I’ve always believed that to successfully sell something, you must identify the one thing the client usually doesn’t want to reveal – their pain. Everyone has some challenge they would like relieved in some way. If you can properly identify the pain like a doctor diagnosing a physical ailment and prove that you can take away the pain, you can close the sale – even if the client might not have even been thinking about your product or service.
In some cases the pain is plain to see. My sink is leaking and my kitchen has become a swimming pool. This sale is easy for the only plumber that will make a house call at midnight.
But for many customers – those with many choices of service providers like entertainment customers, for example – the real pain is well hidden and it takes some skill to reveal it. Sure, we know they want great music for a great party, blah, blah, blah. But what is at the heart of what they really want?
The tricky part about finding this out is that we’re often dealing with a group of customers, not just one. An events committee for the corporate awards ceremony. A family for a wedding reception. So whose pain are we trying to ease? Who is making the buying decisions? Clearly it’s not always the same person who is paying the bill. Take one look at the poor father of the bride-to-be who has been told to keep his checkbook open and his mouth shut. Too many cooks in the entertainment-buying kitchen can be very confusing and make the sales process daunting. But I think I’ve discovered a secret about entertainment clients. They all have a common pain.
The fear of embarrassment.
Think about it. You may have an initial meeting for a wedding reception with the Mother of the Bride, Father of the Bride, the Groom and the Bride – all with seemingly different goals for the reception.
Dad may tell you he wants the highest quality but most cost effective service options. Translation: “I want to look like I’m successful and prosperous and would do anything for my little girl. I don’t want to be embarrassed by looking cheap….even though I don’t want to pay through the nose for it.”
Mom may say she wants a DJ who will be an excellent MC, an organized on-site Director who is nice looking with a pleasant personality who will play line dances she and the Bride’s aunts like to dance to. Translation: “The Cro-Magnon sloth of a DJ my sister Fanny had for her son’s wedding last Summer was a total embarrassment who didn’t play the line dance that is always a tradition in our family. My family may be tacky, but I don’t want this reception looking that way!”
The Groom could grumble that he doesn’t care about anything but having killer tunes all night. Translation: “I just want to get through all the embarrassing fancy-shmancy dances and speeches and stuff so I can get drunk and rock with my frat brothers…oh, and bring some thumping subs!”
The Bride explains what her dream night should look and sound like. She wants to dance on the clouds with fancy uplighting and gobos (watch Dad lilt in his chair at this point) led by a DJ that will “play good music” to keep the dance floor full all night. Translation: “My reception needs to be the talk of the season and outshine my Matron of Honor’s wedding I was in a month ago. Don’t embarrass me by playing corny old music and emptying the dance floor and making my party lame!”
Of course, the first thing almost all my clients at Jerry Bruno Productions are concerned about and always have in common is the fear of embarrassment from the “Cheesy DJ”. They don’t want a wanna-be stand-up comedian in a bad suit making people cringe with awful announcements, bad jokes and even worse music programming skills. It’s hard to believe that after such universal distaste and fear of this species of DJ that evolution hasn’t whipped up a Master of Ceremonies meteor storm to make them extinct. But, alas, they still exist striking fear in the hearts of our clients. Assure your clients that their reception is a hokey-pokey free, no-cheese zone and you will be off to a good start.
The members of a wedding party are usually not performers and may have a terrible fear of public speaking or dancing solo. On the wedding day they’re thrust into the spotlight and forced to perform quite a bit. They don’t want to be embarrassed. As performance professionals, we’re often afraid of the same things, but we’re more prepared through experience, rehearsal, and the familiarity of dealing with our butterflies before getting on the mic. If you can assure your clients that you can take away their pain and create classy events free from embarrassment, you will be the DJ hired for that event.
Just remember to zip up your fly. There ain’t a doctor in the world that can cure the pain of that embarrassment .
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