All-too-common statements that hold us back from achieving SUCCESS

Don’t Drink The KOOL-AID!

In a recent facebook wall-post conversation I was having with a DJ who shall remain nameless, I was challenged to lay out 5 things every DJ can do right now to “better” their business. Here was my list.

1. Take at least one performance based workshop this year (and dare-I-say every year). (Love Story, Acting, Stand-Up Comedy, Improv, Hosting, Voice-Over, Public Speaking, Etc.)

2. Videotape yourself at a wedding and watch it with a hyper-critical eye. Make a list of the things you notice and write a plan for changing them ASAP.

3. Seek out someone you respect and ask them to review your video (or watch you live at a wedding) for the purpose of giving you a solid critique. Take note of the things they noticed that you were unaware of. You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know…and only an outside set of eyes will help you identify those things so you can improve.

4. Buy Mark Ferrell’s “Getting What You’re Worth” CD’s and listen to them with a pad and pen. Then listen to them 9 more times on your way to meet your clients.

5. Survey your clients about the value you provided at their receptions. If they say you gave them more than they paid for…BELIEVE THEM and RAISE YOUR RATES. If they don’t say you gave them more than paid for…repeat the first 4 actions steps until your ratings change for the better.

His response?

“ahhh yes…drink the kool aid… those are the same exact things ive heard for years…in fact, i kind of expected those and knew you would go there lol…look where they have gotten us… to the point we are at now… i think its safe to assume we actually agree on one thing, the industry is in need of change, however i disagree with the “kool aid technique” entirely.”

He then responded again with a long diatribe using the phrase “kool aid” 8 more times. So I thought I’d share a few of his more “interesting” views along with my thoughts here.

“the steps i used are the same steps that have built major corporations, are you saying that company with popular brands are doing it wrong?
no wonder we have all heard of mcdonalds and coca cola. hmmm, i dont see the peter merry method building a brand that is nationally recognized.
the old time tested ways are still the foundations that build good business.”

The “steps” he is referring to were his top 5 things every DJ can do to “better” themselves which he listed before asking for my top 5. They are…

“1. be more conscious of how we are perceived, and how you in particular are perceived, and don’t lose sight of your focus in the eyes of your clients.

2. remember that we are all under the microscope at one time or another. you never know when you are being watched…hence booby bongo boy.

3. be open to the ideas of other industry professionals and do not assume you know everything about the industry, but remember, advice is only advice…not the gospel

4. Dj’s need to stop worrying about business outside their own markets, focus on your yard, not the neighbors yard. different neighborhoods have different property values. the dj markets are the same. never presume that your market is just like every other market. what works here in New England is different than what may work in CA or anywhere else.

5. remember that you are a “brand” when you are in business. how your brand is received is entirely up to you.
perception is reality… how do you think people perceive you and your business/service? ask…and take criticism and compliments equally.“

It should be noted that steps 1, 2 & 5 are pretty much making the same point. It should also be noted that none of his steps are measurable actions steps.

So apparently he claims to have used these “steps” gleaned from major corporations like McDonald’s and Coca-Cola to build his successful business but then he poses this challenge…

“i dont see the peter merry method building a brand that is nationally recognized”

How many DJs out there are really looking to build a national brand? Most DJs I know are looking to build a regional brand. But once again…if he used these “old time tested ways” himself…why wasn’t he able to build a nationally recognized brand himself? Clearly he is setting a higher standard for my suggestions than he is for own.

His next statement was a blatant example of the narrow thinking that has been holding our industry back to far too long.

“all these self help gurus and people who make instructional videos and write books on any business do it for one reason…ti fill their pockets. if you doubt what i say, then name me ONE author, dvd producer, or instructional guru who did all the work and didnt fill their pockets.”

