.

I treat “bigwigs” like everyone else, with respect and focus.

  1. I trust God’s timing and voice in my life, so I listen and act.

I actually do trust Him.

I really do it and my wife helps me stay trusting.

I honestly do trust when it feels impossible.

  1. I keep amazing records.

I track addresses and tasks from emails with absolute attention.

I thank people electronically or by note card for meetings.

I do follow up every time to the best of my ability on every item.

I always ask good questions, which opens up the relationship.


  1. How Do You Know Them?

Relational depth makes the opportunity go further.

At a minimum, do nothing to make the relationship strained, like do not use multiple email lists gained from their events to promote your own thing. Work with people as peers, not attached to them to get what you want. This needs to be trained into artists and managers as they grow inside the business. Business people are still people. They want to talk about themselves, hear about your life, and have a relationship. Even important people.

Even when you do not feel you have something important to give to the person you are meeting, make the relationship about how you can mutually benefit each other.

Share experiences, explore ideas about the world (safely), and suggest deeper thoughts beyond the surface. Practice asking for things clearly in the beginning of your sentence, in the beginning of your phone call, and then come back to them. It is about relationships. Send your emails promptly and with cordiality. You might even offer to help, or some idea that is original.

Above all, leave no reason for your personality to be the hindrance to the callback. Respect people’s time and energy and do what you say you are going to do. It is how you know people, not (just) who you know.

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