What DJs Can Learn from the Cruise Line Industry

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The cruise line industry and the DJ business are cousins — if not siblings. Both have two key components: selling and entertaining. Therefore, they’re both in business to sell entertainment.
Mobile vet Adam Weitz will take this idea and expand on it when he moderates “Lessons from the Cruise Ship Industry” at the DJ Expo, which runs Aug. 14-17 in Atlantic City, N.J.

“This seminar is really all about sales,” says Weitz, who operates A Sharp Production in Huntingdon Valley, Pa. “What is your bottom line and what can you do to increase that bottom line by what you offer and when you offer it?”


We asked Weitz to expand on a couple points that he’ll be covering in his seminar.

What can a DJ learn from a sales specialist in the cruise line industry?
This side of the industry teaches your team to be prepared, have everything in a certain order and procedure for each client, and can help with selling on needs — then there’s the spiral upward of other options and offers to go with those ideas over time.

How does the cruise line industry compare to the DJ industry?
Sales and entertainment are the two branches we will focus on for the DJ Expo, and that’s what cruise lines are in business to do — to sell entertainment. From the moment you set foot off the marina and into the place where they sign an agreement and bring you on board, there are items that are for sale to the left and right of you. As clients walk into your office (or the marina) and you reserve their talents with the basics, the big question is what now? What is the next step and when is it coming?

They use team planners. How?
The cruise director is the head of sales for that client, he/she sends the client to different goods and services that the client needs. What they need and when they need it is all part of the proper formula for increased sales. Picture your sales team, and each is selling a different division.

What insights can we get from a headliner entertainer in the cruise line industry?
We’ll talk about that, too. It’s a benefit that they also work on long-term agreements, and for which time talent is expected to perform according to their agreement, which usually includes promoting the brand label. We’ll talk about how the clothes they wear helps deliver the message…

How does the “Minimum to Book” idea correlate to the DJ business?
For any cruise, some guests pay top dollar. Most get deals through packages or agents and some, of course, wait until last minutes and get the gold! No matter what they get, you want to try and get them anything small to start or minimum money out of pocket to entice them to commit to a signed agreement, which revolves around ideas I have heard from different companies that we’ll talk about that I think really work well.

How does “continual marketing” work?
Sales is supposed to be sending out blasts. Forget the call, no millennial wants to hear from you in-person when it comes to all the upgrades. Just make certain that your client gets the right message so you can target their upgrades, instead of overwhelming them with constant services you provide that have nothing to do with them. That’s when they start to tune you out.

When you walk into a cruise line sales office, what happens?
Upon coming into the office, it’s strategy — how it’s set up and what you see. Utilizing multimedia playing on the wall while they wait a few minutes is great, and if you visit their home, then showing them a brief tutorial movie before you begin is good. But playing multimedia near your peripheral eye site is great — they can see you and see the boob tube at the same time.

You say, “Do the pyramid to set up your sales tools.” What does that mean?
The room is a pyramid. MC, DJ, floor lighting, ceremony cocktails reception is our starting point. Sales in charge of the music pyramid see and hear live music for ceremony with DJs/musicians. Introduce client to an MC host, which is more out on the floor. Introduce additional lighting effects (uplighting). Then, it’s sales in the peripherals — photo, video photo booths (but only basic packages to start—if they show interest in the booths, you can show them the options). Then there is sales in design — table decor, centerpieces, candles, color theme, branding. This is the natural pyramid. But you’re not showing them items you offer that are not in their interests. If one person can do this because they are a small operation, then so be it, but if you are a company that gets 12 million gross a year, you’re gonna need divisions!

Does bully marketing really work?
This what a cruise ship knows best: “This night only…” or “this week’s special” or “this month is dedicated to cancer research…” or “book now and get…?” or “enter and win,” and on and on. We have always thrown out to our clients a chance to enter, with proceeds going to a charity, to win a free TV is great. But asking them when giving you a $1,000 deposit, “Would you like to make it $1,050 and put $50 in with your chance to win $1,500, drawn each quarter, the other half is given to a charity in your name…” To build a relationship with organizations in need that way is just incredible and giving back 4 to the 4th power, as I taught in my unconditional responsibility seminar.

Produced by DJ Times and Testa Communications, DJ Expo will run Aug. 14-17 at the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, N.J.