DJ Sales Tactic: Just Say "No" to Attract Clients

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man putting his hand up, as in "Talk to the hand."
Can the power of “No” attract clients?

In this tight economy, it seems ridiculous for a DJ to say “No” to a gig, be it a club night, wedding or corporate event, right?


Is there still power in  sales advice that Just Says “No”?

If you’re afraid that a stern “no” will cost you income and referrals, the two foundations upon which your business is based—it will. But income and referrals are not always the best ways to build your business. The power of a stern “no” will turn away customers, but it can also translate into more cash for you.

Of course, you can accept a gig and still wield the “power of no.” Remember, clients are paying for your entertainment expertise, so don’t be afraid to put a value on it. “I make a promise to my clients up front,” says DJ Sean Devere. “I tell them I’m not going to be a ‘yes man.’ If they have an idea that I know won’t work, I’m going to tell them, even if they don’t want to hear it. I never do it disrespectfully, but I have a responsibility to let the client know what I know. For example, I did a corporate event for a liquor company where the client wanted to stop the music and have a raffle every 15 minutes because he was afraid people would leave. I told him that was the best way to make people leave. These suggestions come from people who don’t know any better, and it’s our job to suggest something better.”

And if you don’t parade the value of your expertise? “There have been many times over the years that a client has wanted us to do something at an event and I knew it wouldn’t work well,” says DJ Brian Doyle. “But I would say OK, because it was the client and they wanted us to, for example, play songs in a certain order or do the toast in a weird place. I was always the sucker in the company who said yes to everything. When I did this, clients would come back to us and complain. They felt we were letting them down. Even though we explained that we did it their way, they said, ‘Well, you’re a professional, you should’ve done a professional job.’

“A client once really reamed into me for that. Her point was that I was the professional with the experience and I should’ve known to tell her what wouldn’t work. She insisted on her money back and everything. So it kind of struck home at that point, that the customer is paying for our experience in addition to our service.”