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FLASHBACK ARTICLE FROM MAY 2010
I’ve written over 50 articles for this great publication and never once have I written a review of a product or service.
That streak ends now.
Last year, with great reluctance, I switched the database program that we at Elite Entertainment use to Troy Ackerman’s DJ Event Planner.
Since 1994, we had used a program that was written in FileMaker. That’s fifteen years’ worth of data. Over 7,000 parties worth. So when I say “with great reluctance” I mean it. First and foremost, we in the office, my salesmen and my office manager, knew that old program like we know the steps to The Electric Slide. And while it certainly had its limitations, we had bent and twisted that old program to do so many different things that made our lives’ easier. For years we resisted going to a new program because we reasoned: “how much better could a new one be?” One of my favorite Wallflowers songs has the lyric: “Look how wrong you can be?” That line seems appropriate here.
My other reason for reticence was that big pile of fifteen years worth of data. I wanted it to come forward into any new program we decided on so we could access it anytime.
I’m sure you can relate. How often do you have this conversation?:
Caller: We saw you at a wedding six years ago?
You: Oh great. Do you remember who the DJ was?
You: Well, no problem. Let me have the bride’s name and I can look everything up for you.
And then Voila! Not only can you see who DJed the wedding but just as importantly what that client from six years ago paid. That information is vital for a sales call and I wanted to make sure we weren’t dealing with two different database programs to access it.
Like any wise consumer, I seek word of mouth referrals. I spoke to my network of DJ buddies and I started noticing a trend. Those that used other programs couldn’t give me a ringing endorsement. But those that were using DJ Event Planner swore by it. And they not only raved about the program but also about the man who wrote it: Troy Ackerman. How easy he was to get in touch with and how open he was to making changes in his software.
I made one of my goals in attending Mobile Beat’s Las Vegas show in February of 2009 to meet Troy Ackerman and learn more about his product. And the more I learned, the more I came to overcome my fears of making the change and actually started to look forward to it. I introduced the concept to my staff and introduced them to the software. We signed up for Troy’s free 30 day trial (which I believe he stills offers.) They were also excited so with their support I approached Troy about the last piece of the puzzle: data migration.
Troy was confident he could pull it off. And he did. 15 years worth of client information came forward. I can look up events from as far back as 1994 and see all the pertinent details. With that last hurdle cleared we made the switch.
Going into it I had told my staff to expect about a one month learning curve. It wasn’t even that long. In no time we were flying around the new system, entering client’s information while talking to them on the phone and emailing agreements minutes after hanging up (something our old system did not allow.) My sales people rave about the software and how much easier it makes their jobs. My office manager as well. The reports that DJ Event Planner can generate allow us to keep our finger on the pulse of our business better than ever before. And my DJs love it too. When we book a last minute event they can just sign in to their account and see all the details.
And to complete the circle, DJ Event Planner also has great online planning capabilities for our clients. Before they even meet with their DJ they can fill out their Bridal Party Introduction and select their music requests all from the comfort of their homes. Our millennial brides love this feature and it’s become a big selling tool for us as well.
DJ Event Planner is web-based allows everyone to access the system in unique ways. My sales people can see certain levels of information while my office manager can do even more. My DJs of course can only see their own events. And clients when they sign on to their account can make and save changes to these music requests which my office staff and their specific DJ can see instantly. And without needing a “Go to My PC” type of program, we can access our data base anywhere and anytime. While I’m on the road I can view it on my laptop or even my iPhone. And while we are at bridal shows we can check availability instantly. We even have brides enter their information directly into our database and email them during the bridal show. Talk about immediate gratification!
And the legend of how helpful and open to suggestions Troy Ackerman has proved true. Since becoming a user, I have called Troy numerous times and asked if the program could do something different. He has made numerous “tweaks” for me. I love the fact that, even though DJ Event Planner is already great, Troy is not resting on his laurels. He’s ready willing and able to listen to his customers and make adjustments.
If you want to contact Troy you can find him on Facebook or go to DJEventPlanner.com. And as always if you have any questions for me, hit me with an email or Facebook message. I’ll be happy to answer any questions and to give you the same kind of ringing endorsement that others gave me. DJ Event Planner has quite simply made my life easier and made me more efficient. And with an ultimate goal of working less and working smarter, that’s the kind of product or service I had to rave about.
Mike Walter is the owner of Elite Entertainment of New Jersey and a nationally recognized expert in multisystem company development and staff training. You can contact Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org.