Being on time – From the initial meeting with the client right on through the actual event, promptness is a major issue. Although they don’t always reciprocate in kind, most people consider their time as valuable and do not appreciate being kept waiting.
Failure to communicate – This likely causes more problems than any other single issue. Don’t sit around waiting for the client to contact you once the event is booked. You should take the initiative and make follow-up calls and/or visits. Take their “pulse” and frequently check on progress or changes. Show them you’re on top of things and that you care about them as a customer. There should always be a clear understanding regarding such matters as pricing, time and length of event, and the many details in which will be involved. Don’t assume, and don’t leave you client to assume either. Talk things over; take notes and work to establish clear understandings.
Courtesy and respect – This is something we all want in our dealings with others. Your client does too. Such simple things as addressing people with proper titles (Mr. Jones, Mrs. Smith, Reverend Williams, etc.) is sometimes an issue with people, so unless you’re on more intimate terms with a person, use their titles. You should always be on your best behavior and mind your manners. “Thank you,” “please,” “you’re welcome” and such verbal niceties do not go unnoticed. Don’t let your ego get in your way. You may be the greatest DJ ever known to mankind, but a friendly, down-to-earth persona will take you much farther than a superior know-it-all attitude.
Your attire – We live in an extremely casual age when it comes to our dress, but in business dealings, “dressing for success” is still the rule. It may not be necessary to don a suit and tie, but a clean-cut profession appearance is still called for in the business world. In my business, any meeting with a client requires a golf shirt with our logo, dress slacks, socks for men, and proper shoes for a neat “business-casual” appearance. (Flip-flops or sandals are absolutely not allowed.)
Your language – This is a category covers a wide range of issues, all concerning our speech. First, and hopefully most obvious, is the use of curse words. Even the mildest oath runs the risk offending someone, so simply, don’t do it. Also, avoid jokes which may be off-color or inappropriate. In this age of political correctness, some people can be offended by even a mild reference to a touchy subject.
Pronounce people’s names correctly. If you’re responsible for introductions and there are names you’re not familiar with, find out how they are pronounced and practice them until you have them down. As a personal example, I had a wedding a couple of years ago at which the bride’s family and members of her wedding party were from Russia. I spent two weeks before the wedding practicing pronouncing a dozen or so difficult names. It was time well spent as I managed to get through the names at the wedding without a stumble.
Don’t switch DJs on your client. If the client hired you, they are expecting you to do their event. Unless you receive the client’s approval, never send someone they haven’t met or don’t know to do your job.
Understand this: Every single time you appear before a client, whether you realize it, or even whether the client realizes it, you are being judged, evaluated and rated. In most cases, a potential client’s judgment or rating of you determines whether you or your competition gets the job. It’s just good business to do things to “up your numbers” in the client’s estimation.