Dishin’ With Dandy!
By Neil Smith the Dandy DJ
Every DJ has their golden tip on what to pack! Some will tell you it’s an extra pair of pants, a special emergency kit with some key tools, a backup this or that. These are all great and you should gather and absorb as many of these handy tips as you can (I know I do), but there’s one very special tool you should never forget to pack! This tool is more handy, helpful, calming, situation-saving and business-attracting than the fanciest speaker, most dazzling dance light or swiss-army multi-tool you can buy anywhere!
What is this miracle item you ask!?
GRATIENCE! Barrels and Barrels of it!
“Gratience” is an overflowing abundance of both grace and patience which you heap upon your clients and their guests! I know it sounds corny, but the one this usually ends up helping the most is you!
If you’re in the business of doing weddings and private events like me, most of the people you serve and deal with are not professional event planners, are often planning their first event ever and stress levels can tend to run high.
It’s important to not allow their levels of stress to raise yours. After all, you have been hired for your experience and ability to handle whatever may come up at an event. Therefore, you should be calm, cool and collected wearing a smile regardless of what may be going on around you. Them seeing you staying in control can often help to calm a nervous bride, mother or office manager who got the company party dumped in their lap!
This can be difficult at times, but even if you find yourself at the event serving a “client from hell”, just keep in mind that in just a few short hours it will all be over and you will likely never hear from or deal with them again (and hopefully you were paid in advance!).
One way I make sure that I am able to extend lots of grace and patience is by charging enough to where if things go a bit differently than my contract (within reason) that I don’t feel like I need to belabor small requests with an attitude of “I wasn’t paid for that” or that I have to nickel and dime over every little thing. I’m there to do absolutely everything in my power to ensure that their event is a success and I have done away with the money obstacle on the front end (honestly, this is more for my own sanity and happiness than anything else).
I have had two weddings in the past month where they at the very last second told me they needed an extra satellite speaker in a remote area for the dinner hour that was nowhere near the reception area and they wanted a wireless microphone for speeches and toasts in this area as well. This was not in my contract but I always carry a padded suitcase in my van with 2 battery powered pa speakers (Samson Expedition xp40i) fully charged and ready to go just for situations like this as well as all the playlists copied to a mp3 player (I use the Fiio x1 2nd generation).
There are some DJs who may add a charge for this and use it as an onsite upsell. I don’t fault these DJs. They’ve put in the time, effort and forethought to be prepared to provide something not contracted if needed and they have every right to charge for this addition. But in my mind, this is a somewhat small request, it happens often enough that I expect it, so I have already invisibly worked it into my price. This allows me to come off as a hero of sorts, being flexible and able to “save the day” by covering this part of the event they dropped the ball on and didn’t plan properly for.
RABBIT HOLE SIDE-STORY WARNING! : Carrying these battery powered speakers along with a case of rechargeable flashlights literally saved a wedding I was serving just a few weeks ago when a storm hit the venue and knocked out all the power to the entire area before the ceremony! The power never came back but I was able to save the day. I lit up the entire venue with my flashlights (kobalt hypercoils) including the bar, photo booth, cake table, hors devours, stairways, dance floor and of course my own area. I used one speaker and a mp3 player for the ceremony, cocktail hour, grand entrance, first dance, dinner hour and cake cutting. (Thankfully the caterers didn’t require power either!)
I even had battery-powered microphone receivers (Audio Technica system 10) with supplemental power packs to extend their internal battery life, so I was able to also handle speeches and toasts with no problems!
I then switched to my other speaker (kept in reserve) laptops (2 identical laptops) for the parent dances and the rest of the evening’s open dancing. Each laptop lasted about an hour and 15 minutes (in high-performance mode), so combined, I was able to DJ on them for about 2.5 hours of open dancing which carried us through the end of the reception.
Basically, by having these unplugged capabilities, I was literally able to save this wedding when under the terms of my contract, since the client is required to provide electricity, I could have kept these abilities a secret, packed up, kept all their money and got an early jump on my two-hour drive home and there wouldn’t have been a thing they could have done about it. But saving the most special occasion of someone’s life sure felt a whole lot better than having an early night and leaving a disappointed client and is now one of the most memorable weddings I have ever done! (not to mention the great future referrals I stand to gain from both the wedding party and venue!)
QUESTION: Have you ever had a client that you screwed something up royally with, they extended massive grace towards you and didn’t come seeking any other sort of recourse to account for your shortcoming? I think we can all reach back in our memory files and come up with a few examples of this. How grateful and relieved were you to have a client like this? Did it make you want to go the extra mile for them?
You see, when (not if) YOU fall short in some area, you’re going to want as much goodwill stored up with your clients as possible in hopes that when the worst happens (and at some point it will) they’ll be more than willing to share an abundance of “GRATIENCE” with you!
Thanks and best regards,
Neil Smith, DANDY DJ and PHOTO BOOTH