Most of the people in our industry who have offered workshops, produced instructional DVD’s, or written books…have also given away more of their time, knowledge, ideas, and consulting for FREE than this DJ could ever allow himself to imagine. Narrowly defining the motives of those who offer such materials and training became especially ironic when someone sent me a link to this (retired) DJ’s web site where he offers DJ Business Consulting Services…for a fee. I wonder…is he also guilty of only being concerned with filling his pockets? He even went so far as to say…

“remember, if all these books, dvd’s and cd’s were here to truly help the industry, then they would be available for free to all dj’s.”

Try that one at a college campus bookstore sometime. Go on iTunes and tell them you want to download all of the business marketing, and self-help books that are now available in the iBook format…because after all…if they were written to help people build a stronger business…they should be free…right?

Seriously…this idea has been infecting our industry for far too long. It harkens back to the day when people were told not to go to school because being book-smart might be seen as a bad thing. If I buy a book, a DVD, or attend a workshop that helps me make my business more successful…and increases my earning potential by thousands to even tens of thousands of dollars in the coming years…why should I have any concern about how much the author, DVD producer, or workshop instructor is making for their products and services? If their ideas have merit…I’d expect to see demand increase for whatever they have to offer. If their ideas lack any merit at all…demand for what they have to offer will dry up. But expecting them to give all of their best ideas away for FREE to simply help their fellow DJ has to be one of the most un-american ideas as I have ever heard.

Taking advanced performance training, learning to self-critique, seeking a mentor to offer additional critique, listening to positive messages about the real value we provide for our clients, and surveying our clients to better understand just how much value they see in us…are proven methods for improving the results our clients receive, which also helps to improve the way the public perceives us, and results in increasing demand for our services, and finally leads to better earning potential. If that’s kool aid…I’ll take a pitcher.

28 Responses to Don’t Drink The KOOL-AID!

  • nice spin….

  • Welcome Raven!

    So…have you really done no performance training workshops of any kind?

  • I’ve actually shared the benefit of my experience with many people, Luke Sr for one can share a lot with you regarding my “advice”, as i am not an instructor or teacher. nor do i claim to be.It is up to people to use what they feel they need, and that the things i show them are merely what has worked for me, i also encourage them to bring out what is within them and develop it. I have a news flash… being a dj isnt rocket science… its the little things we do to BESIDES being a dj that builds our reputations.
    I’m not here to say I’m right and you’re wrong Peter, I’m here to let people see that there is more to building a successful business than seminars, dvd’s and books.
    I would actually LOVE to sit down with you over a cocktail, and have one of those 4 hour conversations where we can address every issue you and I both think is facing the industry.
    Let me know the next time you are in New England, I’ll even buy the drinks!
    I will bet you that if we record the dialogue, we will both see issues we haven’t even thought of discussing yet.
    I just have a problem with people who insist that their way of doing things is the best. NO ONE has that information!
    here’s another thought… “performance”
    I never “performed” for any client, I allowed them to see who I am as an individual, and we have built a client/vendor relationship that is mutually beneficial. They have to like “you”, not the “performer” you will be on their wedding day.
    See, being yourself is one of those little things that we do besides being a dj.
    You may think I’m being unreasonable, and I do not intend to be, however, I have built a reputation within the dj community as being the ‘Devil’s Advocate” when it comes to the “business” side of what we do.
    let’s just say that we agree to disagree on how dj’s choose to learn and better themselves. I’m good with that.
    I am inviting you to take the time when you are in the area, and as we discussed earlier, let’s share what we think can actually bring change to the industry.
    remember, we ALL have to be open to criticism, and we all have to be able to see the oppositions side in order to clearly define the differences.
    So, shall You and I give it a shot and see what comes out a good old fashioned meeting of the minds of the 2 schools of thought?
    I’m offering… are you accepting???

  • O, an for the record, I have been to some of those so called performance training workshops…why do you think I feel this way?
    I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt though, Maybe I just went to the wrong ones? They told me they were good at what they did, and so I listened and attended. I even PAID for some of the useless workshops I’ve been to. Same with some of the business workshops, and marketing workshops.
    Maybe I just attended all the wrong ones? I feel the way I do because of experience. Wouldn’t you?

