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.
“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.