Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

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Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby CJ Greiner » Wed Sep 22, 2004 2:52 am

People always want to know how some DJs are able to make such a good living, while other seem to have to scrape for every penny...

I thought I'd share a few of the things I've learned when selling my services to a prospective Bride & Groom. (These ideas work for other types of clients too!)

(Hopefully you guys can add to the list, or give even better examples of successful sales techniques!)
------------------

Selling the "invisible" -- Sell them the dream of a fantastic and memorable reception... one that they and their clients will remember for a lifetime... and they'll hire you no matter what you charge.
If all you sell your clients is music, equipment and your ability to blabber on the microphone... well, there are lots of DJs out there that do that. If that's all you offer too, then they're simply going to hire the lowest-priced DJ that offers the same thing.
However, if you offer to make their wedding reception dreams come true -- then they will pay your rate.

Money Back Guarantee: If they want their money back... they're going to get it anyway (good luck in court!), so why not guarantee it?
The guarantee is something that says: "I'm so confident in what I can do to help make your reception a huge success... that I'll put my money where my mouth is. I'll guarantee that you and your guests will have a great time!"

Make the client equally responsible for the success of their event:
Involve them in the planning, use some of their ideas, and make sure you have a comprehensive planning meeting to make sure that they know what their responsibilities are during the reception.
One thing I like to tell my clients:
"Your reception is a little like a company party."
"How?", they say.
"When the Boss doesn't dance... the employees don't dance either, right? BUT if the Boss relaxes, dances and has a great time... the employees do too! It's the same with your wedding reception: If you and the bridal party and your friends are all relaxed and having fun and dancing to every song I play... your guests will too!"
(This helps them understand that they're part of what will make their event a success... and also makes them imagine their event as a big success with you as the DJ...)

Put YOUR picture on all of your advertising material:
When you open the phone book or search for DJs in your area -- how many are there? And how many of them all claim to use "professional concert-quality equipment" and have "bazillions of songs" and are "the best"?
Lots of DJs -- All claiming to do the same thing (and sometimes for "the best rate" ?!?!?!)
What makes you different? You're a celebrity! They're not just hiring some guy that'll show up with a few CD's and press the "Go" button -- they're hiring YOU to be Master of Ceremonies and be the “Voice” and “Face” for their once-in-a-lifetime event! When they talk about the event afterward, they should be able to remember your name… and the people they tell should know who you are from your marketing material.
Get a nice photograph of yourself in a suit or tux (whatever is appropriate for weddings/formals in your area) with a good haircut, shave and friendly smile. It pays to have this professionally done. Then, make sure that your photo is on every business card, brochure and letter (yes -- letter!) that you send out. It should be on your website and in any press releases you put out.
Celebrity == $$$$$. Lots of it. Just ask any actor or singer! (You’re a performer too -- it’s time for YOU to “make it big!”)
Last edited by CJ Greiner on Tue Oct 12, 2004 4:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ideas for raising your rates over the $+1000 mark...

Postby AzPartyPleasers » Wed Sep 29, 2004 3:03 am

Thanks for the tips! I'm looking into some more serious advertising campaigns for the serious wedding side of my company. I will grow out of my club work eventually and will rely solely on weddings as i get older. Believe it or not, a lot of people in my area love having a younger mater of ceremonies to energize the party. My pitch for their memories hits for the younger couples that are still into having a great time on the dance floor. I turn both my Master of Ceremonies ability and my musical talent into the memories they will talk about!
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Re: Ideas for raising your rates over the $+1000 mark...

Postby Exclusive » Wed Sep 29, 2004 3:30 am

Great info CJ!

I thought those in the south east may want to know that the Mark Ferrell 'Getting what you are Worth' seminar is coming back to Atlanta! You can get more info from the ADJA Geogria website.
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Re: Ideas for raising your rates over the $+1000 mark...