    • Raven…that’s progress.
      Could you share some examples of the performance oriented workshops you paid to attend? How long were they? Who were the instructors? What type of workshops were they? (Acting, Voice-Over, Etc.) How much did they cost to attend?

  • This nonsense has gone on for days and for pages on facebook, do we really need to keep it going here?

  • I just saw a post on peters page that I commended… I won’t quote it, but the dj said he was concerned about how the public perceives dj’s, and he is right. We do not need to change what we do if we are happy, and our clients are happy…. we need to change the PERCEPTION of what we do, which was the entire point i tried to get across when this all started…and look where it went…sigh
    I hope that this entire episode has done one thing…made people think.
    O,and 3 improv workshops, 2 different stand up comedy (wouldn’t even call them) workshops, MULTIPLE marketing seminars by names I will not list because I am sure you know them, and I do not want to start another pissin’ contest.
    I will say this, some of the best info I ever got was from a speaker at one of our meetings. He was from our area, and knew our market and understood our clients. That’s the only time I ever felt “connected” to someone presenting material in any other way than my wallet.

  • An open mind is essential to learning, personal growth, and development. I try to take what there is usable for me and leave the rest. An open mind does not live where an ego thrives. Consider cooperation rather than competition. I seek to better in some way, however small, everyday. Yes, I completed The Professional Process by Peter Merry, November 2009. I listen to Getting What You’re Worth, the 1% Solution, attend seminars, meetings, conferences, one on one meetings to learn as much as possible. I don’t have all the answers, even in my local market.
    Patrick Durham – full time DJ since age 20
    Party Boys DJ Show is my multiple-op since 1980.

  • Raven…I’m confused…did you do 0 or 3 improv workshops? How long were they? How much did they cost? Who was the instructor?
    “2 different stand up comedy (wouldn’t even call them) workshops”
    Why wouldn’t you call them workshops? How long were they? Who much did they costs? Who was the instructor?
    And just to be clear…marketing workshops are NOT performance trainng workshops.

    But…since you brought it up. Is it all possible that the reason only the local instructor who knew your market was able to connect with you…might be becuase of your bias that tells you only people who know your market can teach you anything of value? If you attend a workshop with a closed mind and a pre-determined bias that unless they are local you won’t be able to learn from them…guess what…you probably won’t learn much from them.
    What makes your regions clients so SPECIAL that only instructors who know your region will be able to teach you anything? Do they assess value differently? Do they value entertainment differently? Do they drive on the other side of the road? Do they all drive hybrids? Are they all dirt poor? What is it? Help me understand what makes your region so special. Do you have movie theaters there? Do people in your region enjoy going ot the movies? Do you have comedy clubs there? Do people in region enjoy going to comedy clubs? Do you have cable TV there with all of the big national channels? Do people there enjoy watching sit-coms? Do you have bookstores there? Do people actually buy and read books in your region? Are they any colleges in your regions? Do any of the people there go to college to further their education? Are there any Mercedes Benz dealerships in your region? Do people in your region ever choose to own and drive a Mercedes? Do they have Kia dealerships there? Do people in your region ever choose to own and drive a Kia? Do they have apartments in your region? Do people rent and live in them? Do they have houses in your region? Do people rent or buy them and live in them? What makes your region so SPECIAL and UNIQUE? I am dying to know.

  • Well, I was going to give it a rest…
    Tell you what… Come and see me the next time you’re in the area, and I’ll tell you all about it.
    In fact, come to one of our meetings, and we can get feedback from others as well, heck, maybe even pitch your material to the members of the group!
    In fact, maybe we can invite the local chapters of the adja, and any other groups and make it a very worthwhile endeavor for everyone in New England. You would have a targeted audience to speak to.
    This could be the opportunity to get everyone together in one place, and come up with ideas to indentify concerns, and come up with suggestions to change the public’s perception of the industry.
    My purpose is to make people think… to question what is right for them. I am not going back and re reading every word to try find anything i can spin into inconsistency and repost on my blog.
    I am beginning to believe that anyone who has a different opinion than you is automatically wrong in your eyes.
    Come and see us, and prove in front of an audience, that I am wrong in questioning opinions and seeking alternatives to what you or anyone else preaches.
    I already told you I would buy the drinks!
    You don’t even have to make a special trip, just let us know a month ahead of time when you plan to be in the New England area, and I’ll take care of the rest.
    I’ve already extended the olive branch earlier… so…I guess it’s all up to you now…

