Image by Aurélien from Pixabay 

How to Get Referrals for the Next (Bigger) Gig

Image by Aurélien from Pixabay 

You are an artist, which is incredible. However, you are also a small business owner, which means you are in charge of the booking. So, with that booking manager hat firmly on your brow, remember this: referrals are an excellent way to keep those gigs coming in and the revenue moving up. 

Referrals come from people who have hired you or worked with you before. More importantly, referrals are probably the best way to generate new leads. Not only is the referral already looking for a DJ, but they have already been introduced to you as a resource that fills that need from a trusted friend, family member, or professional connection. 

So, how do you get referrals? The simple answer is to ask. However, Forbes gives you a 4-step plan for asking (and getting) that goes like this:

  1. Ask. Sure, it’s simple to suggest, but you might be surprised how hard it is to do. So, getting the words out is the first essential step. And do it right after the gig because that’s when the client will be most pleased with you. Say something like, “Hey, thanks for hiring me today. It was excellent working with you. Do you know anybody else who might be looking for a DJ for an event?” (However, you don’t have to wait until the end; any time after you have established a positive relationship and provided value is an excellent time to ask for a referral). 
  2. Ask again. If the first ask was hard, I could imagine how challenging this tip sounds. However, even though lots of people will tell you no (again), some will say yes, maybe even right when you ask. So isn’t it worth it to give it a try? Follow up with someone a day or so after the gig, and this time it might be something like, “Thanks for giving me a chance the other day. I know you didn’t have anyone for me when I talked to you last time, but have you thought of anyone you could give my name to that might need a DJ coming up?” Another option is to ask for a Yelp review or for them to write a testimonial. This way, you aren’t asking for the same thing, but you are still having another conversation.
  3. Make it easy for them. Once you get a referral commitment, send them a text or an email that they can cut and paste into the referral. The simpler you make it for them to do, the more likely you will get it. The text could be, “I know you were looking for a DJ. I worked with DJ Emotion, and she was great for our event. Give her a call and see if you guys can work something out.”
  4. Follow up. If you get the next gig, ask the new client to let the person who referred you know that the referral worked and was helpful. It could happen again when your referral hears how much their friends like getting a referral. 

To read everything Forbes has to say about referrals, please click here.

However, there are a few other ways to ask for and get referrals, including:

Networking: Check out local venues, wedding professionals like planners, photographers, videographers, corporate event planners, club owners, and anyone else you think hires entertainment for events. Contact them to offer a referral fee for the clients they send to you. Also, as A Touch of says, be sure that the referral street goes both ways; refer some of your clients to them. Also, networking is essential for your booked gigs, too. For example, if you haven’t met them, you want to introduce yourself to the other vendors present and the venue owner. Again, as Cloverbook says regarding making connections, maintaining these relationships is invaluable to your growing business.

Get on the Preferred Vendor List at Venues: Building on the networking concept, your presence on the preferred vendor list is essential. The venue coordinator or venue manager usually maintains this list. If you want to get on this list, set up a meeting with the venue manager. An in-person meeting is best. Plus, DJ Times recommends taking photos of the room and including those images in any first correspondence with inquiries for that venue. Another way to build rapport is to feature that venue manager or coordinator in an interview about the space on your website, driving traffic for both of you and establishing your value as a vendor/referral for them. 

Go Analog: We assume you are already on social media, posting content and mixes to build a brand for your business. However, have you forgotten the tried-and-true analog referral tool, the business card? Having something small to hand out to people at venues, gigs, parties, and clubs is an excellent way to ensure that you have provided a way for these connections to get in touch with you. Business cards are cheap, portable, and non-threatening. So, it would be best to have them with you whenever you step outside your door. Of course, if exchanging phone numbers seems more natural, Gigly says to go with it. However, if you can still give them a business card (that has all your socials on it), then go with that, too. 

As Forbes says, “Referral sales require almost no financial investment, but they bring in valuable warm leads.” So, you must ask for them, ask again, and then make sure it happens by making it easy and following up. Networking is critical, especially if it helps you get on the preferred vendor list at a venue. And in addition to all the digital marketing you do, which we encourage, don’t forget that some old analog ways, like business cards, offer a low-tech, high-touch solution. All these tips can help solidify connections and move them to the next level, leading to the next (bigger) gig.


Efti, Steli. “Why Referrals Are the Most Valuable Form of Marketing (and How to Get More).” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 10 Dec. 2021, 

Gaspard, Acey. “How to Promote a DJ Business Using These 19 Tips.”, A Touch of Business, 2 Oct. 2022, 

“Cloverbook | How to Get More Vendor Referrals.”, Cloverbook, LLC, 

Djtimesmag. “How Djs Amp up Referrals from Venues.” The Nexus of All Things DJ, DJ Times, 19 June 2017, 

“DJ Marketing Strategies to Land More Gigs [9 Tips!].”, Gigly, LLC, or Gigly Insurance Services, 28 July 2022, 

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