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Here’s a question for you: “What will you do differently this year than last?” Do you have an idea of what you need to do to be better for your clients? What training will you go through?
I was watching the New England Patriots the other day and running back Laurence Maroney fumbled on the goal line. The other team got the ball. What happened to Laurence? He didn’t see any further action for the rest of the game. Amazing huh? Here we have a multi-million dollar athlete and he made ONE mistake. Sure, the stakes are huge, but what an amazing thing. Do you think it made an impression? It did on me.
How about you? What do you need to do to be error-free? Do you see the parallel here?
The NFL players spend all week being coached. They practice over and over. Sometimes more because they don’t get the play right and the coach demands (DEMANDS) perfection. How about you? Do you demand perfection? Who is telling you how you are doing? It better not be your clients. They won’t tell you the truth unless you REALLY mess up. Then they will and most likely it will cost you money and reputation.
I once played the wrong first dance song. I didn’t even know I had made the mistake. The groom came to me during the open dancing part of the night and said: “Dave, you’re doing an amazing job and we really are glad we chose you to represent us. But there’s just one thing, and please don’t freak out, but you played the wrong first dance song.” Well, I did freak out. I offered to give him all his money back and he looked at me and said “Don’t be foolish. You’ve put so much work into this, that we wouldn’t accept anything from you. We just want you to play our song before the night ends.” I told them I would. Later, they wrote me a glowing review, and never mentioned the mistake. I could have been tossed out of the game, that’s for sure. But, I practiced making sure that everything would be perfect. 99.9 percent of it was. This couple still lets me know when they are coming to Maine and asks how I am. I cherish that.
Wherever I meet with a client, I ask a thousand questions. They may say something to me in one of the many answers that I will be able to use at their reception. It might be a minor point, but it may have a major impact. I always send them a complete rundown of the evening and have them send it back with notes or changes for me. I rehearse, I plan, I practice it all. Why? I don’t want to let my clients down for ANY reason. If I mess up, it’s my fault and mine only. I accept the blame.
So, my question again: “What training, online courses, local community theatre, or comedy courses will you be taking?” Why, in this industry do we NOT have a standard of behavior? Why in this industry is there NOT a national standard of performance? (The only thing I can think of is the very tired “16 questions to ask your DJ?” Really?!) How about a dress code? I’ve heard so many horror stories from venues and vendors about how the DJ showed up late, unprepared, and dressed sloppily. WHY?
If you really care about your business and more importantly yourself, consider getting information and expertise from people who have been there and done that! I also find it amusing that people in this industry expect to get information for nothing! No one in their right mind will give away hard-fought secrets and ideas that have made them successful in the first place. Why would you expect them to give it to you when they’ve had to perfect it in the first place? They really kill me.
So, the first decade is over. Here comes 2010. What will you do this year to get to the next level? What will you do to become exceptional? If you have any stories of failure or success, I’d love to hear them. In the meantime, I hope you have a great year…Behind The Mic!

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