Sell It Before You Buy It

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As a speaker and business consultant, I often get asked if it makes sense to add a new service or product to someone’s offerings. Of course, the answer will be different for each business, but we’re very fortunate to be in the wedding and event business. Why, you ask? It’s because of the lead time between when they book versus when the wedding or event will happen. Rather than investing in the new product or service, especially one that’s capital-intensive (code for significant financial investment), why not try a different approach?

Let’s say you wanted to add photo booths to your offerings (whether you’re an entertainment company, or venue, or photographer). Rather than making the up-front investment in the photo booth, why not start to sell photo booths to your weddings that are happening a year from now. If you have good success, you can buy the booths, way before those weddings happen. If you have limited success, you can either buy them, or sub-contract those events out to another vendor who does have them. Read More

A World of Aspirational Images

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As a consultant and sales trainer, I get to see a lot of websites and online ad profiles. It still amazes me at how many wedding and event pros are using the wrong images to promote their businesses. For years, I’ve been saying to use, what I call, Aspirational Images; images that show your prospective clients what the result of doing business with you looks like. When possible, make them so beautiful and emotional, that someone viewing it would want to jump into that photo and be a part of the fun, excitement, and emotion of that event.

Yet with all of my preaching (which is what it sometimes feels like), there are still countless venues that show pictures of empty banquet rooms, DJs and bands that show equipment or staff images, florists who show headless brides holding bouquets, and many others who lead with images of themselves. An aspirational image is one that the viewer can take their “mental eraser” and substitute their face for those in the photo, so they can picture themselves getting that result. We can’t get that from looking at your building, or your furniture, or your equipment… or from looking at you. Read More

I’d Rather Be Happy and Successful, Than Right

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When I speak about handling reviews I encourage you to write replies to reviews,
but write them for the other people who will be reading them, and don’t get into a he-said, she-said in public. When you have an upset customer it’s always best to keep that discussion offline, and out of email if you can. Your goal is to make your customer happy, so they’ll refer you and, if you offer more than just wedding services, maybe come back and use you again.

One of my favorite things to live by is that I’ve learned in business, and in life, that I’d rather be happy and successful, than be right. If I have to prove that I’m right, that means someone else has to be wrong. If I tell my wife that she’s wrong about something, how is that going to work out for me? If I tell a customer that they’re wrong, how is that going to work out for me? Read More

First-World Problems

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The battery on my iPhone dies faster when I wear my Apple watch. That’s a classic example of a “first-world problem”. If you’ve never heard the expression, a “first-world problem” is something that a person in a third-world (developing world) country would never say, and probably wouldn’t understand. People who are wondering if they’re going to eat today aren’t worried about having “nothing good to watch on TV tonight”.

I recently visited Mumbai, India, and I was struck by the close proximity of poverty and wealth. I travel a lot and I see both poverty and wealth – but never intermingled the way it is there. In most major cities, the poverty and wealth are separated. You can tell when you’re in a wealthy area, and you can tell when you’re not. But not in Mumbai. As you ride from one place to another, you pass 5-star hotels and extreme poverty, almost randomly. New apartment buildings rise next to ramshackle huts, protected only by tin roofs and plastic sheeting. Read More

Success Comes from Action, Not Ideas

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If you’re like me, you have more ideas than time. You may have pages and 
pages of notes from conferences, books you want to read, and videos you want to watch; now, if you could only find the time for all of it! Well, I hate to break it to you, but with all the modern technology at our fingertips, the one thing we’ll never invent or create is more time. It’s a finite commodity, and every second that passes is one that will never exist again.

