What They Know and What They Believe

“How much do you charge?”

…and so read the 5 most complained about words I see DJs talk about. It is a question that deserves an answer, obviously, but DJs are often overly critical of the question.

Often times, DJs will lament the fact that this is the only question potential clients ask them.

Why — dear god, WHY? — is that their first question?! Don’t they know better?!

Well, no, they don’t. And furthermore, they shouldn’t obviously know better. We have yet to fully educate the public on what they should be asking, so stop complaining. (Don’t worry, they ask me that question too. You are not alone.)

I don’t think there is anything “wrong” with answering the price question when it is asked, but allow me to explain what might happen, if and when we do just that.

If a potential client passes judgment over you and your services with the simple knowledge of your price and no other information about what you do, they may have been delivered a disservice by way of incomplete information. Yes, you understand me correctly; you may have done them a disservice by answering their simple question. Not sure what I mean? Let’s call on the brilliant mind of Seth Godin to help explain.

In what is probably the most influential piece of writing I’ve ever taken away from Seth, he says the following in a blog post titled, “Why lie?”:

“Someone who chooses not to buy from you isn’t stupid. They’re not unable to process ideas logically, nor are they unethical or manipulated by others. No, it’s simpler than that:

Given what they know and what they believe, the prospect is making exactly the right decision.

We always make our decision based on what we know and believe. That’s a tautology, based on the definition… a decision is the path you take based on what you know and believe, right?”

Seth then goes on to provide me with exactly the perspective I needed all those years ago when I first read this:

“… perhaps the prospect knows something you don’t, or, just as likely, doesn’t believe what you believe. Your job as a marketer is to figure out what your prospect’s biases and worldview and fears and beliefs are, and as a salesperson, your job is to help them know what you know.”

I understand the argument for telling people prices up front or putting them on your website, but I ask that you also consider the flip side when doing so. The very act of providing a price to someone who has not been given all the information needed to understand what that price means, is akin to letting someone vote without fully understanding what they are voting about. This, I would argue, performs a disservice to the inquiring individual.

Prior to developing my DJ business into a full time, single operator company, I used to sell furniture at an incredible furniture store. While I loved the job and miss it often, there is one thing I don’t miss…

Caller: “How much is a bed?”

Me: “……………..”

Often times, I felt like responding to those callers by asking “Would you call a car dealership asking how much they sell cars for?! …….. no, of course not!”

People are often given shortcuts of information (price, and little else) because salespeople dislike the perceived confrontation they see with a “price question.” The question isn’t nearly as confrontational as we make it out to be. People just don’t know any better. But at the same time, remember what Seth said when he wrote:

“Given what they know and what they believe, the prospect is making exactly the right decision.”

You, me, and everyone else in the DJ industry, hold the keys to ensuring that a prospective client is given the information needed so that they understand what we know and believe about our services. If we cannot find an adequate delivery method for that information, we have delivered a disservice to the potential client and ultimately, failed them.

That can be a hard pill to swallow.

DJs who take ownership over the sales process, without taking shortcuts, will be compensated very well, as will their clients.

Next time you are asked for a price, don’t get frustrated. Be thankful that someone is giving you yet another opportunity to become informed. Be thankful that someone is asking you to help them understand, even if they don’t know what questions to ask. Be thankful they contacted you and not someone else.

You are the professional, not them.

You understand what you do better then anyone else in the world, not them.

You hold the keys to understanding your services, not them.

Don’t blame them when they don’t “get it.”

Help them know and believe what it is that you know and believe about the value you provide. (This is my process.)

Do that, and everyone wins.

~ Dave

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