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

“I Want To Hold Your Hand”

The first time I heard the song “I Want To Hold Your Hand” by The Beatles (at about age 14) was when I was first getting exposed to Rock & Roll on a golden oldies station. I had been pretty sheltered from “secular” music up ’til that point…so that first golden oldies station really expanded my understanding of what was considered great music. A few weeks later, I discovered my first top 40 station (KNBQ) and found my understanding of what was good music expanded even further.

In the DJ industry, there are quite a few in our ranks who refuse to have their understanding expanded when it comes to the value or our services and the roles we should fulfill both as the DJ and the Master of Ceremonies. Instead of opening themselves up to this expanded understanding, they opt instead to minimize the services that are being offered by others in ways that are both ignorant and demeaning.

A clear example of this was put on display on a not-so-popular DJ forum where I just happened to become the subject of discussion. A DJ was upset because he had given a friend/co-worker a “great deal” for their upcoming wedding…but then they wound up in the wedding party at one of my recent receptions. After experiencing my personalized introductions along with several other ideas my bride and groom had requested to make their reception more fun, this DJ’s clients now wanted him to incorporate those ideas into their upcoming reception. He was pining that this was going to take a lot more prep work to pull off and that was not what they had originally negotiated in their contract…so rightly…he was questioning if and how much more he should charge them to pull those ideas together in time for their reception.

The most common advice parroted by many of his cohorts sounded like this…

“Peter Merry gets $5,000 plus for doing all that. If you have the money, I can do it for you; otherwise, you will get what I can give you for what you paid. If you don’t like it, here’s everything but the booking fee back and go hire Peter.”

One would think they might want to see if I were even available on the client’s date before telling the client to go hire me. But the best example of “down-playing” the services we should be providing was summed up in this post…

“Peter Merry does a lot of hand-holding, and people pay him for that. Before you try to attach a price to your own hand – decide if letting people hold on to it is something you even care to do.”

So what this person is asserting is that I get paid my premium pricing because I offer “hand-holding” services. He then challenges the other “pros” in this particular forum to weigh whether or not they want offer “hand-holding” services themselves.

Is giving our clients as much control over their music selections as they desire…hand-holding?

Is helping our clients design a smooth-flowing agenda that will be consistently entertaining…hand-holding?

Is brain-storming personalized ways to help our clients get their guests involved in their celebration…hand-holding?

Is double-checking the behind-the-scenes details that need to be managed for our clients so the reception will flow as flawlessly as possible…hand-holding?

Is conferring in advance with the rest of our client’s vendors about the timeline of events prior to and at the reception…hand-holding?

Is scripting out personalized introductions and announcements to make them as uniquely fitting for our clients as possible…hand-holding?

Is rehearsing our announcements and training ourselves in the arts of public speaking and voice-over so we can give our clients the most polished MC presentation possible..hand-holding?

Is mixing music from a variety of genres and eras in an effort to involve as many of our client’s guests as possible during the open dancing…hand-holding?

Is wearing the right clothing and dressing our equipment in the most atheistically pleasing way possible…hand-holding?

Is bringing the very best in audio PA equipment (in my case…BOSE) to make sure our client’s guests can hear everything they need to clearly without going deaf…hand-holding?

I’m hard-pressed to think of any other services I offer my clients beyond the ones listed above. So am I truly offering “hand-holding” services? Or could it be possible that the services I am offering are the full services EVERY wedding entertainer SHOULD be offering…but isn’t…because they are:

A. Ignorant (They are simply unaware of the full services that should be offered when providing entertainment at a wedding reception.)

B. Arrogant (They believe the guests at their weddings who tell them “You Rock!” and have opted to close their minds to any outside info that might challenge them to do better, give better, be better.)

C. Indolent (They are content just being “the music” and really don’t want to be expected to put in the time and effort needed to help their clients have a truly fun, memorable, and personalized wedding celebration.)

Call it “hand-holding” all you want…if my clients want to know how passionate I am about helping them create a fantastic reception…my response will proudly be…

“I Want To Hold Your Hand!”

4 Responses to “I Want To Hold Your Hand”

  • Great post, Peter! It’s funny how some DJs react to a client becoming educated. The DJs that are confident in their skills and think that they can exceed the client’s new expectations aren’t intimidated. In fact, they’re usually happy about it because it provides an opportunity to get creative, not to mention it helps justify a bigger paycheck because of the increased work and improved service. DJs that are not as confident about meeting the client’s increased expectations try to downplay and minimize everything.

    Your “is this hand-holding?” list should be a shopping list for prospective clients. Just change it to begin with “Does your DJ…” When you find a DJ that can truthfully answer “Yes!” to all of it, hire him!

  • Peter,

    What a great post. It never fails, no matter what you do or say you will never make everyone happy. I know you do not take these words to heart but if you ever do just give me a call and I will tell how myself and all the other Wedding Entertainers think about you. I can not say enough about you, I have been telling my brides to check out your websites and telling them about the book because in my eyes if they see you and they tell me that they want that kind of FUN at their reception then that will only put a fire under my butt to learn more & get better.

    I also want to mention that anyone that says Peter Merry does not care about his brides, has never actually spoke to Peter face to face about his brides. The guy will literally get teary eyed talking about the fun things he has done for his brides. Peter actually builds a friendship with all his couples something that I am just learning and let me tell you I love it way better than just showing up and playing music for two total strangers I met with once!

    One more thing. Any MC/DJ that is truly interested in providing a better service for their B & G’s & getting a pay raise you need to attend Peter’s The Professional Process. I attended his 2 day workshop and my very next booking I made a 300% pay raise! So the money you will spend is well worth it and will pay you back a hundred times over in the future.

  • Peter,

    Nice blog post. I wish more clients would become educated before their wedding and not afterwards. A DJ recently commented that “Cats” ran on Broadway as the same show for many years and they never had to change it to keep it good. So why should he change his show? My response is Cats is always about the same thing. Weddings are never the same story and the cast is never the same. If you compare what I do to Broadway shows, then Friday I’d call the one I did “Fun Yuppy Marathon Runners” and the one on Saturday was “Country Boy Marries Country Girl”. Jamming them both into a cookie cutter celebration would have been a travisty.

  • Cheers, Peter! Let’s all toast to the death of these so-called “cookie-cutter weddings!” What’s really silly about this situation is how simple it all is. These little things that we do that make our brides’ and grooms’ special day SO special amounts to nothing more than *really* listening to them — but *really* listening, though simple, is indeed sometimes time-consuming, and can’t be faked. But — I’ve got to tell you — it’s absolutely addictive!!! I guarantee that once any of these DJs has an opportunity to experience just the sheer joy of being near a couple so thrilled that their DJ has made such a difference in their day, those DJs won’t be able to go back! This is what make our career rewarding, and once a DJ incorporates the practice into their business, it snowballs and propels itself forward with its own built-in rewards. The better we are, the better we want to be, and the harder we will work to make it “right” for the couples depending on us.

Leave a Reply