Postby Mark » Wed Sep 29, 2004 11:44 am

Some great ideas.. I am a DJ with 30 years experience and frankly, it is hard to get over $1000 when your competitors are quoting $400-500. The strategy that has worked for me is the Dale Carnagie 5 step approach modified to the DJ business.. 1. get comfortable with the client and let them dream build about their event before saying a thing about your service.. 2. Ask questions that help you better understand the details and logistics of the event... a party for 150 is different than one for 400 so pricing is different ... ask ask ask... 3. Based on their statements, present the solution to their needs... nothing more - nothing less, use reasurring data to make your point... your membership in the ADJA, your insurance, letters of recommendation, a picture of your equipment please note that NO ONE cares if you have B-52 or JBL speakers,,, do not make your pitch on techno gear... present your abilities and capabilities to help realize their vision of the event!
4) Do a trial close... "have I covered everything?" I can provide all these services for $ XXX, is that within your budget??? If they hedge or discuss someone elses price, ask more questions ( go back to step 2 ). Hold firm on the concept that you provide a high quality service and that you will do everything possible to make the event a success... If cheap price is their criteria, than you are not the right fit, ask if their decision will be made only on price.. most will say no so explore the needs more and ask another trial close question " if we can find some middle ground, can we do business today ??? " Then give more service rather than discount your price... better lighting, a free 1/2 hr of overtime, a nice CD of their favorite songs... anything except lowering your price !!!!!!!

5. When you have made your final offer, pull out the contract and ask for a committment to secure the date. Once you have made the offer SHUT UP. The first person to speak looses so SHUT UP and let the silence put the pressure on them to make the decision.

If they say that they need to think about it, ask them if there was anything that you did not cover in the consultation.. if the conversation goes back to issues of the gig... answer them and make the offer again, push the contract across the table and SHUT UP.

If they still do not move, all your info back and thank them for their time. They will use your offer to price shop and give your competitors an opportunity to see your sales program. Tell them that the offer is good for 48 hours and you will put a courtesy hold on the date. You may get a call back, DO NOT DISCOUNT TO ANOTHER DJ'S PRICE.

Good selling... Mark Vincent New Concepts Entertainment , Los Angeles, CA (310) 350-4830
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Re: Ideas for raising your rates over the $+1000 mark...

Postby hawkjl82 » Wed Sep 29, 2004 7:21 pm

I think these are AWESOME posts! All I can do is second all of the info already posted.

It's great to have sites like these where newcomers or ppl looking for advice can come and succeed....

I think as with any business, success in this business also depends on your willingness to take risks and make mistakes!
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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby CJ Greiner » Tue Oct 12, 2004 4:45 am

Exclusive -- I'm looking forward to seeing Mark Ferrell's full presentation one day... hopefully the Worth Tour can make its way a little closer to me sometime soon.

I found your website info for the October 12th presentation. (That's today!)
If anyone can make it... you should go! :nod:
http://www.georgiaadja.com/

--------------
Mark -- those are some really good ideas. I've heard of the "trial close", and "shut up and wait..." ideas -- thanks for reminding me! We learn so many things over the years... it's amazing the number of great ideas I've forgotten about. :?
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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby djmc » Mon Oct 18, 2004 11:19 pm

some very good advice dished out in this thread.

I like to hear when my customers tell me that they hired me because I didn't push for the sale.

they appreciate when I'm prompt and efficient returning calls, mailing the contract, etc........but they also appreciate that I wasn't calling them every week trying to force a sale.

Some of the people I book are rather naive thinking they're the only couple I am talking to for their date........when they call back 2 months later I'm already booked with another couple for their date---because they waited too long to book their DJ. Fortunately my contract says "DJ ASSIGNED AFTER PAYMENT OF RETAINER" and I'm able to use the existing Contract to book the gig and assign to one of my highly talented subcontractor owner-operator DJ/MC's
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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby jwg » Tue Oct 19, 2004 4:00 am

I just booked my first 1100.00 reception in Pittsburgh for next summer. 2 hours travel time each way, 6 hour reception. HEY! it's a start!
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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby jwg » Tue Oct 19, 2004 4:06 am

I get those potential clients that are amazed i return their phone calls sometimes within mnutes of them filling out my online request info form.

If you establish immediate contact with them and stay in contact with them, you know who you have contracted.

If they contact you intitially and never call you back ever after checking back with them, hey no biggie, you will book that prime date eventually!
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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby brett » Tue Oct 19, 2004 11:59 pm

In regards to a post stating to "pass the contract and shut up" I've found that pressuring the client does nothing more than push them further away. If you're as as good as you say you are, why put the heat on the client, when more than likely you'll book the date regardless of who they choose? I offer my brides a 72 hour "tenative hold" and encourage them to shop around, also letting them know in advance that there are many less expensive DJ's. If a DJ cant call them back within 3 days time they arent worth their time. No one can offer the best price, best equipment and finest quality and stay in business with a profit. I offer two of the three. Best service, and the highest quality and book 9 of 10 clients. If you are a professional dj, then you should charge a professional rate, even if your competitors dont. If you dont believe in yourself, how can your client?
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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby CJ Greiner » Wed Oct 20, 2004 12:12 am

brett wrote:I offer my brides a 72 hour "tenative hold" and encourage them to shop around, also letting them know in advance that there are many less expensive DJ's.


