How I got Into a Sold Out Show for Free

Last night we went to this 90s rapper, Devin the Dude’s, show at the local music venue, THC. I was the first of my friends to arrive around 2 hours after the doors opened. First, I stopped by the venue and asked if tickets were still on sale, and was told they were. With time to kill, rather than standing around on the sidewalk staring at a parking meter. I strolled over to the bar. After grabbing a drink, my friends arrived and we went back to buy our tickets.

Sold Out

The bouncer checked our IDs and informed us the show was sold out, “sold out? I was just here 5 minutes ago and tickets were still selling.” I exclaimed. Caught off guard we stood around for a couple of minutes and tried to ask if there was any way we could get in still to no avail. I started trying to talk to individual bouncers or employees and ask what was going on with the situation.

Attempt 1

I learned the manager made the executive decision to stop ticket sales. He took the cash box and there was no way to even do transactions at that point. I started talking to a bouncer to learn more about the situation and asked if I could just pay him and go in. I asked what power he had to make decisions and what the ramifications would be of him letting us in. I was trying to see why we couldn’t get in and gather some information. That all didn’t really work and we went back to the bar defeated.

Attempt 2

After a quick game of pool, I went back and found another bouncer and started asking him some similar questions about the situation and if there was anything he could do to help us. That also didn’t go very well. 

Defeated for the second time I started to think strategically how I could get us into the show. I began to realize that I was speaking in terms of what I wanted and not in terms and how the other person could help me. I was focusing on how I could get what I wanted without considering the bouncers’ point of view.

Attempt 3

For the 3rd try I went over to the bouncer, and heard him talk to someone about the Chargers. I asked him if he was a Chargers fan and we got to shooting the shit. Turns out he was a huge football fan and had some very strong opinions about the sport. He clearly was super passionate about football and I am too. I asked him tons of questions about his takes and genuinely listened and showed curiosity into his opinions. 

We talked for about 5 minutes and at the end I asked him if there was any way he could get me in the show. He got me in for free without a second thought. After that I went to the homies to celebrate, they obviously wanted to get in too. I went back to the bouncer with my friends and asked if he could get us all in. Obviously I was pushing my luck and asking a bigger favor there, but after slipping him a quick $10 he let us all get in for free.

How to Win Friends and Influence People

I utilized three principles from How to Win Friends and Influence People to achieve this result:

Become genuinely interested in other people

Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves

Talk in terms of the other person’s interests

Make the other person feel important—and do it sincerely 

Our first couple of attempts were all about how we could benefit and how the bouncers could help us get what we want. In the last attempt I got lucky to overhear something about the bouncer’s interests. I genuinely listened and became super interested in the conversation and allowed him to talk about what he wanted to for a couple of minutes.

 I didn’t guide the conversation to what I wanted to talk about, I simply mirrored and continued to ask relevant questions. Maybe no one in his life listens to him talk about football, who knows? By hearing out his opinions and sincerely making him feel important, I was able to ask a small favor in return.

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