Tag Archives: Wedding DJ Tips

Rip Off The Rearview Mirror

By Mitch Taylor:

Out of the blue the other day I got a call from a fellow DJ and his statements somewhat surprised me.  He said biz had slowed down and he was struggling a bit.  He blamed it on himself first saying he hadn’t been beating the pavement as much as he had in the past but then, after suggesting a few thing he could do to better his situation (after all he did call me, right?), the verbal posturing began and suddenly the blame is placed upon the multi-ops who send out $500 DJs, payola in our business and everything else.

Why am I sharing this with you in this space?  Because I’m sure that you have been in this same place at one time or another.  I know I have.

Look at yourself in the mirror.  Dead in the eyes.  Realize YOU have the power to control your life.  We live in the land where dreams are made, during a technological revolution.  Stop making excuses and take advantage of the incredible opportunity that lays before you.  Seize it.  TODAY.  Right Now.

Where do you draw your inspiration?  I write this coming back from a conference of my peers and being around them inspires me to do great things, better things.  What inspires you?

For me, it’s my kids.  It’s the look on a bride’s face, that genuine smile of knowing from a mother when you put your heart and soul into an event and everything turned out better than they could have imagined.  It’s the knowledge that I continually need to improve and step up my game because some young buck is coming up behind me somewhere, hungry to take over my business and get his cut.

Rip off the rear view mirror.  Don’t look back.  Always keep improving.

If you need help with motivation and things you can do to be better, check out fellow Promo Only columnist and person that inspires me Mike Walter’s book “10 Things You Can Do To Have A Better Day.” A great read.

I’ll let you in on another little secret.  You know someone else that inspires me?  Go look in the mirror.  It’s you.  You, your passion, desire and drive for this business.

Now go out and make someone’s day better!

About: Mitch Taylor owns and operates Taylored Weddings and can be reached via email at mitch@mitchtaylor.net. For more info about his Creating Connections books and workshops visit creatingconnections.biz

“I Turned Down My First Client”

By Brian Buonassissi:

 

Here’s a statement I never thought I would make: After some 22 years of business I turned down my first client. Last year, I was listening to one of the PHDJ podcast episodes hosted by Mike Walter and Joe Bunn (if you’re not subscribed to it, you need to be) and the question came up if either of them had ever turned down a client? Like me, up to that point, neither of them had. However, the question gave me serious pause to think about clients that were “questionable.”

I can think of a handful of clients our company has taken on where, when we went to contract, I had a feeling they were going to be trouble clients. In the end, they all ended up to be exactly that – every single one of them. In some cases, we had to give a partial or full refund. Listening to the podcast, I began to ask myself, “Why did we take these clients on?”

The reasons varied. Part of me didn’t want to feel defeated. I wanted us to take on the challenge of making these clients have the party of their life. Another part of me may have wanted to make sure our DJs were working and there was fear that another booking may not come. And then there was another part of me that wanted to bring in the revenue.

As my DJ profile and demand has grown over the years, I’ve had the luxury of being able to pick and choose which clients are “the right fit” for me. If a client wasn’t a good fit, I’d send it down the chain to one of our other guys. That type of client didn’t really affect me as our other DJs had to deal with it and I masked it by saying, “It was good training” for them.

It hit in me in the face that I was being rather selfish. That started a process over the last few months of 2017 in identifying just who our ideal client was. I’ll share some of that with you.

Our ideal client:
*is between the age of 22-35
*is kind and generous
*is creative – loves uniqueness
*is cutting edge – enjoys social media and mobile apps, open to incorporating the latest and greatest
*Loves a variety of different music or at least has an appreciation for many different genres
*has an awareness that a DJ can make/break their event
*easily recognizes and appreciates value over low quality
*is willing to collaborate with us (there’s a mutual trust between us)
*has a crowd that loves to dance any chance they get
*communicates well and appreciates timely responses and reciprocates

That’s our Top 10 list. Once I identified our ideal client, it really put me (and our sales staff) in the driver’s seat and we found ourselves interviewing our clients just as much as they were interviewing us before taking on a job. There is still nervousness that I may lose out on revenue but the negatives of taking on a client that isn’t a fit completely outweigh any positives.

Back to the client I turned down…in a nutshell, they didn’t pass muster on 5 of the 10 on our list. It was enough of a warning sign for me that I knew this wasn’t the right client for us. I sent the client a contract anyway. However, when they came back with changes they wanted to see to the contract, it was like a little nudge from the heavens telling me to abort.

