Today I created a way to respond to something most aspiring club DJ’s dread hearing from a club manager:
“How many people can you bring in?”
A quick disclaimer. I haven’t tried this yet. I assert that it could work, but I need to hear feedback to fine tune the idea. The issues that come up while testing would be useful for adjustments. And it wouldn’t work on every club manager, though it does improve your odds of getting a gig. My hope is that I can use my skills to help someone overcome a challenge that I could not. That would feel great.
So if any bedroom DJs want to try this out while looking for a club gig, a) don’t tell me I said it would work, because I didn’t and b) if you do try it, tell me what happens! Feedback would be a fair repayment if it worked, wouldn’t it?
Now or those of you who have never applied to DJ at a club, you need to know that every single time, the manager asks if you have lots of friends to bring in. This feels annoying because DJing feels like it should be solely about the music (or, if we’re honest, the music and the DJ).
Now if you are a DJ, and the phrase mentioned above triggers you, I have to do you a favor before I teach you how to handle this. I have to bring some reality into the room. You might not like it at first, but you can look back later and appreciate how another perspective helps you improve.
Club managers work for the club. The nightclub mostly exists to make money. It might also exist to help the owner and the staff treat their friends, have fun on off nights, and feel like an acceptable place for indulgences. Anyway, it’s mostly there to make money. And the club makes money by having a full room of people who paid for cover and buy alcohol. So the manager isn’t even looking out for his interests. He’s looking out for his interests and the nightclub’s.
Now my solution. This is an exercise in commitment and sleight of mouth.
For anyone new to persuasion, commitment means something slightly different here. It refers to the idea that you have an immense difficulty disagreeing with something you just said. If you don’t believe me, try disagreeing with your answer to the small question I asked about repayment four paragraphs ago. It will be difficult to do.
Sleight of mouth is a bit new to me. You are essentially leading someone to reframe their own intentions into different terms. You’ll see what I mean in a moment. For now, I can’t resist this example: I think children sort of use it without realizing it, except they don’t have any benevolent end result in mind. “Why?” “Why?” “Why?”
Now we have all the tools we need. Onward.
You are a DJ speaking to a club manager. You want to play there weekly, or whatever suits you. You believe you can handle the job, or that you can learn how. But you haven’t built a social media following and your real-life social network feels unconvincing. So what do you do?
First, it’s important to introduce some non-DJing talents early on in the conversation. Maybe you’re great at photography and video. Maybe you can sell. If you are good, you can probably think of some ways to use them to help at a nightclub. Now read this script and see why that’s useful.
Club manager: So how many people can you bring in?
Aspiring DJ: I’d like to answer your question better. What is the purpose of bringing more people here?
Club manager: We’re a nightclub, we need people here to make money.
Aspiring DJ: Okay, I understand. And in the past, how many people has a good DJ brought in on his own?
Club manager: <some number, which you can give a sincere reaction to.>
Aspiring DJ: So it would be good if I could come close to that amount, and if I could bring more people, that’s even better. Okay. This is actually a great opportunity. I can help the club exceed that value in other ways.
Club manager: What do you mean?
Aspiring DJ: We discussed my skills as a _______. If I used them to _______ and eventually _______, that could help the nightclub’s bottom line, could it not?
Club manager: Yeah, but we still need you to bring in people.
Aspiring DJ: I agree, it’s important to bring people to the nightclub. Have you ever had a DJ offer to help with <those things> before?
Club manager: We had this one guy but he didn’t deliver.
I think this is enough to give you some ideas. The general framework is to ask open ended questions to reveal why a manager needs a DJ who can bring bodies to the club. If you can show ways you could satisfy that need in a different way, you might overcome the requirement.
If you think my post might have value to someone, send it to a DJ friend for me.