“What do you need from me?”
That’s a question I get from clients for almost every event. Now, I love that question, but I love it more when the client follows through. I’m just going to cut right to the chase. The best thing a client can do for the entertainer is to appeal to their experience…within reason.
Keep this in mind: if you’ve done your research on an entertainer (which you always should) and they come highly recommended, they should have a pretty good idea on what works best for your type of event and venue. For me, having the client be in tune with my needs for a show is so critical that, one time, I actually canceled a show when a client was unwilling to work with me on the setup of the room. Why is it so critical? Well, if I want to maintain the good reputation I’ve worked hard to get, I need to be careful with which details of the event I’m flexible. If I know something just simply won’t work, I can’t, in good conscience, continue telling the client that it’s going to be a great show. I would much rather turn down a show or, worst case scenario as this was, cancel the show after it was booked. I actually found out from an entertainer friend who performed at the event that it was possibly the worst event he had ever seen. His observation was that the client was very set their ways and tried to control every aspect of the event. The punchline? The person my friend and I were dealing with was actually a professional event planner and it was the first and last time that company ever used that person.
Believe me when I tell you that appealing to the experience of the entertainer may completely turn your event around. Again, do this within reason. If they tell you to change the color of the carpet at the venue (which, believe it or not, I have heard before), 99% of the time, you won’t be doing that. However, if it’s a request like have the first row of people no more than 5 feet from the stage, as long as the chairs are not bolted down, that should be very easy to accommodate.
I will leave you with this story. Several years ago, I performed for a group of people at a church. When I arrived, I met with the lady who hired me and she introduced me to the event coordinator at the church and said that she would provide everything I requested. Well, that actually was the complete opposite of what happened. She didn’t grant one request the entire time I was there. Seeing that I was in a spot, the lady who hired me was able to get two other workers to provide me with everything the event coordinator wouldn’t…which was everything. After the show, the event coordinator literally demanded that I come to her office, where she told me, “You will never perform here again!” Well guess what? You’re going to love this……I performed there the following year for the same event and that wonderful event coordinator had been demoted and guess why? You’re going to love this even more……too many complaints from entertainers.
Now, the two stories here are about as ‘worst case scenario’ as you can get. Just do your best to work with the entertainer. You may have booked 100 other entertainers, but you’ve never booked this specific one.