Make Their Day - The Details Hold it All

“Go ahead. Make my day.”
Most people that don’t pay attention to pop culture will tell you that Clint Eastwood spoke that line in the movie Dirty Harry, but they would be wrong. The line was actually spoken in the 1983 film Sudden Impact, a detail that wouldn’t seem significant to most people. But to a trivia hound, this detail is gold. It’s a detail like this that allowed someone to win $250,000 instead of just $100,000 on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”, and I can guarantee that a little detail like that is important to the guy who won.

So when it comes to dealing with people in a working environment, the best way to making someone’s day comes down to the details. In fact, I think the old adage “the devil is in the details” is somewhat of a misnomer; the truth is that if you ignore the details, the devil shows up anyway.

One of the easiest ways to make somebody’s day is to remember their name and address them by it. When you meet someone for the first time, ask for their name, then repeat it back to them, then use it again immediately . . . to start. Something like this:
“Hi, I’m Zach. You are . . .?”
“I’m George.”
(while shaking hands) “George?”
“George, pleased to meet you. Where are you from, George?”
And so forth. If you can get yourself to say their name at least 3 times within the first 60 seconds of conversation, hearing yourself saying that name in your own voice will help to better imprint that name on your brain, especially when you’re looking directly at that person’s face. Then later, when you see them again, greet them with their name. I can’t tell you how impressed someone will be when you do that. They think that you took the time to remember their name, when all you really did was take a few seconds to self-imprint their name along with their face onto your memory.

This technique works great when you’re in the business of greeting people, working as an usher or salesperson, or just trying to make a new friend. In the DJ field, it also helps to remember someone’s name for when you’re speaking on the mic. People have this innately comfortable feeling that comes over them when they hear their own name spoken by someone else, so often I’ll mention someone by name over the microphone, especially if I see them doing something unique on the dance floor. It’s a great way to get people involved. You also seem like more of a friend than a detached DJ when you do this, and it lets people know that you’re approachable.

Sometimes you’ll be working with people that have a lot of wants and/or needs, a lot of details – write them all down. You’ll be much more likely to remember them that way, especially when you take the time to go back and revisit your notes at some point. One thing I do as a DJ is make a pre-event call, which is the time that I get the most information from my client about their event. No matter how minute or unimportant an item seems, if it could be something I could use later on, I’ll write it down. It takes more work than just trying to remember what you need to know, but you can use those points later, bringing them up to your client to let them know that you’ve been keeping that little detail in mind, and it has helped shape the way you serve them. Most people.

As a DJ, I’ve seen this take many shapes. I had a bride & groom that were triathletes, and they wanted something that sounded big and sportslike for their grand entrance at the wedding reception. So I downloaded a copy of “Bugler’s Dream”, which has widely become known as the fanfare for the Olympic Games. They loved it, and so did their friends and family. I also recently did a wedding reception for a couple where I was asked by many people if I had been hired because I looked like the groom. I hadn’t been, but when the wedding party arrived and I met the groom, we all had a laugh because we looked VERY much alike. Big guys, shaved heads, and facial hair. We even had the same color vests on with our tuxedos, which only led to more confusion throughout the evening, but I decided to have some fun with it, and made mention of it several times over the microphone. When you pay attention to a detail, sometimes you’ll touch on something very personal and important to your client, and they’ll love you for it.

Murphy sucks. His law states that if it can go wrong, it will. For that reason, you really need to plan ahead for any issues that could go wrong. There’s nothing worse than being rushed for something when you’ve promised someone you’ll be doing something by a certain time. Running behind schedule is a sign of unprofessionalism -- or at least a lack of professionalism -- no matter how great you are at the task at hand, so you need to plan ahead. I always tell my DJ clients, especially if it’s a big event like a wedding or anniversary party, that I’m going to need about 45 minutes to one hour of their time on the pre-call. And usually, I use ALL that time to get all the details I need, sometimes more. When you invest a little bit of time on the front end, then when it comes time to actually provide the product or service for your client, you’re spending less time backing up and retooling your procedure. Anticipate and plan for problems ahead of time and you’ll have a greater chance of success.

Sometimes you’re faced with a problem mid-stream, and you have to alter your course. Other times your client will ask you to provide something that you might not be able to do. In a case like this, it’s often the best thing to use some powers of negotiation – find out something that will create a win-win situation, even if it’s not exactly what your client wants. If you can be resilient, you’ll win more people over, and they will wonder why they didn’t hire you sooner.

Sometimes you have to go out of your way to help someone, do something you normally wouldn’t do. I’ve seen church greeters actually help people out of their cars and into the building when all they really have to do is open the door, smile, wave, and offer a handshake. I’ve seen servers in restaurants bring out a drink refill without asking, instead of waiting until a glass was empty. I’ve seen mechanics offer a discount because they had surplus parts that they wouldn’t be able to get rid of anyway. I’ve seen DJs find out special songs for guests at a wedding reception that weren’t even family, making them feel like someone actually cared if they were there or not. I’ve seen all sorts of people in all sorts of positions go out of their way, doing something they weren’t required to do, in order to make someone’s experience that much better. When you give a rip, you’ll give someone else a reason to remember you.

Remember, all this takes work. Honest, true, plain ol’ work. You can’t expect to coast through ANYTHING and be a success. You have to get your hands dirty, make the phone calls, pound the pavement, plan a strategy, get your head in gear so that you can be the best at what you do. Make the decision to work for what you want, and always look for ways to improve. If you think you’re as good now as you’re going to get, you’ll prove yourself right. Take control of your work by taking pride in what you do.

Ultimately, it’s the little thing, the tiniest detail, that makes or breaks you. Don’t ever settle for glossing over the details when you have the opportunity to make a lasting impression. Trust me . . . this stuff works.

There Is No Box.