September 19, 2014

DJ Conclave 2.0: Takeaways from Upper-Midwest Mobiles

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Mike Walter: 4 Steps to Growth

Mike Walter: 4 Steps to Growth

Bloomington, Minn.—Each year, Disc Jockey News offers an intimate conference for mobile entertainers, mostly from the upper Midwest. Led by the affable Grey Eagle, Minn.-based John Young, its DJ Conclave 2.0 returned to the Twin Cities area this past Nov. 13-15 for instructive seminars and networking opportunities. DJ Times was there to listen and catch some of the action. Here are some highlights:

The endlessly energetic Scott Faver (of the multi-state company, The Party Favers) kicked things off with plenty of gusto, and he demonstrated why he’s known as “The Game Master.” Indeed, in the space of an hour, he ran through 10 party games that had an audience of 60 involved in very short order. One of Faver’s unique abilities is to break down the entertainer/audience barrier and make people feel comfortable in no time. Easier said than done, right?

In between games, he basically explained his approach to working an event: “When it comes to games, you create something out of nothing. Working events, you can make people sigh and cry and then buy—they buy you!” Scott Faver, he’s one of a kind.

Longtime DJ Expo presenter, Mike Walter of Elite Entertainment, delivered a brand-new seminar, “Delegate or Abdicate,” which offered ways for multi-op mobiles to prepare for a potentially lucrative future.

The Eatontown, N.J.-based author of “Running Your Multi-Op” and “Training Your Next Great DJ,” detailed methods that allow a multi-op to grow a mobile-entertainment company, while also enjoying its success.

He detailed four steps:

Step 1: Always remember that it’s not luck that’s made you successful. Baseball pioneer Branch Rickey said, “Luck is the residue of design.” Be prepared and luck will take care of itself—and that includes finding talented DJs for your company.

Step 2: Proper delegation is achieved through thorough training, consistent monitoring and honest evaluation.

Step 3: Employee retention is tricky, but never impossible. Methods include recognizing staff (use “we” instead of “I”) and offering money-making opportunities to your key staff.

Step 4: Communicate and know that every staffer is different. For example, like it or not, communicating with millennials (aka Generation Y) requires more coddling than those from previous generations.

Then Walter detailed the positives of delegation for your company: 1. Growth, 2. Increased revenue, 3. Increased market presence and referrals (if your DJs are good), 4. You’ll get to take time off and actually enjoy life.

Manhattan-based “sales coach” Carolyn Herfurth of The BizTruth presented a freewheeling seminar whereby she asked: “Who is your ideal client? What drives and defines them? Is every client worth pursuing?” Those three simple questions stimulated nearly 90-minutes worth of discussion.

One DJ/audience member detailed a painful story of a client negotiation that ran off the rails, and then offered: “Telling a client that we’re not a good fit is like breaking up with a girl.”

Michael Lenstra of the Dubuque, Iowa-based Alexxus Entertainment told the story about booking and playing an event for a stick-in-the-mud couple that wanted only the lamest music and the least amount of interaction. He got $700 for the gig, but he worried that 140 people at the event thought that “the DJ sucked,” when, in fact, he was merely providing what the clients wanted.

So, the seminar audience debated the idea: In the end, is the event only about the client? Or is it OK to view it as a vehicle for future referrals? The reaction was mixed.

One mobile jock didn’t think it was too forward to ask a prospective wedding client what their wedding budget was. “If they can ask us what we charge,” he opined, “why can’t we ask them what they’re willing to spend?”

DJ Sabrina Anderson from Alexandria, Minn., remained beholden to the client and embraced the more human side of the business. “If the negotiation about playing a wedding is so blatantly about money, money, money, you’ve lost them already. For me, working someone’s special day is an honor. It’s always about the client, not about me. If you’re good and you connect with the client and the party, people will find out.”

For more on DJ Conclave 2.0, please visit www.discjockeynews.com, and once again, a big thank you goes out to John Young for his efforts.

– Jim Tremayne