It happens after nearly every decent show I’ve ever played. You’re putting up your gear or getting a drink after a gig and inevitably people are going to come and tell you they enjoyed your music or that you had a good set, or you sound like so and so, etc. Instead of merely saying thank you and engaging in small talk, take advantage of the excitement of your (hopefully new) fans. In an age of endless entertainment and iPod DJ’s, people have shorter attention spans than ever. If you happen to capture the interest of a new fan, make sure and try to make a deeper connection with them. Ask them their name. Ask if they wanna sign the mailing list. Give them a free CD or even a free t-shirt. The word of mouth from one excited new fan is more than worth the price of any of those things. In addition, sometimes selling (or even giving away) merch can be more difficult than it seems. It doesn’t hurt to walk around the bar/club after the show with a bag on you that has your mailing list and some merch. Last night we played at a 3 level venue. After playing downstairs, everyone quickly left and went back up to the top floors. It became quickly apparent that it would helpful to bring the merch upstairs because as soon as we loaded up our stuff and went back upstairs, we were approached by a number of new fans and it was helpful to have the merch with us there. If a fan is excited enough to come and talk to you after the show, they are almost definitely going to tell others and help spread the word. For this reason alone we never let a new fan walk away empty handed, whether they have money or not we are investing in them for the potential return they may provide in the future.