  • Raven…”I am beginning to believe that anyone who has a different opinion than you is automatically wrong in your eyes.”

    Different opinions are great. Debate is encouraged. Responding with labels like “kool aid” is insulting and void of any reason.

    I am begining to believe that you are closed off to anything new from outside of your region for reasons you can’t (or perphaps won’t) articulate. I am beginnng to believe that you prefer to use insults (“kool aid”) that have no basis in a factual understanding of the principles involved…because you yourself have never actually taken the time to consider or exmaine their viability or veracity. (Have you ever heard Mark Ferrell present “Getting What You’re Worth” live or on CD?)

    I have visited your region on more than one occaision…and I am still at loss as to what makes the clients in your region so SPECIAL?

    The fact that you are are now ducking that question speaks volumes.

    Is it possible that the real issue has nothing whatsoever to do with your region…but rather with your choice to make your region the scapegoat for why proven principles (proven in a wide variety of markets across the U.S. and around the world) for increasing your demand and your bottom line won’t work…because the alternative (that somone from outside of your market might actually have viable ideas) would be unacceptable?

    Have you ever heard the term “cutting of your nose to spite your face?”

    Your bias against non-regional ideas and instruction has constricted your options for growth. Suggesting it as a rule (it was one of your top 5) nly serves to stunt the growth opportunities of others as well.

    Now…as for your invite..seriously now…why…after you asserted that people who write books, produce DVDs, and give workshops (I fit in all three of those categories) are “ONLY looking to line their pockets”…why would you ever offer to let me sell my products to your local group? How hypocitical of a leader would you be in that situation?

    And just for the record…when you offer your services in DJ Business Consulting for a fee…are you ONLY looking to line your pockets? When you were hired by your wedding clients…were you ONLY looking to line your own pockets?

    I hope you can give some real answers this time instead of just ducking.

  • I just got my answer, Thank you Mr Merry

  • And apparently…if a Raven talks like a duck…walks like a duck…and quacks like a duck…well…you know the rest…

  • Raven answered my question about his consulkting services on his wall with the following…
    “dj’s get paid by their clients…dj 101…I give the knowledge I share with other dj’s for FREE!!! Maybe I should start charging? Thanks for the free business advice!!! No wonder you’re so successful! ;)~ hugs and kisses!”
    Funny…the consulting services offered on his web site have a price list…
    http://www.raventhedj.com/sessions_and_consultations_menu
    Methinks he might ONLY be interested in lining his pockets after all…but I could be wrong. 😉

  • Wow, you’re crafty!! I guess I’ll have to be politically correct when we speak…
    I do not charge any member of our association, I do not charge any dj who wants to exchange ideas, I do not charge any member of any other association, and I wouldn’t even charge you!…
    If i spend one on one time exclusively with one individual in a learning that has been scheduled to last more than one hour for the sole purpose of education, and they are not a member of any association, I DO CHARGE!
    since we’re on the subject, send me your book for free, as well as any other material you sell…for free. If I can do it, I’m sure YOU CAN TOO!
    Maybe free information for all adja members? all snap members? all name members?
    If I can share mine, why can’t you?
    You can still charge non members tough, i wouldn’t want you to go hungry or anything, I have a heart!
    5 minutes ago ·

  • “If i spend one on one time exclusively with one individual in a learning that has been scheduled to last more than one hour for the sole purpose of education, and they are not a member of any association, I DO CHARGE!”

    Why?

