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Posts Tagged ‘reality check’

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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The first red flag was this…..the Subject Line was completely blank.

Yes, the email message appeared with ‘ No Subject ‘ as the topic.

This was a VERY CLEAR indication of the level of brilliance to be found in the forthcoming message.

First thought was……. SPAM?  But cautiously opened it up anyway.

And there it appeared. Grammatical errors, run-on sentences, no personalization WHATSOEVER.

Here’s the email in its entirety, so you can get the real feel for it.

Hi , my name is Molly* and the reason I am e- mailing you is because I was wondering if I could job shaddow an event planner for my senior project in high school. All I need is 20 hours of job shaddowing and I was wondering if I could possibly do that with you.

 Thank you

*Name has been changed, to protect the unmotivated.

 

Seriously, this is someone that wants to JOB SHADOW an event planner, as a requirement for a high school class. Don’t you take English in your senior year as well?

As you can imagine, with this level of enthusiasm, personality, and overall excitement conveyed in the email, a response was sent back immediately.

NOT.

So what could she have done differently?

Pretty much anything. Like including information on:

  • What school do you attend?
  • What class is this for?
  • Why are you interested in job shadowing an event planner?
  • Why have you contacted this specific business?
  • What do you know about the business, and the services offered?
  • What makes you a great fit?
  • What skills are you interested in learning, or expanding?

Seriously, is that too much to ask?

Needless to say, PASS.

Maybe there needs to be a Business Etiquette graduation requirement for high school.

How often does this happen to you? Do tell.

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It can be difficult to talk a client down from a decision that they’re excited about.

No matter how stupid it seems to you. They want what they want, when they want it.

And if it sounds like a Real Deal, well they’re even more likely to jump on it!

As a wedding vendor, you just have to learn to deal with it.

A recent client asked for my opinion on booking a band for her wedding reception.

She’d seen a band playing live at a local indoor venue, and instantly fell in love.

She approached them to inquire if they played weddings, and would be available for her wedding reception.

They said ‘Yes!’, and that for 3 hours of play, the total cost would $500. This was for a 5 piece band.

So, I asked about their experience, references and pricing.

The answers she provided were somewhat frightening.

  • They’d never played a wedding before.
  • They were unfamiliar with the duties of an MC, but had stated that would be part of the overall cost.
  • They didn’t seem concerned with the sound quality while playing an outdoor backyard reception.
  • They just threw a price out, to see if she’d bite. {which she did}

She thought it ALL sounded good. I wanted to be kind, but also for her to see the true reality.

I asked her point blank, ‘Do you want to be the Guinea Pig wedding for this band?

 She seemed a bit perplexed.

So, I just reiterated that they could provide no references, no guarantee of sound quality.  No nothing really.

She was already sold on the band though, so my only advice to her was quite literally……Buyer Beware.

  • Be sure you have a solid contract that includes a clause that if the booking is not fulfilled in full, as outlined, that there is room for a partial refund.
  • Confirm that they can guarantee a back-up or plan B if one of their band members becomes ill or lost.
  • Outline your expectations of their behavior, and interaction with guests.
  • Verify if you need a permit from the city for outdoor entertainment.
  • Do not pay for their services in full before your wedding day.

The last thing you need is a stumbling vocalist, a drummer who hits on your bridesmaids, and the police showing up to ‘shut down’ the festivities due to excessive noise complaints.

Fingers crossed for this reception.

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Stop the Unsolicited Resumes.

It’s out of control.

Have you no shame?
If you can’t even bother to spell the name of the business properly, or research what it is we ACTUALLY do, then don’t hit send.

Also, spellcheck your resume, or even better, the actual email message.

And using cutesy adjectives, smiley faces, and exclamation points is NOT PROFESSIONAL.

Don’t even get us started on LOL. Whoever invented that acronym should be buried alive.

And here’s a big FYI.

Our ‘Contact Us’ page?

Yeah, it’s meant for Client Inquiries Only. That’s why the blank fields read:

  • Event Details
  • Budget
  • Services Requested
  • Contact Information

It’s not for you to use at free will.

Here’s a tip. Take a Business Class. Understand what it means to actually work each and every day as an entrepreneur. 

You may still be in college {or should be}, but guess what?

We aren’t. In fact, we graduated many years ago, and have continued to increase our IQs, and industry education.

So don’t inundate multiple vendors in a few short weeks. Word will spread, but it won’t be reputation you’re looking to grow.

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