6 Ways to Gain Trust and Decode The Needs of Promoters

Not every potential client is looking for the same skill set or experience when booking a disc jockey. It’s important not only to ask the right questions but decode the needs of these business owners so you avoid wasting time and focus on what will help your clients. So how can we gain trust while figuring out their needs?

1. Leave your ego at the door

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Our ego LOVES to get in the way. You know the feeling, That need to correct people. Not only does this put most people into a fight of flight mode when it goes against their belief system, it makes us less likable. Yuck! And if that’s our first impression, well… you get the picture. While we all want to show our confidence in the business, check yourself before you wreck your chances.

2. Ensure Your Potential Client Is Heard

Are you in a business meeting and thinking about what to say next? Stop! Listen to your client. Hear what they are saying and think about what you’d like to know MORE about. If you want to gain trust they need to KNOW your invest and fully understand their needs. You can’t do this if you’re trying to finish their sentences or heaven forbid ‘correct’ them.

3. Ask Questions Regarding What You’ve Seen & Heard

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Dive into a comment they made. Maybe a potential client is talking about how they’d like to gain more notice of their new club. Keep it light but positive. “I took a look at the reviews online and it clear people really love coming here. Can you tell me what you’ve found has and hasn’t worked this far?” Or, “Why do you think you may be struggling to bring in more clients?” Instead of guessing, ask what their thoughts are, first. Maybe they are a new business and they haven’t considered hiring someone to market their brand? If the client it open to consider additional options to benefit the business, instead of promising them the world by booking you (which likely wouldn’t help in the long run) the questions open up the conversation about possible solutions.

4. Offer New Information In The Form of Questions

We did this a bit in number three however this is where you may be thinking about how this will effect your own live DJ Gig, for example sound. If you straight out tell a client that the quality of their sound is awful, after they just spent all that money on their new system, chances are there will be push back. However if you ask, “Have you thought about hiring someone to run sound for your establishment?”  If they’ve never thought about hiring someone to run this, here if your opportunity to sneak in the benefits of having an engineer to keep things running smoothly throughout the night. Or maybe they are thinking about doing top 40 bar music in a swanky lounge. Ask them if they’ve considered house music and what sort of mature, higher paying clientele that may bring in.

5. Avoid wasting energy on things they don’t need

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Some events don’t want nor need your help bringing in a clientele. This might sound odd at first, but if your doing an opening for a store, or maybe you’re a mobile dj doing a wedding, getting the word out about the event might not only be unprofessional but may clash with the marketing teams ideas. Maybe they’ve got an in house designer and that saved you time coming up with a new logo for the event you’ve got coming up.

6. Focus On Setting Yourself Apart While Adding To Your Clients Experience

We can’t do it all. I mean, we can but we just end up being, ‘okay’ at a bunch of things, instead of REALLY GREAT at one or two things that set us apart. To be a great DJ is to know what you can and can’t do so that you can delegate the rest. Maybe you are not the best at marketing a business, but you know a few great businesses that are. Maybe setting up sound is something you can do, but it time consuming and takes away from your performance. Hire or suggest a business hires someone. If you’re up front about what you can do but also give they client references, you’re giving them options they may have not considered so you can focus on the end goal. Putting on a fantastic DJ set.

Note: If you are just faking it through these interactions, people will see right through it. Practice this in your everyday life, with people you care about and you’ll soon see how your relationships can change. In turn it can make these business relationships and meetings go much smoother. So practice, practice, practice!

Speaking of promoters, you may want to avoid these nightmare ones or at least know HOW to deal with them.

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How to STOP Missing Out On Paying DJ Gigs

It blows my mind the amount of times artists miss out on opportunities to make money. Not because there is something wrong with their talents or even something out of line with their style of music. As you’ll soon see for some of the silliest reasons disc jockeys around the world are missing out on quality, paying gigs. There may even be a few you didn’t think of yourself. I know number 3 surprised me the first few times. Let us start with something obvious but often missed.

1. You are simply not reliable

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You have a business opportunity and you pass it by. Not because you can’t do it, but because you don’t make it a priority. A potential new client sets up a meeting with you and you never show or come too late and forget to bring that DJ mix you promised.

2. You are too slow to reply

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I’m sure you’ve heard that saying that the early bird gets the worm. If you respond quickly, execute on what you SAY you’re going to do; you’re already a head of the game. You’re showing that you are both reliable AND you are eager to work with them. But if you take your time, watch out because someone else WILL rise to the occasion and scoop up that gig.

3. You’re not charging enough
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If you think putting your price too high seems pretentious, imagine what charging too little looks like. Why is charging a fair price important? Imagine purchasing discount clothing and you get tired of it before even wearing it. When your not invest you won’t feel bad about throwing them items away or forgetting that you ever own it. In the DJ world, sadly you become easily replaceable with too low of a price. Why? You won’t be the only one offering too low. If you can add value to your service, you’re talking a whole other game that I get into here. 

