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A wedding client told me during a consultation that she absolutely did not want to do a dollar dance.

We could have just said okay and moved on, but my DJ training kicked in and I took a different approach.

“Why don’t you want the dollar dance?” I asked her.

The bride replied “It’s cheesy, it’s begging for money — it takes forever!”

I agreed, all of these things were true. “But it’s also the only time you have ten seconds of time with your guests for them to say ‘I love your dress’ or ‘Congratulations,'” I said.

We walked through the benefits of the dollar dance and the bride loved the thought of being able to have some time with her guests. So we came up with an alternative: a wish dance. Instead of giving a dollar to the couple, guests would write down a wish and put it in a jar we had placed on a chair between them.

We walked through the benefits of the dollar dance and the bride loved the thought of being able to have some time with her guests.

To dance with the bride and groom, the guests filled out a wish for them — for a date night, or advice for a great marriage (something, I told the guests, that you would have loved to read during your first year of marriage).

At the end of the 15-minute dance the couple had a jar that they took home. Every day they were to remove one wish from the jar, each one reminding them of why they pledged their lives to one another and just how many people loved them and shared that day.

This outcome, from an initial response of “I hate the dollar dance!” — how did we get there?

It starts with education, aka DJ training. I’m a junkie for great education. The honest reality is simply you don’t know what you don’t know. As the leader of a multi op, I’m constantly investing in education to make sure we’re on the cusp of what’s next.

Part of that is new gear and the industry-forward tools that most feel are the difference maker for getting attention and bookings.


But it’s what you do with the tools that makes the difference between being a commodity and being seen as such, and being a TALENT that clients must have, will pay more for — and most importantly will prompt them to treat you like a partner, not a vendor.

It’s what you do with the tools that makes the difference between being a commodity and being a TALENT that clients will pay more for.

The skills that are the most important are the training and the methodology of looking at an event under a microscope. What to do — and what not to do.

I give credit to Bill Hermann — his Entertainment Experience workshop I took in 2013 changed everything. I’ve watched several people in the industry in my market and across the globe evangelize how “mind-blown” they were from what they absorbed in his workshop.

The number one thing I learned from Bill was how to stop, collaborate, and listen. He promotes stimulating conversation on the possibilities and the responsibilities we have to our clients. They are expecting the BEST from their team and the deserve at least that.

The number one thing I learned from Bill’s DJ training was how to stop, collaborate, and listen.

This approach has helped us problem solve and avoid offering “rinse and repeat” solutions — to be sought after to create unique events. We don’t mail things in and these are the traits that Bill Hermann brought out in me and my company.

Most of us pride ourselves on the outcome of our events and relish the pat on the back, the hug, or the words of gratitude from our clients. Most DJs call that a win but Bill taught us otherwise: to look at the quality of the work we’re providing and how to make it just a little bit better.

To strive to be more creative. To create better celebrations. To promote the agenda that we’re the ambassadors for. To provide innovative solutions. To see that our biggest tool we have to offer — the biggest point of differentiation — is what we know, what experiences we have to draw from, and that our tools are nothing without proper skill to hone our services and control the narrative and the outcomes of our events for the people who trust us to do so.

We need to look at the quality of the work we’re providing and find how to make it just a little bit better.

We’ve been known to produce great events, weddings, non-profits, but you can’t rest on those laurels. Things are moving. Things are changing.

What are you doing to improve on your skills and give your clients the best?

An advocate of DJ and professional training, Chris Hintz is the owner of Pinnacle Productions in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. 

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