That's only if they don't jump at your original contract offer, and they still aren't ready to sign after you've answered any questions or objections they might have, right?
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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby audiopulse » Wed Oct 20, 2004 3:50 am

jwg wrote:I get those potential clients that are amazed i return their phone calls sometimes within mnutes of them filling out my online request info form.

If you establish immediate contact with them and stay in contact with them, you know who you have contracted.


I agree with jwg here... I call the client the minute my cell phone goes off (automatic notification from gigbuilder that someone just submitted their info for an event) Then after the call, I send them an email with the same info discussed on the phone..

Everytime I call them instantly, they book us.. and comment "WOW!!, that was quick!! Of the ones, I missed or had to call back at a later time, they don't book as often. Like tonight and last night, I got a notification, called instantly, they booked us, one for $750.00 (Pittsburg Kansas 30 min drive) and one for $950.00 (Kansas City Missouri - 2 hr drive) , our highest booked gig so far...

just think.. last year I was at $250.00 for 4 hrs... until I realized my true worth and raised my bar...
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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby DJStuCrew » Wed Oct 20, 2004 4:00 am

I offer a money back guarantee and make a BIG deal out of it. I went to my local office supply store and got some impressive looking certificate paper. Then I outlined my guarantee and printed them up. They look like huge dollar bills. In my advertising, I mention my guarantee ("in writing").

Another good way I set myself apart from the crowd is to highlight two things: myself and my full-time status.

Nothing against the part-time guys n' gals, but if you're full-time, why not brag about it in your marketing? Simply because I have the time, I can prepare far better than the part-timers and hobby DJs. If you're trying to get a premium price, make it known that you're delivering a premium service.

As far as marketing myself, my name is in my company name. I do use my picture in much of my marketing. The illustration is simple: how much would you pay for Tony Bennett to sing at your party? Would you be willing to pay the same for "A wedding singer?" Many DJ companies use a name that sounds anonymous. "So-And-So Productions," etc. While this leaves the door open to offer many different DJs and acts, it presents an anonymous face to the public, and fosters the idea that all DJs are interchangeable. (After all, if you're a multi op, ALL of your DJs are great, right?)

But if you're "So-And-So Productions FEATURING DJ AWESOME," THAT sets you apart! List all of the things that sets "DJ Awesome" apart from the pack: experience, famous acts he / she has opened for, the NUMBER of shows the DJ has done and so on. In the eye of the client, there simply will be no comparison to the nameless, faceless company down the road.

One marketing idea I got came from a car company many, many years ago. (I'm not sure who, but it was a very high-end brand.) The ad went something like, "Experience the excitement of driving a Lexus, or the hollow feeling of having settled for something less." In once sentence, they set themselves apart and put doubt in the customer's mind about everything else. That, my fellow $1,000.00+ DJs, is our mission in a nutshell.

Thanks to all for the additional tips!
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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby jwg » Wed Oct 20, 2004 4:19 am

WOW Dave... I was shocked at looking at my 2001 contracts and contracting 350.00 for 4 hours. I went up about 10 dollars a year for awhile.

When your client realizes the time and energy and FEELING AND EMOTION you put into their event, $$$ are not an issue!
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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby RSEMUSIC » Wed Oct 20, 2004 8:36 am

I have to say this information has been so helpful! I still have to convince my business partner about the money back guarantee. He just sees it as a opening for clients to get their money back even if everything went great.
I am still in the lower bracket of charging $400 for 4 hours I have to admit. I am working on it. We always get rave reviews so I am trying to work on what I offer and presenting it better to get the client for more.
I do have to admit calling or emailing possible clients immediately is so vital. It does make the difference. This then raises a question what internet service: I.E. WEDJ, PRODJ, 800DISCJOCKEY, etc do you all use if any to promote that gives you the most bang for your buck.

I am curious to hear. I have been using a combination but have noticed 800DISCJOCKEY and RESPONDWEDDINGS give the most thus far.
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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby Jem-star » Wed Oct 20, 2004 10:17 am

As I'm sure that the above writer, Mr. Snyder, is aware of, he has a colleague working out of the Tampa Bay area (just across the state) who's name happens to be 'Rob Snyder', who doesn't advertise, doesn't have a website, yet never leaves the office without getting no less than $1000 a pop. If you meet him, you will see why.

