Managing Client Expectations – Don’t Oversell! by Ben Miller

July 11, 2014 by Mobile Beat

This is my most embarrassing post so far (I’ll probably write other posts that are more embarrassing… because I’ve done a bunch of really embarrassing stuff). This one is embarrassing because it shows a moment when I didn’t do my job well.

Over the years I’ve had a few unhappy clients. Each time that they’ve let me know they’re unhappy, it takes my breath away when I read what they’ve written. Jon Acuff writes about “critics math”, which means that if you get 1,000 compliments and 1 complaint…. guess what you spend all of your time on

Well, about ten years ago I had a very upset Mother of the Bride (for those of you who don’t know about my business, I own and operate a Wedding DJ Entertainment business). I had only been full time for a year or two and I was still in my mid-twenties. I was focused on making sure I had enough money to live on and managing-client-expectations-1024x669was still pretty wet behind the ears when it came to sales. When I sat down with a family, I would oversell the service I provide to make them like me and convince them I was the best option. The problem with overselling someone on your service is that you only set yourself up to under deliver.

So here was the situation: This family had planned a wedding at a local venue that comfortably holds 200 guests. They had about 210. Both the wedding coordinator at the facility and I had stressed to this family the importance of assigning seats at the tables for the guests. The client ignored our recommendations and opted for “open seating”, meaning guests would filter in and find their own seats.

In our initial sales meeting, I told these clients about all of the “DJ” related things I do, but I also said “I’ll be there to act as a host to the party… when guests are coming in, I’ll help them find their seats if they can’t find it”. What I meant was “OH…? YOU’RE AT TABLE 10? TABLE TEN IS IN BETWEEN TABLES 9 AND 11…. Let me help you find that”. Basically what I was selling is that I wouldn’t just stand behind my equipment and play Angry Birds (which didn’t exist at the time… I think I still had that snake game on my blackberry), but I would be out and interacting with guests helping them feel comfortable.

But that’s not what these clients heard. They heard that I was the “Maître DJ”. They heard that I would be standing there with a towel over my arm and seating their grandparents.

To make matters worse, the clients not only ignored our advice, but they invited more people than they had chairs. So, as the room filled up, there were still plenty of people coming in the door with no where to sit. We tried to sit Mr. and Mrs. Jones at table 8 where there were two open seats, but Mr. and Mrs. Jones didn’t want to sit at table 8 because they didn’t know anyone there. They wanted to sit at table number 10 (that already had 9 people sitting at a table set for 8 people). The hotel staff worked as fast as they could to set up more tables (which looked very unprofessional and rude as they’re bringing more tables, chairs, and place settings into th room that was already set earlier in the day).

Guests choosing their own seats? Bad. Not enough seats for everyone? Worse. The parents forgetting to “reserve” tables up front for the parents, grandparents and other family? Inexcusable. But they didn’t listen to our suggestions…. they just heard me say “I would seat everyone”.

Read the rest of this at Ben Miller’s Site

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This is the general editors account for Mobile Beat Magazine and Website. Who reads Mobile Beat online and in print and attends Mobile Beat events? DJs, VJs and KJs to start with, especially those who own and operate mobile entertainment services. They provide music, video, lighting and a myriad other entertainment choices for corporate events, wedding receptions, dances and innumerable other gatherings.


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