I spent some time thinking through how to communicate that I was going to rescind the contract offer; the last thing I wanted to do was for the planner to stop sending referrals (some of our best parties came from her). I talked to the planner first (over the phone) and she totally understood and even said she wished she had done the same. I tried calling the client twice but got v/m both times, so I drafted a nice email and sent it off. I never heard back. Again, more confirmation that I made the right call.

Have you ever had a trouble client? What have you done? It’s not a matter of if you’ll ever have one but when. If you take one thing away from post today, I would encourage you to identify your ideal client with no more than 10 bullet points. The process challenges you to real drill down. I think it will do wonders for your business. It has for mine.

Based out of NYC, DJ Brian Buonassissi is a successful internationally traveling DJ/MC specializing in luxury destination private events. He runs a multi-city mobile DJ/event business with offices in Southern California, Destin, FL and New York City. You can connect with him at brian@djbrianbofficial.com

Social, Mobile and You (Second in a Series)

By Mitch Taylor:

Last month we talked about how the vast majority of people have their smartphone within three feet of them at all times and the three important items you need to be sure you have on your mobile website to capture their attention.
This month, we’ll be highlighting the social side of social media (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, etc.). For this article’s purposes, we’ll be focusing on the biggest of the social media platforms, Facebook.

The best way to navigate Facebook is to hire a professional to handle your contests or at minimum consult with one to find the best contest app for your desired outcome. Why? You must be careful with the methods you use to generate “likes.” Facebook has rules, especially regarding contents, and failure to adhere to those rules can get your page taken down, requiring you to build your entire Facebook presence again.

Taylored Weddings has recently consulted with Caryn Terradas of SpeakEasy and has had great success with her abilities to increase our exposure and outreach on our Facebook page. That said, do your due diligence in consulting an expert; there are many fly by night companies trying to get into the game of social media management.

Okay. You’ve consulted with an expert and determined what you want to achieve with your page. Now what do you say? My good friend Brian Kelm, Master of I Do, has a great approach and one that I have adapted to my business with great success.

1) Be sure to friend your clients on Facebook. This will allow their friends to see your postings when you tag them in one.

2) Every 30 days leading up to your client’s event date, go to their profile and find a picture that best represents them, then click “share, along with a comment about couple and their upcoming event; i.e. “@YourCompanyName is looking forward to celebrating with @Heather Smith and @John Johnson in just four weeks from today. Surprises galore in store with fun and smiles all day! So glad they chose @YourFavoritePhotographer to capture their moments!”

By including the venue and other vendors you actively promote them as well. It’s a win-win for everyone! You may also want to try a Vendor Of The Week Bridal Tip Tuesday, Wedding Wish Wednesday, Tradition Thursday, or Friday Fun Facts. I know one company that does well having a trivia contest and others who put up YouTube videos on their wall and have their fans post their favorite clips as well.

The bottom line with any social media is that you must be GENUINE and interactive. Today’s clientele can spot a phony and a sales pitch from a mile away. Provide value first, cultivate the relationship and the referrals will come!

About: Mitch Taylor owns and operates Taylored Weddings and can be reached via email at mitch@mitchtaylor.net. For more info about his Creating Connections books and workshops visit creatingconnections.biz

Book More Events By Spreading Out Your Reviews

By Brian Buonassissi:

A wise businessman once told me, “To book more business, be everywhere.” These days it’s never been easier or more affordable to be everywhere — that’s why reviews are so great! They don’t cost you anything and with a ton of third-party review sites out there, your chances of clients finding you go way up the more places those reviews can be seen.

Just like social media, some will gravitate to certain platform over others. Very few (that I’ve seen anyway) use multiple review sites. I also think asking clients to leave reviews on multiple review sites comes across as a chore (even if it is just a copy and paste) and does nothing to motivate them to jump on a computer and start cranking out a review.

One of the biggest changes we’ve made in our business to increase the number of places where we can be found is to ask clients what reviews sites they use on our client intake form. We’ve struck the verb “review” from our company vernacular (it’s such an ugly word) so the way we phrase these questions (we feel) helps us get those answers.

Here’s the verbiage we use…
*Have you set up a Knot Profile?
*Have you set up a WeddingWire Profile?
*Are you a frequent Yelper?
*Do you use Google Reviews?
*Do you use Facebook Reviews?