As for myself, I was due to receive the largest balance in my 20 year career, a total payment over a $1000, for a wedding just over this past weekend. Unfortunately, I had to sub it out (along with another event the day before) because my father ( age 78 ) passed away on that Wednesday. it was the first time I EVER had to pass any of my performances to someone else. The whole situation was completely new to me. Such is life.

I would also like to add kudos to what a great & loving response I received from my local DJ community who quickly pulled thru to help me. This is the MAIN feature about belonging to a wonderful association such as the Professional DJ Association Of Tampa Bay (ADJA affiliate). ANOTHER feature is that I may still be trying to charge under $500 for the same service today if it wasn't for their guidance.
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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby Screamin' Scott » Wed Oct 20, 2004 10:50 am

Rob, with all the energy and great attitude that you have, you should be getting $1500 + for a performance. I just moved to your market and
won't do a show at that rate because I'm worth more than that and so are you!!! I have never seen you perform but after 25 years in the business I can tell. I might not do a single show down here because of my high price but someone has to make a stand somewhere. I'm booked every weekend in Wisconsin and fly back to perform. It's a tough lifestyle but once you do 4 $2,000 + performances in a row (or even $1,000 performances) you can never go back. My average guy in Wisconsin makes $100/hr. $400 a gig. They get all overtime money $150/hr and most of their shows turn out to get 2 hours of dinner music for an additional $300 and then they get a $100 tip most shows. That comes out to $800 a show my employees get. I book the show, meet the brides for the consultation and own all the gear. Pretty good deal for my guys. When you treat your guys this way, they stick around. I have 6 guys and 5 of them have been with me over 15 years each.

If you guys reading this post really want to make that kind of money some things need to happen:

First ...We need to unite and get word out to every dj that $400 is unaccecptable
Second..We need to educate the bride why she needs to be careful when booking her entertainment and what to look for
Third..We need education ourselves through DJ conventions and DJ Associations

Some things to keep in mind

Average bride in Wisconsin 2 years ago spent $22,300 on her wedding according to the Wisconsin State Journal Feb. 27,03
Average bride nationwide that used a wedding planner spent $39,702
according to Mobile Beat May 2003
Average bride should spend 10% of their budget on music (10% of budget is a great price for 80% of the success of a wedding) according to Modern Bride budget worksheet April-May 2003.


What is 10% of $22,300? What is 10% of 39,702? The average bride in Wisconsin gets married at 2:00 and the last song generally is Midnight.
That's 10 hours. If a brides day is 10 hours and she spends $25,000 on her wedding that equals $2,500 an hour. If the DJ looses the momentum and the dance ends 1 hour early...That's a lot of money lost. Inexpensive DJ's can be much more expensive than they appear.

Are you worth 1 hour of what a bride spends on her special Day?
Is there anything more important than the DJ? A bride could have an outdoor wedding and it could rain cat's & dogs. If I do my job right, the guests will walk away saying it's the best wedding they have ever been to.

Mark Ferrell said, Don't listen to the guys that say you can't get it...Listen to the guys that are charging more that say you can!!!

It was really scarry when I made the leap. Looking back, I would do it in a heartbeat again. Out of all the DJ's I've met in Florida so far...You more than anyone else should be getting it!!! I can spot talent a mile away and you should be getting $2,000+ for a performance. I'll hire you for $800 a gig to come to Wisconsin if you would like.

I encourage everyone out there to attend MAP. It's a convention that is happening Nov.7-9 in Minneapolis. It's the most informative convention out there. This years lineup includes:

Mark Ferrell-Randy Bartlett-Scott Faver-ME (Screamin' Scott)-John Young-Ben Miller-Dude Walker-Ryan Burger and more. Their website is :

www.mapdj.com/convention

I wish everyone good luck in getting what they are worth. Take care,

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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby Screamin' Scott » Wed Oct 20, 2004 10:59 am

Wrong Rob Snyder I guess. I didn't know there were 2 of you in Florida.

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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby Jem-star » Wed Oct 20, 2004 11:13 am

Hey, Scott,

Maybe I need to post a picture of myself here.

I'm not Rob. I'm Jeff from Jemstar Entertainment. I was merely referring to our fearless leader, Rob.

Yes, there are, apparently, TWO Rob Snyders working upon the same Earth's Parallel within the state of Florida. Who would've thunk it!

Sorry about the confusion.
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Re: Raising Your Rates Over the $1,000 Mark!

Postby CJ Greiner » Wed Oct 20, 2004 11:25 am

Nice long post, Screamin' Scott... I see how you got your name!

(And I like what you're screamin' too!)

:yeah:
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