How to Turn Down a School Booking without Saying ‘No’ to the Business By: Matt Ryan

January 16, 2012 by Matt Ryan

School Dance KidsHow many times have you been called by one of your best school clients to book a date in which you are already sold out or otherwise can’t perform? As your client base of schools grow, this will enviably occur more often than you’d like, especially considering schools tend to hold their dances around common times of the year. Of course, you’d like to book the event because you certainly don’t want to risk losing a long-time repeat client to a competitor. Do you have the staff to book one more event that night? Do you have the right equipment to book another school event on a day you’ve already got a full plate? If the answer is “No” – you just can’t book the event, what’s the best way to tell the client without risking losing their long-term business?

I imagine most of the time the conversation goes something like this:

School Dance Advisor: “We’d like to book you for Saturday, February 11th for our Valentine’s Day dance. Are you available?”

You: “Unfortunately, we’re all sold out that day, but we’d love to work with again you in the future!”

School Dance Advisor: “OK. I understand. Do you have anyone else you can recommend?”

This is where the slope can become slippery for retaining future business. Instead, I suggest the conversation go something like this:

School Dance Advisor: “We’d like to book you for Saturday, February 11th for our Valentine’s Day dance. Are you available?”

You: “Unfortunately, we’re all sold out that day, however, if you have any flexibility with your date, I do have openings on February 18th and 25th. Will either of those dates work for you?”

School Dance Advisor: “Let me check with the committee and my administration and get back with you.”

Many schools are very flexible with their dates and are picking them rather arbitrarily in the first place. They are often willing to move their date in order to retain the services of a DJ they trust. It also sends a much stronger message of your desire to work with the school, than simply deferring business to “the future”. Finally, it can avoid the potentially uncomfortable situation of having to recommend someone else to perform their dance, business you may or may not get back.

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Matt Ryan (14 Posts)

Matt Ryan

Matt Ryan is a multi-op DJ business owner, radio personality, developer of School Dance Pros, and educator. Matt has been performing school events, along with many other types of functions, since 1996. Currently Matt Ryan Mobile DJ Entertainment performs approximately 250 events per year, with nearly half of them being school and teen events. Matt is well-known as an air personality on WNCI 97.9, a Top 40 radio station in Columbus, OH, and is a middle school teacher and coach. Matt is able to provide unprecedented insight to other DJs about how school dances are organized. To contact Matt, email Matt@SchoolDancePros.com or visit www.SchoolDancePros.com


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