Start the Year Off Right By: Arnoldo Offerman

January 1, 2012 by Arnoldo Offermann

A WAKE UP CALL AND A WEALTH OF NETWORKING IDEAS

I hate writing articles with less how-to and more of “things to think about.” However, this is something that has to be said.

What the heck happened to our industry? Yes, we know that DJs will bicker back and forth about anything and everything, but how do others perceive us? Well, here’s one disturbing example…

FIRST, THE BAD NEWS

There’s a Facebook group called “Dodgy Technicians.” Simply put, this is a group where stagehands, rigging techs, and other production crew members make fun of some of the horrible things that pass as “professional work.” This group 
always makes fun of DJs because DJs have given them a hard time. Stories about DJs “running in the red” are all 
too common.

However, it was a recent post that stirred some thought. Someone asked “With the constant bickering from the children in the back seat, who has the biggest ego?” Keep in mind this group has few DJs to begin with, so the bickering of this group is among like-minded individuals. Lighting techs got 5 votes, sound techs got 12, and DJs? They got 102 votes. (Yes, I was one of those 102 votes.)

Every industry forum has bickering, senseless fights, and just plan stupid conversations. However, this poll got me wondering: Is the DJ industry the ugly step child of EVERY event category? I asked several wedding vendors about their thoughts as DJs as an industry and answers ranged from “not organized” to questions about when we became an “industry” to begin with! OUCH.

BURNING BRIGHTER

With 2013 just starting, now’s the time to step up and make some positive changes. Let’s change the perception and really get the ball rolling! How do we fix the DJ industry’s overall image and the negative connotations? The answer is magical and oh so obvious:

You can’t and you won’t.

Did that sting a little? Whether it did or didn’t, I’ve found that there are too many people who just don’t care, and they 
outnumber those of us who do. This is going to sound a bit, wrong, but I stopped caring and instead embraced it. I think you should, too. You see, it’s a tricky way to use the state of our industry to an advantage, but it is doable. 
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Think about it; If you’re the brightest star in a galaxy, you will stand out for many light-years, but if more stars begin shining just as brightly, you’re no longer as easy to spot. Basically, what I’m saying is that if you work hard on YOUR business, you will EASILY excel past the buffoons who embarrass our industry. 

However, unlike a star, you are not a giant mass of gas. Well, you may be, but not in the sense of which I describe. A star can function alone, but your business will only grow so much by itself. Plus, it’s unfair to hope the industry stays 
at the bottom so you can stand out more. 

And think about this; a bright group of stars will stand out even more. How well do you know your competition? I may not know each DJ in our area personally, but I know who’s good and who’s not. I also know who’s a good person at 
heart. These are the DJs we proudly associate ourselves with. We bounce ideas off each other, refer leads, and just keep a daily banter up with each other. We also laugh at those who do bring the industry down. They are not our competition, they are just referred to as “the rest.” Even if you never cross paths with your comrades in arms, it?s good to know you’re not alone in your area.

MY FELLOW PROFESSIONALS…

The people who’s opinions truly matter are other wedding vendors. After all, if they have a poor opinion of wedding DJs, they won’t help deter clients when they talk about looking for cheap entertainment. This means that making vendors feel like their life, and their client’s wedding, will be a lot easier if they worked with you. 

That being said, are you networking? Are you attending as many networking meetings as you can? If so, are you talking with the organizers so YOU can help provide the music? If you get the opportunity, bring a couple staff members or someone who can help co-represent you while you handle the music. Your equipment needs to look its best, as do you. First impressions count and if you hold a consistent persona during these networking 
meetings that appeal to vendors who reach your target market, you are more likely to get referrals. 

Arnoldo Offermann specializes in youth events, and is the driving force behind 4 Schools Only, a hugely successful division of A Premier Entertainment, in Central Florida (Tampa, Orlando). Find out more at www.4schoolsonly.com, www.apremierentertainment.com and www.arnoldooffermann.com. He shares many of his school success secrets at www.masterschooldances.com.

Take this time to ask them questions about their perception of the DJs in the area. Get them to open up with some honest and brutal feedback and in a sly manner, talk about things you are doing differently. While the answers may be obvious, ask them what you could do to help change their negative perceptions about DJs. 

However, do some homework ahead of time and beat them to the punch. For example, I guarantee you most photographers will talk about how they hate DJs with laser dots all over the bride and groom. Thus, when a photographer and I talk business and they show me their work, I pull out my iPad and show them some of our lighting setups. Then I bring up on how we DON’T aim laser dots anywhere near the bride and groom. This is a great way to get people to see that you?re different from the rest, right off the bat. If one of your DJ friends is well known in a circle, ask him/her to introduce you in, and you do the same with your circle of vendor friends.

I don’t need to tell you that you should be your best when you’re performing, but how well do you do in your interactions with other vendors, before and after? Do you call beforehand to introduce yourself and go over the timeline? Do you call/email afterwards and thank them for a job well done and extend a “hope we can work together again soon” message? These little common sense things aren’t done by many vendors, so the extra 
touch always gets attention!

Of course, when it comes to networking you will not start getting referrals after the first meeting; but those one-on-one connections, a friendly attitude, and a stellar work ethic can get referrals after only one event done together.

Make sure to visit every venue in your area, and I mean EVERY venue and re-introduce yourself, or if you already have a rapport, stop by and say hi. Discuss how you love working together and want to know if there’s anything you can do to help them out. The same goes for bridal and tux shops. Perhaps they have a big sale coming up where some uplighting would look great? A small gift of a free uplighting setup can go a long way in terms of referrals. Don’t forget to call up coordinators and follow the same networking steps outlined above!

With the new year in play, I think it’s time you get a better focus on YOU. Don’t worry about changing the industry because it’s not going to happen anytime soon. Take that energy and spend it on making sure that people know that you’re in a league all of your own! MB

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Arnoldo Offermann Arnoldo Offermann (39 Posts)

Arnoldo Offermann is the president of 4SchoolsOnly, a national phenomenon in school dances. In a market where DJs cry about $500 school DJs, 4SO sees 10-20x that price tag per event. Arnoldo is also the creator of Master School Dances, the leading educational tools for DJs wanting to get into this great market. He is a sought-after speaker, reviewer, and DJ tech-writer. You can learn more at http://MasterSchoolDances.com


Filed Under: Issue #147