If there are other sites you use which have an option for reviews (i.e. GigMasters, Thumbtack, etc.), you might want to add those to the list above. By asking these questions on a client intake form, it is much more disarming. That said, if they don’t fill this out before our “creative planning meeting”, we’ll do it in person when we meet. It gives us a good idea of not only the effectiveness of this strategy but also gives us direction on where to send them when it’s time to send them a request to “share their experience”.

This is important for Yelp especially. With that particular site, if they aren’t a frequent Yelper, it doesn’t do any good to send them there because their review will be posted under the “unverified” category and those reviews are not easy to find. Yelp (as do all these sites) want it to feel organic and not as if the company asked for it. If they are a frequent Yelper, send them there. Those reviews won’t get flagged and you should be fine.

Now, going this route may cut down how many reviews you get on a specific site and could put your “best of” awards from those sites in jeopardy by not meeting a certain threshold. If they utilize more than two of these sites mentioned above, we’ll rotate out our review requests every three or so months with which one we push clients to use, assuming they are using multiple platforms.

By doing it this way, it still allows us to hit that magical number to qualify for the awards.

If you have never tried this approach, I encourage you to give it a test run. See if your inquiry sources start to multiply. If your sales pitch is solid, this should hopefully lead to more bookings.

Let me know how it works for you.

Based out of NYC, DJ Brian Buonassissi is a successful internationally traveling DJ/MC specializing in luxury destination private events. He runs a multi-city mobile DJ/event business with offices in Southern California, Destin, FL and New York City. You can connect with him at brianbuonassissi@discjockeynews.com.

Playlists. The Demise of DJing?

By Tony Fernandez

Google “playlists” and you’ll likely get the following results: Best 25 Playlist Ideas on Pinterest, Playlists from Spotify, Playlists from Soundcloud, Playlists from Tidal, The Ultimate Wedding playlist… none of which bode too well for the DJ industry, at least as we know it.

And there is no stopping the trend.

In a relatively short span of time, playlists have grown from innocuous lists of songs individuals put together to run, work out, enjoy in the car, etc. to defacto musical blueprints for weddings, parties, and life experiences.

 I don’t want to come of like some old geezer that doesn’t embrace technology. I’m a geek with a very well populated hard drive and the skill to know how to use it. So I get that playlists serve a purpose: it’s how most people organize, cultivate and share their music.

But playlists are also dumbing down the most important aspect of DJing — music. And it’s happening on two fronts.

First, given the ubiquity of playlists, regular people (i.e. people with the potential to sign your paycheck) are under the delusion that if they can pick tunes for their life events, why hire you to do it. Of course, as professionals, we know it’s not so easy to string along a set of songs together and whip up a party.

Making a list of songs is easy. Making a list of songs work for a group of people in a harmonious, fluid, timely, and celebratory manner is hard.

Secondly, as the digital age of music has immersed our society in streaming the music we consume, DJs (to me) have lost the drive and desire to explore music and seem to rely on playlists to do their thinking. It’s akin to having a tiger in captivity and a tiger in the wild. If a captive tiger is being fed, that tiger isn’t going to be as sharp as the wild tiger that seeks out and hunts its food.

Don’t get me wrong, we’ve all asked for help with music. There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking advice, assistance, and insight from your peers. It just seems to me that there are far too many DJs taking the easy road and expecting playlists to properly execute a well-played set. I know that playlists are not going away. I’m not daft enough to even suggest DJs shouldn’t use playlists. They are a great resource when used to supplement your arsenal. But come on kids, don’t be lazy, don’t be complacent. Learn your music, learn your craft.

The benefits and rewards you’ll reap will serve you for your entire career.

P.S. I’ve recently discovered something even scarier about playlists. Companies like Spotify will soon be using the playlists being generated and shared by their subscribers to target market to those very same subscribers.   But don’t worry about that, Google, Apple, and Skynet have bigger and better plans… J

Based out of Richmond, VA, DJ Tony Fernandez has been a DJ, Remixer, Producer, Musical Soothsayer and Audio Gear Oracle since 1980. Find him on facebook. Email djtonytf@gmail.com

Trust

By Mitch Taylor:

I recently wrapped up an event and found myself again amazed by the power of one word.  My clients were Dick and Elga, a couple who had tied the knot in a beautiful ceremony fifty years ago to the day.  Their golden anniversary celebration was well attended, filled with laughter, dancing, a few tears. As the night ended, the one word Dick boiled it down to when thanking me was simply this: trust.  Dick looked me in the eyes and said, “I trusted you to deliver tonight and you came through. You kept your promise to make tonight unforgettable.”