    Why are you charging to help “other” DJs?

    Don’t you care about helping them?

  • I believe in groups that support the industry, don’t you?
    don’t dodge my questions either, if I consult for the members of associations for free, why can’t you?
    dont YOU care about helping Dj’s?

  • A dj who gives his time to better himself and the industry by belonging to group that strives to better the industry, such as adja, or snap, or name deserves the information that all members in these groups SHARE (not sell) for free. As a member of one of these groups, i choose to SHARE (not sell) with other members who have made the same commitment as I have by being a member of one of these groups.

  • “I believe in groups that support the industry, don’t you?”

    Yep…been an ADJA member for about 8 years now. Served locally and nationally.

    “don’t dodge my questions either, if I consult for the members of associations for free, why can’t you?
    dont YOU care about helping Dj’s?”

    Yep…I have been and helping DJs in and out of my associations for FREE for many, many years now. Still do.

    Now…I asnwered your questions…answer mine…please…

    I get that help in your local groups…kudoes to to you. But DJs who are not in your local and/or national group don’t deserve the same information for FREE so you charge them a fee as a punishment? Seriously…Why charge them anything at all? I don’t care about the ones you help for free…I wanna know why you charge any DJ anything at all. Are you ONLY looking to line your pockets at their expense? What is your motivation for charging them. Help me understand.

  • Wait, does that mean that everyone who buys your stuff is being punished too? or does it mean they can all look for a refund from you?…

    “So…DJs who are not in your local and/or national group don’t deserve the same information for FREE so you charge them a fee as a punishment? Seriously…Why charge them anything at all? I don’t care about the ones you help for free…I wanna know why you charge any DJ anything at all. Are you ONLY looking to line your pockets at their expense? What is your motivation for charging them. Help me understand”…your words
    I’ll bet more dj’s contributed to your income than mine, does that statement mean you will be mailing out refunds to all members of any associations who purchased your products? If so, I will praise you!!!

  • “A dj who gives his time to better himself and the industry by belonging to group that strives to better the industry, such as adja, or snap, or name deserves the information that all members in these groups SHARE (not sell) for free.”

    I don’t think anyone DESERVES information for free. I believe individuals can choose to freely share as little or as much as they’d like. When the word DESERVES gets thrown in there…it can no longer be called SHARING. SHARING comes from personal generosity. Some might say “everyone DESERVES free health care in the U.S.” but when the government forces me to pay for it and pay for someone else to have it as well…that is not SHARING.

  • Still quacking I see.

    So I suppose I should be punished by paying to write, print, and distribute my book so every DJ who DESERVES it can have it for FREE? Are we still living in the United States? Is that what you meant by understanding your market? Are you in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts? (Funny thing is…I wrote it for Brides…not for DJs)

    I’ll ask one more time…

    Why?

    Why are you charging to help “other” DJs?

    Don’t you care about helping them too?

  • so, are you telling me you have never made any money from dj’s? only from your book for brides?

  • QUACK< QUACK< QUACK< QUACK<

  • so, are you telling me you have never made any money from dj’s? only from your book for brides?
    I might quack, but I quack the right questions…

    I’ll give you some time to think about that, I’ll be back later to continue. I actually think this exchange is good for the industry. THERE SHOULD BE MORE OF IT and on other topics… good cop/bad cop…If you’re up to it .

  • More like good cop…bad duck.

    Why are you scared to answer such a simple question? I have answered all of yours. Maybe a duck isn’t the right kind of fowl to describe your current behavior.

    I didn’t “tell” you anything…I asked you one question…several times now.

    Why?

    Why are you charging to help “other” DJs?

    Don’t you care about helping them too?

  • Peter, let me help here. The next time you’re passing through New England, please let me know. I’ll personally invite every single DJ in the area to come no matter what affiliation they have (if any) with any DJ organization. This way nobody has to look like a hypocrite, and nobody has to feel pressured to attend. I’m certain that there are many DJs that would enjoy a chance to speak with you.

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