There is a concerning trend in the DJ industry. A potential customer sends out a inquiry and usually the first thing they ask is……. “What’s Your Price?” And just like that the response from the DJ is……… $. No attempt to explain their credentials as a Master Of Ceremonies. And that is the focus of my concern.
When we are hired as a DJ entertainer for any event 90% of the time we will also be expected to speak on a microphone making announcements and even motivating the guests. Its a totally different skill set from selecting and programming music. Which is a very different skill set from mixing, trick scratching and operation of the controls. This is the skill often left behind when trying to sell yourself to a potential client. And yet, it may be the one area the majority of DJs need the most work on. Practice and vocal training is often an after thought as the DJ seems to be more concerned about the wattage of their speakers and new stem features of their controller.
To a potential client it is also a conversation usually missed if the DJ first talks price, then possibly talks about music and finally pumps their gear. Promoting your skills as MC is usually over-looked and a prime opportunity lost to differentiate yourself from the competition who probably have no formal vocal training? How impressed will your potential client be if you can explain that you have taken MC training courses to become a smooth and articulate professional speaker? And how much improved will your communication skills be when in the sales process you can be a polished, genuine and smooth presenter? Because that is what we must do in order to book an event in the first place. We need to present our credentials, and if PRICE is the only thing you are featuring you fall into the commodity category. Meaning, if price is the only thing that you give to a client they most certainly will select the DJ who is the cheapest price! And if they hire you it will be because of your low price and not for your skills. Clearly, if your price is the only thing you have to offer don’t expect to make good money in this business because you will always have to be a cellar dweller.
Dare I guess that 9 out of 10 DJs have NO vocal training or even practice the art of public speaking? So, when DJ gear or a light show defines you how can you really stand apart swimming in a sea of amateurs? And thus, it comes down to how low can you go on price and becomes a race to the bottom. Certainly, the DJ industry might be the only industry I know in which the participants value the amount of jobs they have vs the amount of money they are bringing in. Just because you are working 10 events at $300 each does not make you more successful than the DJ with mad vocal skills commanding $3000 for 1 event.
With that food for thought I want to promote a mentor of mine who has made it his life’s work training DJs to truly MASTER the art of speaking in public. Mark Ferrell of the Marbecca Method and MC Workshops is a extremely accomplished public speaker and presenter. His course hosted along with his wife Rebecca is transformative and will make you totally re-think how we use a microphone. Here are some thoughts I came across today from Mark that he posted on Facebook:
” Not many couples know about #MarBeccaWorkshops. But they DO know whether or not a DJ has speaking skills. It’s immediately noticeable. The choice is yours… be like every other untrained DJ out there doing the same exact thing….Or make your speaking and performance skills truly NEXT LEVEL. At #MarBeccaWorkshops, we steer you totally clear of what all the other DJs are doing, so you can have a completely unique performance. Choose wisely. “