OK, enough of the gloomy words. I want this article – as with most of mine – to be inspirational and to get you motivated to act. That’s the idea that prompted me to write this. Knowing that you can’t do it all is easy. Deciding to take action on some of your ideas is the important first step in achieving greater success. Success is not a product of having ideas or money. Success comes from acting on your ideas, and since you can’t do them all, it means prioritizing them so you can get started. Too many people get paralyzed trying to do too much. You end up spreading your precious time between too many things, only to complete very few (if any) of them. Read More

Just Like Starting Over

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I’m a new speaker. That’s a funny way for a Certified Speaking Professional® (CSP),
who’s been speaking professionally for years, to start an article. I’ve taken a giant leap backwards in my speaking career.  I’m a CSP, but I’m also a beginner. Some of you already know that a little over 3 years ago, I committed to becoming conversationally fluent in Spanish. I was at a conference in Mexico, and I thought that my high school Spanish would allow me to engage in basic conversation. Well, I was wrong. High school was a very long time ago, and I realize now how little Spanish I had actually learned. Read More

The Power of Our Words

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Regardless of your political leanings, a lesson we can all learn from this election year is the power of our words. People judge you, and make assumptions from the words you say and write. From your advertising and marketing, to your website and email conversations, your words have a huge impact on your bottom line. If one prospect decides to not contact you, or not return your email, because of your choice of words, what will that cost you in lost business? As with so many things in your marketing chain, if you could see that business going away, you’d pay a lot more attention to what you say, when you say it, and where you say it. Read More

Real Life versus Facebook Life

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Have you ever noticed that, for the most part, everything we see on Facebook paints a rosy picture of someone’s life and/or business? We see their best work and their personal and business successes. What happens in between the posts? What is it that they’re not showing and talking about? That folks, is called real life. Not reality TV life. Real, everyday life, like the ones you and I lead.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as guilty as you are. With rare exceptions, I post only the good stuff, too. You’ve probably seen my “#ConferenceSelfies”, where I take a selfie, from the stage, before almost every presentation. Some of you picture me jet setting around the world, living the glamorous life. Well, I am jetting around the country, and internationally, but it’s usually in a coach seat on a commercial flight. No private jet here. Now imagine how much time I spend in TSA lines, and waiting for flights. Or how about the 133 nights I spent in hotels last year. You rarely see me posting about that – although I have been known to tweet out of frustration to an airline or two. Read More

I’m a hypocrite, are you?

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Every so often, I’m guilty of buying based upon price. hypocriteThere, I said it. But, that makes me a hypocrite. I want my customers choosing me as their speaker, mastermind leader, consultant, or for a website review, not because I’m the cheapest price; rather, I want you choosing me because you feel, for that particular need, that the value you’ll get exceeds the cost. If the return on your investment, exceeds the cost of the investment, then it’s probably a good choice; however, not all ‘returns’ are the same, and not all investments are the same.

I recently shopped around for home and auto insurance. The thing is, I like my current company. They have great customer service, and, in the times we’ve had to make claims, the service has been wonderful. So, why did I shop around? I got another increase in rate, and when I looked back, I had been increased every 6 months (on the auto) and every year (on the home). I wasn’t looking to make a change. I was looking for verification that my rate was still fair. I don’t need them to have the lowest rate, when their service is so good; but, I do need them to be somewhere in the same ballpark as other, high-quality companies. Read More

Wanna Get Lucky?

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OK, get your minds out of the gutter (you know who you are) and let’s talk about luck as it pertains to your business. The Roman philosopher, Seneca, is credited with the saying “Luck Is What Happens When Preparation Meets Opportunity.” You need both of these to ‘get lucky’; however, the preparation part comes first. You have to do the work, learn the skills, invest in your success, and then, be on the lookout for opportunity.

Life is a highway
If your life path has been like mine, it hasn’t been a straight line. Far from it. Mine is a series of zigs and zags, fueled by opportunities. You’ve probably heard the expression “being in the right place, at the right time.” Well, I believe that we’re all right where we’re supposed to be, all the time. Opportunity is all around us. That’s why some businesses are succeeding, while others – in the same market and category – are faltering or failing. Whether it’s opting to pass on opportunities, or not seeing them, the result is still the same. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Read More

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