Need some help to figure out how much to charge, check out the DJ fee calculator here.

4. You rely on them for things that are your job

How to deal with haters

Unless you’re the IKEA of DJs you wouldn’t expect the newly weds to set up your equipment at a wedding you’re djing at. Or maybe you are a club DJ would you expect the bar manager to be responsibility for your evenings playlist? Extreme? I’ve have more than a few DJs playing after me asking me to help them figure out how to set up their Virtual DJ at a live gig.

5. You do the bare minimum
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You are either uninterested or don’t think do go above and beyond for your clients and or fans. It’s unfortunate because even the smallest of things can make a HUGE difference for those in support. For example you may consider doing a sound check before a dinner rush in a lounge to ensure you will not interrupt the dinner service. As a wedding DJ and master of ceremonies getting to know the wedding party before making introductions is a biggie. And if you are a DJ booked on a line up with many other artists, promoters and even fans tend to take note when you simply show up, play and then leave the event.

Think about the time you had exceptional customer service. People remember the employee that went above and beyond. The person noting even the smallest of details. Even with artists, people remember the talent that came up and spoke to them after the show or asked about their day. Fans remember the artist that took the time to support the other DJs that came on before their set.

Now I’m not saying put on a phony smile and make nice with people kissing babies and shaking hands. At the end of the day you’re going to do what works best for your brand. I think it’s worth consider your experience as a fan of other artists and what sort of treatment meant the most to you. Think about how you can implement it in your industry and then DO IT.

Enjoy this article? There is a hell of a lot more where that came from.

How to Become a More Confident DJ

I can and can’t recall my first DJ gig. I got drunk. It was about ten years ago. I was nervous as hell and thought alcohol would help my nerves. One drink turned into five and by the time I hit the decks, well… it was messy. Clearly it didn’t work for me. For my next few shows out I decided to just stick it out sober at least until after my sets. I choose to feel the uncomfortable feelings and play anyways. It didn’t instantly make me some flawless mixer of music but I did learn some valuable lessons in becoming a more confident DJ. Watching Mel Robbin’s recent workshop reminded me why this worked so well for me and even taught me some new things I’ve been using in production.

The three points she made that sent this message home were:

“1. Confidence is a skill – Mel Robbins”

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No, I wasn’t confident going in but over time it became a skill. I knew that if the music was starting to slip, what to do. If I was having a difficult time mixing I’d double check and see if turning my monitor up would help, or if it was facing the right direction. If I couldn’t hear my music through the headphones, I’d take a breath, stop the panic… and realized they weren’t plugged in. As time went on the skills in calming myself down and just taking a moment to trouble shoot any issue helped me build the confidence that I could deal with whatever came at me and the rest was out of my hands.

“2. Confidence is situational – Mel Robbins”

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Even TODAY in some situations I feel more confident than others. If I am playing a club I’ve played at before or a piece of equipment I am more comfortable on, it’s no big deal. Hell sometimes just looking out into the room and seeing people I know and care about make all the difference. In the past I might looked up and see someone that I wanted to impress in hopes of a future booking and allowed it to make me nervous and throw off my game. While it may now actually get me excited about showing a new tune I think they’d enjoy.

“3. Confidence begins with action- Mel Robbins”

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You can’t think your way to confidence. You really just have to DO IT, take action and build it as a skill. Yes you’re going to feel out of your element and uncomfortable but the more you do it, the better you’ll get, which will build confidence and eventually you get so confident that you stop letting the little or even the big stuff throw you off.

So how can you apply this to your life, TODAY?

Start DOING, now. Get messy, make mistakes, do things you are unsure of and learn as you go. It’s how we build confidence. We built the habit of doubting ourselves, we weren’t born that way. How many times did we fall when learning how to walk and how many times did we get back up? You get it. Just start with where you are at.

Mel Robbins wrote an amazing book on taking action called, “The 5 Second Rule.” You can purchase here. I’ve also left a video below that dives into the science of why her rule works.

Find more awesome content here:

How To Be A Happier DJ

Are you waiting for success to bring you happiness? Well it should bring you some excitement to know that happiness actually brings on more success. So you don’t have to wait any longer. Nope. Actually the more you believe that you are in control of your life, the happier and more successful you can be. If this sounds like unicorns and magic potions read on. If it is not, then you probably know someone that could use this article, but feel free to read it anyways.

