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Archive for the ‘Business Practices’ Category

So, a new client is referred to you several months ago. It comes from a reputable source, and you’re feeling flattered.

You arrange a time to meet, but new client cancels at the last minute.

OK.

You sweep it under the rug, as she was referred by a former client whom you love.

First meeting eventually transpires after a few weeks.

She arrives late, clothing & hair appear disheveled, and her demeanor is bit out of sorts. To put it bluntly, she’s not really present.

She’s fussing with her blackberry, fidgeting in her seat, and unable to keep any level of eye contact.

No big deal, right? We all have off days, and she’s probably just really overwhelmed with all of the details & decisions that go into creating a wonderful wedding day.

Just keep on lying to yourself.

With no real focus on her part, the task at hand becomes BIG.

So, aren’t you dying to know what ends up happening?

Major Wasted Time. {surprise}

You spend so much mental energy talking this client down from odd-ball elements that make no sense, that you feel like charging the ‘referral source’ for the counseling sessions you’ve lined up for weeks.

In the end, the wedding is a total hodge podge.

Exactly as she wants it. And, she seems really happy about it all. Which in the end is all that matters.

Though, there’s still very little eye contact.

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You want to establish a genuine, authentic relationship with your client.

You want them to know that you support their decisions, that you’ll guide them in the right direction, and that their event is a top priority.

They’ll share many personal secrets, and fairytale wishes with you.

You guard this intimate information, never thinking of spilling the beans.

 Your duty is to be their confidante, to be the non-judgmental sounding board.  

So, when you’re going through your own personal crisis {pregnancy, moving, staffing issues, client drama}, how much do you share, if at all?

It’s a fine line that many wedding vendors get trapped crossing.

And once you go down that road of sharing, there’s NO TURNING BACK.

You can’t take back the comment you made in passing about a vendor that gave you a raw deal, or the bridesmaid that was a complete bitch, or the flake client that won’t pay their balance.

It’s crucial that you develop a professional and friendly relationship, but that you make a pact with yourself, and your staff as to where to draw the line.

Do you really want your client to know where you live? Where you like to hang out, and let your hair down?

Time and Place is the best advice to follow.

Be Authentic, and Bite Your Tongue.

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If you really want cheap, do a search on Craigslist. Thank you.

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Could this not be the most defeating scenario of them all?

You’re duly prepared for the initial meeting, conversation flows, details are discussed, there’s a meeting of the minds. It’s like you’ve been friends forever.

And then, NADA.

Naturally, you start to question everything. 

Your growing neurosis is now in the driver’s seat.

Did I push too much? Not enough? Was my conversation professional, or just plain diarrhea of the mouth?

Did the follow-up email seem needy or desperate after the initial meeting?

Was wearing those new blinged-out Gucci sunglasses showing too much gluttony?

It’s time to pull the car over.

Stop second guessing yourself.

Realistically review what when down.

The meeting? It really did go well. The follow-up email? It was professional, succinct and timely.

You even invited them to share how they’d like to proceed by a specific date.

There’s a fine line between assertiveness and smothering. You want them to bite, but on their own accord.

Just Move On.

Sometimes the hardest thing is to just refocus. On current clients, customer service, perfecting those sales skills.

In the end, it’s their loss. Don’t take it personally.

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It seems certain brides truly believe that their opinion is GOSPEL .

Especially when it comes to sharing their personal interactions with a specific vendor.

Like – who to avoid, who’s way overpriced, who you can bully, who doesn’t walk their talk, who’s a diva.

You get the idea.

These free-flowing testimonials seem to be most apparent on certain message boards – where brides can remain anonymous, interact, share experiences, and spread the slag.

Of course, we all know their messages are based solely on personal opinion, and truly have no bearing on our business ideals or practices.

Yet, it’s difficult to ignore, especially when you know it’s going on.

One day you’re viewed as the Miracle Worker, an Angel among {wo}men, up for Sainthood.

And the next?  Well, you didn’t kiss someone’s ass enough, you didn’t provide enough of a discount, or you didn’t provide the same exact perks. This free press is really a double-edged sword.

So, what’s a Wedding Vendor Extraordinaire to do?

Seriously, how dare some nameless bride-to-be on a vengeance try to take your reputation down with her?

Your gut reaction may be to create a fake online profile. It’s anonymous, right?

You could become part of the gang, ask brainless questions, comment on other’s catastrophes in the making, and slyly throw in a few little bites of PR magic {focused on your business, of course}.

Revenge is sweet, no?

In all seriousness, this would never work. Who has the time, energy, or interest?

Don’t sink to their level.

Keep Your Message Consistent.

Watch what you promote on your site, in your marketing materials, on your twitter account, etc.

Sometimes the smallest thing can slip through the cracks, even on the most careful watch. 

Offering custom pricing or ranges seems to work best {for most vendors}.

Your costs, expenses, niche, and staffing needs could change very, very quickly depending on the client, event size, and season.

You need to be flexible enough to meet the changes your growing company will inevitably go through.

And you can rest easy, knowing that you are providing a service based on your own integrity, not just public opinion.

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You’ve been awoken in the middle of the night.

THE IDEA has been handed to you.

You madly jot down the generalities, feeling flush about the possibilities.

You get up, and continue to embellish on the original thought.

You haven’t had this much creative juice in quite some time!

In the morning, you decide to put your brilliant idea to the test.

Time for the inaugural flight.

It fails miserably.

So naturally,

  • You tweak it. 
  • You brainstorm about it.
  • You ‘improve’ it.
  • You blah, blah, blah it.

It’s flaws stare at you. It’s presence continues to enter your dreams, without invitation.

It creates a fuss at the most awkward times.

Kick It To The Curb.

If it doesn’t work the first 3 times, it ain’t happening.

It may have felt life-altering when first stirring you from a deep sleep, but if it can’t take flight on it’s own, it will become dead weight.

Stop allowing it to faulter your creativity, and make you feel like a failure.

You know you’re full of it.

Good ideas, that is.

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There’s nothing wrong with getting your feet wet.

Sort of trying on a role for size.

But guess what? Most of us aren’t here to just dabble, or be the flavor of the week.

We put our blood, sweat + tears {not to mention weekends} into every decision, strategic plan and sales meeting we hold. 

So, when you start to compare yourself to someone who RUNS an events industry business full-time, it’s gone TOO FAR.

That’s great that your husband or partner makes 6 figures, so you can spend oodles of cash on a fancy flash-heavy website.

But the real test is, do you have any level of business savvy, original ideas or salesmanship?  

Somehow we doubt your personality is a vibrant as your website and business cards.

This ain’t no semester group project for us honey.

We’re putting food on the table, empowering each other, and making a difference with clients & community.

We’ve also got something you’ll never have.  

Substance.

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