How Learning to Say No was the Best Thing I Ever Did

June 7, 2017 by Jordan Nelson

There are a lot of things in life that are easy to say no to; visiting your in-laws, going to the dentist, and participating in those annoying telephone surveys, to name a few. For many mobile DJs, however, there is one thing that is extremely hard to say no to, and that is giving a massive discount on their services to fill a date.

Listen, I get it. A little over a year ago, I found myself in the same situation that many DJs find themselves in. I was new to my current market, had little connections, and was desperate to just be out DJing. Even though I knew I had worked significantly harder to improve my skills and talents and own professional equipment, I was repeatedly lowering my quoted price in an effort to book as many events as possible. It was a terrible spiral; I would try and raise my price to a respectable wage, and then become nervous by the lack of bookings and give massive discounts to any inquiry that came my way, essentially placing me right back where I started. I wanted what seemed to be the impossible; to charge a higher price while being booked more.

After spending a lot of time researching and interacting with DJs I looked up to (AKA the DJs making 3 or 4 times as much as me per event), I realized that they had one thing in common; they were great at saying no. They didn’t compromise or give discounts to every couple that tried to get them into a price war. They knew their worth, figured out their costs, and quoted a price that correlated with the service they provided. If a prospect tried to barter or dicker, they would kindly wish them well and refer them to another DJ.

So after much deliberation, I took the plunge, and boy am I grateful I did. Initially, bookings dropped significantly (scarily so). But I held out, and little by little they began to work back up to the original amount. Even more amazingly, my booking numbers slowly began to increase past my previous norms. But how? A (not so) crazy thing starts happening when you work clients who appreciate what you do; they begin to refer other people who also see the value in your service, and word gets around that the reason you charge what you do is because you’re worth it. You create a feeling of prestige for your company that bolsters your confidence and improves your image. Instead of being the pushover DJ that will fit any budget, you are one of the premier offerings in your market.

So are you looking to increase your number of bookings? Instead of dropping prices, try the opposite. Be firm and consistent in your decision and patient in the outcome, and I think you’ll be surprised with your results.

Jordan Nelson Jordan Nelson (3 Posts)

Jordan Nelson is the owner of SLC Mobile DJ in Salt Lake City, UT. A native of the tiny southern Utah town of St. George, Jordan began his mobile DJ journey as a junior in high school in a similar fashion to many other DJs, with a pair of cheap speakers, a dual CD mixer, and a few sound-activated lights. After traveling to Salt Lake to attend the University of Utah, Jordan completely revamped his business and invested heavily in sales and master of ceremonies training, turning his $400/event company into a $1,200/event company in under a year at 22 years old. Jordan is currently a pre-med student at the U while he continues to run his successful business delivering high-quality entertainment to couples, schools, and corporations along the Wasatch Front. He developed a strong passion for lighting and lighting programming during his early years and has written 2 books for mobile DJs on the subjects. When he is not spending his weekends at weddings and events, you can find him at the local gun range or hiking with his beautiful wife.


Filed Under: Business, Personal Development, Sales & Marketing