“You Validate Your Ideas By Pursuing Them” – Mel Robbins

1. Listen to music from the happiest time in your life

I took this straight from Eric Barker’s blog and for good reason. One, you’re a freaking DJ. Two, imagine how this effects others, too?! Some of my most popular mixes have had those ‘throwback’ tunes people loved from the 90’s or 2000s. It totally makes sense why people go wild at weddings and socials listening to the Spice Girls and other timeless music that reminds takes them back to a emotion in time. Cool thing is that neuroscience backs this idea.

2. Make Your Dreams Bigger Than Your Fears

It’s probably been quoted by more than a few celebrities at this point, but it really does work. I know for me, sometimes I find myself obsessing or stressing out one particular task, but when I shift my focus and think about the bigger goal I feel less fear about the hurdle ahead.

I grabbed this one from Eric Barkers blog about the happiest people having goals. He quoted this book.

Via Engineering Happiness: A New Approach for Building a Joyful Life:

“In his studies, the psychologist Jonathan Freedman claimed that people with the ability to set objectives for themselves—both short-term and long-term—are happier. The University of Wisconsin neuroscientist Richard Davidson has found that working hard toward a goal and making progress to the point of expecting a goal to be realized don’t just activate positive feelings—they also suppress negative emotions such as fear and depression.”

3. Let Go Of The Outcome

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There is only so much we can control in this world. When we let go of the things we can not control, we can find some peace. This is where you can refocus your energy on the things you can control. For example, I can’t control the weather. It might rain during one of my outdoor patio gigs. I can however bring tarps, have additional sound inside ready to go and a plan of action if we must make a quick change over.

On the topic of not being able to control things like people’s opinions of you, I chat here in a vlog about why you should probably keep doing the things people are making fun of you for. 

4. Remove the distractions that aren’t really helping you

You really can use laziness to your advantage. We are naturally drawn to things that are easier, not what actually makes us happier. The satisfaction out of creating and finishing a new mixtape feels wonderful. However staying at home and watching t.v. is easier and what a lot of us end up doing. So while starting that new tune seems like a lot of work when picking up your phone and checking facebook for the 30th time today may seem easier, in the end it’s not making you happier. It may be time to shut off that wifi or delete the apps that are distracting you, cancel the cable and have your music stuff ready to go, plugged in and right in your toolbar.

Want to figure out how to stop procrastinating? I dive more into that here.

Why You Should Keep Doing The Thing People Are Making Fun of You For

I may not be the next Mark Zuckerberg but there is an important message to note. Facebook, Amazon and Paypal were considered ‘crazy’ ideas back in the day. And look who is laughing all the way to the bank about it. It may not be far from your own story.  I explain more in this video here with a few personal examples.

Enjoy this video? Maybe you have ideas on subjects you’d like to hear next. Send me a facebook message here. Or you can always Tweet at me here.

The REAL Reason DJs Dislike Branding And How To Get Past The Marketing Myths

If you’re like I was, you probably cringe at the word “marketing.” It sounds so damn corporate. But what I if told you it doesn’t have to be? That it’s not about saying, “buy my latest record” or “listen to my newest mixtape.” Promoting your brand can be authentic, it can bring value to others and even make you feel good about what you’re doing. But there is just one thing you have to do first. Get out of the mindset that marketing is a bad word so that you can take control with ease and STOP making excuses. Yes, I said it. Excuses about why you aren’t putting the effort into marketing. Let’s start with something easy.

1. The myth about marketing

Here is the good news. Marketing your brand doesn’t mean spamming people. Here is the bad news. It still takes effort on your end. Which should actually be good news to you because you can stop feeling like paying for likes is enough to get you a dj gig. It’s NOT. Stop telling yourself this is what people do, just to justify not trying. We are the rule not the exception and if  you focus on the exception of your perception you will feed into those beliefs.

2. You have more time then you think

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It takes 5 minutes to check out a few local promoters, show your support and DM them on Instagram. Heck, you can do this while pooping. I’m not saying you should tell them to book you, (nor run your marketing from the bathroom) but start off by getting on their radar. People notice when you’ve just subscribed to their pages, commented on their recent content and show up to some of their events. It’s about focusing on the effort not the outcome. Keeping it small but in motion.

Pro tip: Take inventory of your time. How are you spending it and how can you spend it better? Are you on facebook too much? Read this article about what a social media detox could do for you.

3. You can create marketing content by doing what you love

Yes that’s right. You’re making radio a mix? Film it. Put it on your youtube channel. Boom, you’ve just created content for your video medium and guess what? It took 20 extra minutes of your life to set up a camera, record, upload it and write in a description and tags. You can get savvy and super creative with this. Think of producers that literally make tutorial videos out of music they are producing. Imagine gaining the kind of traction that gets these companies paying YOU to review their swag? Which leads me to number four.

4. Helping others IS promotion of your brand, too

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Do you like to help people? Does it make you feel good? Awesome! You’re able to market your brand this way too. When you give people something of value, you’re giving them a reason to come back to your brand’s pages. You’re someone they are going to think of when they need a DJ or knows someone that might need one.

