Spotlight On Peter Merry: His Secrets To Success

How many among us can say that we earn $5,000 for a wedding reception?

For those who are new to our business or who have been living under a rock, I’d like to introduce you to Peter Merry. He is a top earning DJ, author, speaker and leader – and his credentials are pretty impressive:

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Wedding Entertainment Director: Merry Weddings, Inc., San Juan Capistrano, CA
Author: The Best Wedding Reception…Ever!
National President: 2003/2004 – American Disc Jockey Association
Recipient: 2005 – “Peter Merry Leadership Award” from the American Disc Jockey Association
Speaker: Mobile Beat Show & Conference, DJ Times International DJ Expo, NACE National Conference, WEVA National Conference, Wedding MBA

Peter was kind enough to allow Pro Mobile DJ to “pick his brain” about some key topics of interest for mobile entertainers. We invite you to read and learn!

What Does it Mean to Be “Successful” in the DJ Business?

If your definition of success is to create a business that runs itself and can be sold at some point in the future, then developing a strong multi-faceted organization should be your primary goal.

If working at as many events as possible because you just love being a DJ is your definition of success, then increased profits might not be your driving motivator.

If building demand for your unique talents and garnering the best price possible for your services is your definition of success, then creating a quality performance and solid sales skills are the most important factors.

Being successful in any entertainment field is like running up the down escalator. Once you stop running, you are already losing ground.

Treat this vocation as a full-time business and career, and soon it will be. Treat it like a hobby and it always will be. Find new and innovative ways to do the same old things and don’t get stuck in a rut.

What Makes You an Outstanding Entertainer?

Based on the feedback my clients have given me over the years, they say my personalized grand entrance for the wedding party is probably the one thing they enjoy the most. I have always sought out ways to improve my knowledge along with my skills and talents. But if I were to boil down my answer to three things that I do, or have done, that have made me an outstanding entertainer, they would be as follows…

  1. I have never stopped learning how to improve my performance. Whether that be performance-based training workshops, attending trade shows, shadowing other wedding entertainers, or inviting them to shadow me to give a detailed critique of my performance.
  2. I truly listen to my clients and brainstorm with them on unique ideas that will not only make their celebration fun and memorable, but also a complete reflection of their personal style, tastes, values and even sense of humor.
  3. I care. My first and foremost concern has always been demonstrating this with my clients. I let them know in every way possible that I care as much as they do about creating a truly successful event. By putting clients’ needs, desires, fears, and expectations ahead of my own, I have been able to successfully help them create something that the vast majority of their guests have never before experienced at a wedding reception.

How Do You Market and Sell Your Services?

My performance is my best marketing tool. I sell my services by doing just that, selling my services, not my gear or my music collection. I sell my services by taking the time to find out exactly who my clients are, and exactly what they do and don’t want in their wedding entertainment. Then, I show them how I can make that happen for them during an initial, one hour consultation.

How Much Do You Spend On Your Annual Advertising Budget?

Less than 1%. Website hosting and printing new business cards have been my only ongoing marketing and advertising expenses. I have invested my top priority into developing personalized entertainment for my clients, which has resulted in attracting only word-of-mouth clients for several years. The best part about this kind of advertising is that it is much easier to sell people who have seen me or have already heard good things about me than it is to sell cold calls generated by an advertising campaign.

How Do You Incorporate Networking into Your Business?

My primary resource for networking has been Facebook and the W.E.D.Guild. Networking with other W.E.D.Guild members nationwide has expanded my collection of creative performance ideas dramatically.

How Do You Approach Customer Service?

Generally speaking, giving your customers more than they expect and never treating their events as “just another gig” will always render increased referrals while also building a solid reputation for dependability and quality.

I return calls and e-mails as quickly as possible – and always on the same day. I offer many options from which a client can choose so they can customize their ideal reception rather than feel that they are getting a cookie-cutter performance. I meet with my clients at least twice in advance to help them plan their receptions.

If I am involved in providing PA support for their ceremony, I attend the rehearsal, and more often than not, I am also the one who directs the rehearsal for them. I contact their other vendors in advance and provide them with a copy of the reception agenda. I show up extra early so I can assist anyone else who may need my help once I have completed my set up.

Put your client’s wants and needs ahead of your own, and they will pay you handsomely for it. Do what other DJs in your market are unable or unwilling to do for their clients, and new clients will beat a path to your door.

How Should a New DJ Company Price Their Services?

A reasonable price can be determined by investigating how many weddings (or plug in your own favorite events) occur annually in your region, and how much people are spending on those weddings (and on related wedding services.)

Also, survey your clients to find out if they thought your services were worth more than you charged.

Don’t ever base your price entirely on what other DJs are charging. If they’re going broke at their rates, you will too. 15% to 20% of your client’s total budget is a fair trade for carrying 80% of the responsibility for the success of their event. To learn more about this, I would suggest you purchase the CD seminar series “Getting What You’re Worth” by Mark Ferrell at www.DJSecrets.com.

What Do You Charge for a Wedding?

Since 2006, my standard fee for my wedding services on a prime Saturday date has been $5,000 for a reception only and $5,900 with ceremony coverage. I work solo with two to four speakers, and no lights or props. I currently do about twenty-five wedding receptions a year, plus an additional two or three other non-wedding events (i.e. Anniversary Party, Adult Birthday Party, Roast, etc.).

My clients consistently tell me that they have received far more value than my services cost.

There are several business models from which a solo-op or multi-op can choose.  Peter Merry has a unique one that works for him.  The key to your success lies in finding the right model that best utilizes your talents, skills and experience.

Unless you have a dedicated sales person working at your company, every DJ must also learn how to advertise, market and sell their services effectively.  In addition, multi-operation owners must have a keen business acumen and management skills.

For more information on Peter Merry, vist PeterMerry.com and MerryWeddings.com.

Are you a top-earner in your marketplace? If so, what is your business model and how has it helped you to become successful?

*** If you know of someone who you think deserves to be featured in our DJ Spotlight section, please shoot us an email and let us know who and why! ***

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