Isn’t it amazing how one word can have such a profound effect on how we do business, what we achieve in life and where we go?  Trust is also the ultimate reason a client hires you…or not.

How do you build trust?  

Trust begins with word of mouth about your company. Trust continues when a potential client visits your website and sees the reputation you’ve built reinforced by the online testimonials that appear on your site.  You must then back up the initial trust placed in you by updating your clients throughout every step of planning, by following through on every promise made, and by maintaining your brand’s integrity from beginning to end.

You also need to trust in yourself and in your advisors or coaches.  

What, you don’t have a coach?  Get one.  Someone you trust who is where you want to be, who can help you through the rough patches. Sometimes it’s not enough to trust in yourself, your talent and abilities to deliver; too often we all hear that little voice inside our head that says “no you can’t”. Find someone who believes in you, even when you might not.

For me that person was Kyle Cease, a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, whose Evolving Out Loud events and unique blend of comedy and personal evolution encouraged me to take full responsibility for the success of my client’s events. The minute I committed to this my clients were happier, referred my services more often, and even paid more for my services.

All because of one word.

Trust can be the catalyst to providing a better life for you and your family.

Do you trust me enough to take action on the words you have just read?

Because I trust that if you do, you will succeed beyond your wildest dreams.

Mitch Taylor has worked in the Mobile Disc Jockey industry for over two decades, first cutting his teeth as an on-board club DJ for Carnival Cruise Lines. In addition to owning and operating Taylored Weddings in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, he is a sought-after speaker and Gitomer Certified Advisor whose sales training, books, coaching and workshops are in high demand all over the country. 

Is your first impression the RIGHT impression?

By Mitch Taylor:

Recently I was about to order breakfast at a hotel restaurant and was shocked to see that a three-egg omelet was $20.00. While at first I was thinking of turning around and going across the street to McDonald’s, I decided to continue.

Why? Everything about this restaurant spoke FIRST CLASS: The surroundings were impeccable. The waiter was extremely polite and cordial, asking us how quick we had to make it to our next event in the morning. The menu had souffléés and other high-end options with top ingredients listed in their offerings. I thought to myself “Let’s see what a $20 omelet tastes like.”

Our food came and it was absolutely phenomenal. The eggs were fluffy, the vegetables were not too over or undercooked. The meat was perfectly seasoned and tender. The cheese was melted just enough to pull in all of the flavors of the omelet together.

What does this experience have to do with you? Everything. What’s your presentation? Look at all of your service offerings and see if they are congruent. Does your website match the level of service you offer? Think like a bride or better yet, create a focus group from your past brides. How? Ask them. Most brides would LOVE to put themselves back into wedding planning mode even if it’s just for a few hours.

Once you have your focus group, ask them to rate upcoming marketing materials you plan to put out to put all of your services in order of preference with regards to quality and appearance. See what resonates with them and what doesn’t. Take care of the brides you surveyed afterwards by giving them each a gift card to their favorite restaurant. Trust me, it may seem a bit much to money to spend on research but in the long run it will be worth that and more because you will have your target customers (past brides) review your materials and give you valuable insight as to what they liked and what they didn’t.

Next: Do your marketing materials (business card, website, brochure, bridal show display) equal where you are at in your marketplace? If not you may be sending the wrong message. For example, if you are the highest priced entertainer in your market but your bridal show booth involves you standing behind it or worse yet just having brides fill out a slip without any engagement, then you are not sending the right message and brides will get confused as to why you are priced at the top of the market. As a recent bride told me at a bridal show when watching a DJ perform there “I don’t know why they bring third rate equipment to sell to first rate brides.”

Everything you do and offer makes an impression. Someone is always watching you when you are servicing the public. Always make sure to put your best foot forward and ensure your marketing stays congruent with the level of service you are providing.

Mitch Taylor has worked in the Mobile Disc Jockey industry for over two decades, first cutting his teeth as an on-board club DJ for Carnival Cruise Lines. In addition to owning and operating Taylored Weddings in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, he is a sought-after speaker and Gitomer Certified Advisor whose sales training, books, coaching and workshops are in high demand all over the country. 

