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Posts Tagged ‘wedding industry lessons’

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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No doubt this is something you already do.

Thankful for your business acumen, thankful for your clients, thankful for your interns or staff.

But most important are those you can confide in.

The vendors that are your sounding board, that give unsolicited professional feedback, and save you in a time crunch while watching your back.

This is a crazy business.

Face it. You truly have to be a bit of a nut to pursue this.

And, you crave that kind of genuine support from those that are in the know.

They can relate to your wacky stressors, your need to let off steam, or your urge to devour a cupcake in less than 60 seconds.

There is no judgment, just the nodding of heads.

So, when you find these lovely creatures, or they find you…..Be Thankful.

There’s nothing more relaxing than to be amongst true friends.

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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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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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Let’s set the scene…

We have 2 hours to transform one largish room into a ceremony area, for 160 guests, and set-up all the reception tables {hidden behind a floor to ceiling piece of drapery} with candelabras, flowers, favors, seat assignments, etc.

The clock is ticking.

We all know about crunch time. Some venues just don’t get it, and will provide minimal access time for vendors.

We’re pretty used to the 2 hour dash + decorate’ session.

We can successfully pull it off, with 15 minutes to spare before guests start to pour through the doors, as long as we’re ALL on board, with the same goal in mind.

That being a happy bride, a relaxed groom, a bridal party in waiting, and satisfied parents.

So, why have so many Venue Managers forgotten {or refused} to take the Sales Hat off when there’s already an event booked that day?

Now, we COMPLETELY understand wanting to sell your space, especially with everyone counting their pennies, and with growing competition out there.

But, guess what? Showing the space to couples, their extended family, and random people wandering in off the street WHILE the venue is booked is NOT COOL.

In fact, why are the bride + groom even paying for the space during that time if Joe + his fiancée Barbara can stroll through, ask as many questions as they see fit, and query the event planning staff about décor rentals, flower prices + cupcake flavors?  

The client has paid for the exclusivity and privacy the venue has promised them. Remember?

Oh, and by the way, they’re getting married in LESS THAN 2 HOURS!

So Venue Manager, read ’em + weep…

  • Get Some Tact
  • Do Your Job
  • Understand Current Client Priorities

Seriously, where the hell does your loyalty lie?

We can’t even blame the couples walking through, like deer in headlights, just soaking it all in. They don’t get the gravity of the situation before them. {But, they will on their own big day, and they’ll be pissed.}

This isn’t a bloody Open House.

It’s a beautiful couple’s Wedding Day, and they deserve your undivided attention.

If you don’t get that, then GET OUT. We have it more than covered.

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Be honest. Do you really take the time to build each other up?

This seems to be one of those ugly topics that nobody really wants to touch.

Cliques are everywhere. Face it.

So, check yourself.

Are you one of THOSE wedding vendors? You know…the kind that couldn’t be bothered to exchange pleasantries, let alone take the time to chat about the big event that’s about to happen?

The event where your client is one and the same?

These seem to be the same vendors that consider themselves truly refined, posh and definitely a cut above.

Sorry, but fancy pageant walking in the hallways at a large Wedding Show doesn’t scream high end.

Here’s the deal.

There’s nothing memorable about you, except the fact that you’re a first rate bitch.

Oh, and reality check……this isn’t fucking Gossip Girl.

You want to create a GREAT business reputation?  Treat people with respect, compassion and diplomacy.

Lose the judgmental facial expressions {they create premature wrinkles anyway}.

Remember that every single vendor that does business with your mutual client is someone that‘s worth your time.

When the lean times come {like right about now} – you’ll be happy that you made friends – instead of frenemies.

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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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