Having trouble getting started? Read this article on how to STOP procrastinating STARTING now. 

5. Start being patient, now

Get it out of your head that people are overnight successes. Those are 10, 20 even 30 years in the making and you don’t know the full story about how someone got where they are. Heck you don’t know what crap they went thru to get there. How many failures they had to make, just to get that ‘big break.’ I know for me I’ve been a DJ for over a decade, I’ve had my ups and down and loads of experience. But when I rebranded 3 years ago, people that never knew me before the changeover were shocked that I already had a bit of a following seemingly, ‘overnight.’ I didn’t. And there is a lot about the new image that put me at square one. So don’t judge a brand by its facebook fanpage and then give up before anything really had a chance to happen.

6. Less really is more

If you have 10,000 facebook friends but rarely anyone comments, likes or shares your content; let alone comes to your shows, it doesn’t mean much. But if you have 100 fans and 70% of them show up at your events, share your mixes and stay in touch, you’ve hit the jackpot! It’s always better to find your niche rather than try to make EVERYONE happy. So stop worrying about the numbers and start executing on the things you can control.

All you can do is focus on yourself. If you focus on others but you don’t dive into their story or you allow it to prevent you from ever working any harder, well… that’s on you. Not them. It’s not our responsibility to change others. All we can do is be the change we want to see in this world. And don’t feel bad if after reading this you STILL don’t want to market yourself. Not every DJ wants to tour the world or get their music out there. Some just want to play music and chill with friends and that’s totally cool too. Just try to remember there are those that want more and that is okay too. That doesn’t make all marketing, bad marketing. So if anything please remember to encourage your friends and their dreams. You never know who might be the next big act and you don’t ever want to be the person that motivated them by saying they couldn’t do it.

Do you think you may have a fixed mindset? Do you need a psychological adjustment so you can let go of what you can’t control and start taking action today? Read this article here.

How To Find Your Good Vibe DJ Tribe

You meet another DJ and think, “Cool we have something in common. We are both disc jockeys.” But as you get to know this person they may not be on the same page. Maybe they aren’t very passionate about music or maybe they are totally business driven. Whether you decide to add them to your good vibe DJ tribe or not, there are a few questions you’ll want to ask yourself FIRST.

1. What sort of vibes does this person give me?

How To Find Your Good Vibe DJ Tribe

Do you feel energize after speaking with them or do you feel emotionally drained? Think about it. Maybe you went to a business meeting and you thought you were both on the same page about things, but when you walked away from the conversation you felt exhausted maybe even a bit stressed out. This is likely your gut telling you, slow down. Something is off here. Whether the vibes are electrifying or not try number two.

2. Can you learn from this person?

How To Find Your Good Vibe DJ Tribe

Do you feel like this person has a lot of experience and knowledge to share, maybe on a topic you’re not quite sound on? Do they seem open to share that information or do they hold their cards close to their chest? Maybe they ask you questions about the way you run your business that gets you thinking about something you haven’t really dived into before. But don’t forget in turn to ask yourself the third question.

3. Can this person benefit for YOU?

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Relationships need to be a two way street. You need that balance of give and take or else someone’s going to feel taken advantage of. (Yes, could be you.) So show people the love, help where you can and see how you can make this relationship mutually beneficial. No matter how much more experienced you feel they are,  you still have something to give. What is it?

4. Does this person motivate you?

How To Find Your Good Vibe DJ Tribe

Now this doesn’t have to be a direct act of someone trying to push you towards your dreams nor cheer you on, “You can do it!” But it could be someone that strives for greatness in themselves, someone that will keep you on your toes in trying something a little out of your comfort zone. Sometimes for me it’s just being around someone that it always interested in learning and trying new things. Maybe it’s an instrument or taking a production workshop. It gets me excited and thinking about what I can do next. How I can do MORE.

But Kilma, why must I feel incentive?
Look, you may think you’re doing well because out of all your friends you work the hardest… but if the hardest is just an extra hour of practice here and there it’s not really enough. When you have people around you doing more or simply things you’re not doing it’s incentive to learn, to ask questions and to make you weakness your strength. And to add to that, sometimes we keep certain people in our life because it makes us feel like we are doing well because we are doing better/more than them.

How To Find Your Good Vibe DJ Tribe

The last note to keep in mind; sometimes the people in your tribe are NOT djs. Maybe they are a sound engineer or restaurant owner. Some of the people in your tribe may just be industry influencers that you watch from a far, read their books and take their webinars. There are many different ways to create our tribe, but mostly it’s about keeping that good vibe going while surround ourselves with people that are just as if not MORE driven then us so we can continue to strive for greatness.