What happened to Opening DJs?

By Tony Fernandez

Another year has passed and with the New Year is upon us it’s time to reflect. As I look back on the past year and forward into next year, I had a thought strike me: Where are the opening DJs?

Now before we get too deep into this thread, hear me out. This may seem like more of a club DJ thing, but you mobile DJs need to stick around. I read posts all the time about tandem mobile DJs, DJs-in-training, new DJs looking to get some live experience – an opening DJ slot is a great way to take things to the next level.

What exactly is an opening DJ? An opening DJ is a VERY important role in the grand scheme of how a night is going to roll out. It’s a very specialized skill.

Your job as an opening DJ is to set the table, as it were.   You’re setting the tone for the night. You’re like the first stage of a rocket heading into orbit… if you don’t do your job right, no one is going anywhere.

The internet has been a great source in reading (horror) stories about opening DJs and their folly. DJs that play inappropriate tracks, DJs that play tracks at 10:30 that should be played at 12:30. DJs that don’t know how to read a room. DJs that are not well versed in the subtlety of programming and set building.

There’s no doubt that going from gig to gig, events are different. But the role of the opening DJ stays pretty constant. This is a GREAT opportunity to learn and hone your song programming and crowd reading skills.  You can test, try out, experiment, and probe. You can build on your skill set and improve on that skill set.

Your role isn’t to supersede or usurp the DJ coming on after you. By all means, do your best, take the moment to shine, and make it your own. However, as an opener, you’re not the focus of the night. Do your job, know your role, whet your skills, and you’ll be surprised how you can succeed.

Keep on spinning.

Based out of Richmond, VA, DJ Tony Fernandez has been a DJ, Remixer, Producer, Musical Soothsayer and Audio Gear Oracle since 1980. Find him on facebook. Email djtonytf@gmail.com

6 Things Your Bride Won’t Tell You (until it’s too late)

By Glen Ervin:

No one likes a bad review. Especially DJs. Especially on bridal sites such as WeddingWire and The Knot. Bad reviews are, after all, bad for business.

How can you make sure your reviews remain largely five stars? Let’s count the ways…

  1. Map out the major moments

Wedding party introductions, first dance, father/daughter, mother/son, bouquet toss, garter toss, last song – most bride’s are quick to let you know what songs they’d like played; few, however, consider the full impact of their choices. Does the bride want to spend a full four-minute song dancing with her new hubby or would she prefer a quick spin? How long is the groom comfortable dancing with his mom, etc.? Never miss the chance to communicate your concern for your client’s comfort prior to the event.

  1. You had one job

I once managed to screw up “Smith.” Yep. There it was on the grand entrance list the bride had given me: “Smyth.” What she failed to tell me – and I failed to ask – was that it was pronounced “Sm-eye-th.” I have since learned to write EVERY unusual name or spelling – first and last – down pho-net-tic-lee.

  1. The more you know the better the show

It’s one thing to see “Hot In Herre” on a client’s playlist and another to hear from the bride that the song “was our high-school jam and will keep my girls on the floor.” Or that anything by Stevie Wonder will be a big hit with the bride’s mom. That info, and a well-timed spin, is your ticket to greatness. Ask for the story behind the songs.

  1. Establish a do-not play zone

While most brides have no problem giving a DJ the leeway to takes requests, don’t hesitate to ask if there are any songs or genres she prefers not to hear. And be prepared to inform guests that the couple has asked that those songs not be played on “their day” – and to immediately offer said guest the chance to make another request.

  1. Pump up the volume (or not)

Check out the room’s layout in advance and place your gear accordingly, preferably square in front of the dance floor. Elevate your speakers above the heads of those sitting and avoid setting your speakers up near tables. Be willing to adjust levels, as needed. Or be prepared to hear about it.

  1. Degrees of Separation

Strained family relationships happen. And can take sudden unpleasant turns if not pro-actively addressed with your bride prior to your event. So ask if there are any divorces, separations or other family matters you need to be aware of in making your announcements.

Showing the utmost care and sensitivity for your client’s most important day is the surest way to leave a lasting positive impression.

Did I miss anything? Let me know in comments…

After being turned out to pasture following a 16-year club residency, Glen Ervin finds himself gainfully employed as Promo Only sales manager, media consultant and staff writer.