By Alan Dodson, “Wedding Wizard”
Recently on several Wedding and DJ groups, where I am a member, there has been a lot of discussion about the best way to meet with prospective clients. Since the majority of wedding entertainers are single operators and many, if not, most run their business from their homes, they do not have the luxury of a storefront or business office as a place to meet with brides and their families. Of all the topics discussed in these open forums, the subject of sales seems to come up more than the performance and talent topics. It is obvious that effective sales techniques and understanding sales is a huge challenge to a large number of mobile DJs.
Back before a lot of working mobile DJs were even born, in 1972 Tom T. Hall wrote and produced a song titled “Watermelon Wine”. The actual release title read (Old Dogs & Children and) Watermelon Wine. It hit number one on both the US and Canadian charts. In this song is hidden one of my sales success secrets, “dogs, children and wine (drinks)”. Let’s substitute the reference of watermelon wine with non-alcoholic drinks for this discussion. I will get to this shortly.
There are many places where we meet with prospective customers, Starbucks, Panera Bread, Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds or other public places. While I am a big proponent of offering to buy coffee or lunch to meet with a couple, these locations are far from ideal. They are usually noisy, usually have small tables and are VERY public, certainly not a place to create an emotional connection with a prospect. Many people try to meet at the wedding or reception venue, but this can create scheduling conflicts and even a negative impression on the venue itself. The worst situation for sales is when DJs try to do everything over the phone or email. This is by far the least desirable way to create sales that are based on emotions and the most difficult to convey value and sell at a higher price. What usually happens is that the prospect makes a decision based on the wrong criteria.
OK, the children and dogs…My absolute favorite place to meet with prospective clients is in their home. This is for a number of reasons, the first is that they will feel more comfortable in their own surroundings and they will have the perception of being in control of the sales process. (Not really, but I let them assume they have an advantage.) Next, you get to see the “real people” not the ones that go out in public. People tend to act very natural in their own homes. You can see their hobbies, and lifestyle and you can learn a great deal about them by simply observing the “trappings” of their house. If there are dogs and or young children in the home you get to be “interviewed” by the dogs and kids. It has been confirmed by recent research that children under the age of 4 are excellent judges of character. I have also found that if the client’s dog likes me, they like me even more. Now, if the dog and the kids hate you, this will backfire, but you already know how you do with dogs and kids anyway, don’t you?
What about the wine? (drinks) Have you ever visited someone’s home where you were NOT offered something to drink or even something to eat? I always accept. It is polite and provides a bonding of friendship. Remember, people purchase from people they like. Be a friend, show real compassion for the planning and completion of their wedding day. You will come out a winner. Often, I take a small offering of “something to eat”, perhaps a tin of cookies or some pastries. My grandmother always took food when we went to visit folks, it is a throwback to a much gentler time in our history. It works for me, it might just work for you.