Who’s Vision of Success Are You Living?

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As I travel from conference to conference, event to event, I often hear wedding pros talking about different speakers and well-known industry people. They often debate the success of that person; but, hang on – who are we to debate someone else’s success? Success, as with beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Each of us gets to define our success. For some, it’s a monetary value. For others, it’s quality time with family.

Choose your own benchmark
The key is that no one can really tell you if you’re successful, or not. Only you can determine that, using your own benchmark. A problem I see, all-too-often, is when I see someone trying to achieve what they perceive to be someone else’s success. It may be trying to do a certain number of weddings or events, or reaching a certain dollar value of sales. Read More

You Can Teach An Old Dog New Tricks

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I’m just getting back from another successful Wedding MBA conference, and I was reflecting on the many, many conversations I had with wedding pros, like you. A common theme was that it would be so much easier if brides and grooms would just get on the phone with you. Many wedding pros were reminiscing of the days when your phones were ringing off the hook with inquiring couples – and that’s when I popped your nostalgia bubble. In the digitally connected world we live in, while there is an occasional phone inquiry, most of your initial contact comes via email, text or a contact form.

Don’t be in a rush to change the format
The mistake that I see so many of you making is to try to change from a digital conversation, to a phone call or appointment, too quickly. Had they wanted to talk on the phone, they would have called you (or asked you to call them in their message). Had they wanted to schedule an appointment (whether in person, on the phone or virtually), they would have asked for one. I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to schedule a phone call or meeting, just don’t do it too quickly. Read More

What’s a Good ROI?

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Return On InvestmentIf you’re like many wedding and event pros, it was your creativity that brought you into the industry, not your business acumen. To have a successful business, you need both. There are lots of hobbyists who are very creative. Once you decide to sell your products or services, you need to develop your business skills and an understanding of the many ways to measure your success. Read More

What Crossword Puzzles Can Teach Us About Life and Business

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Crossword puzzles are my diversion. I do one almost every day. It’s both a brain stimulant and meditation for me. When I’m doing a puzzle my mind is focused, not wandering or multi-tasking. What’s your diversion? For some of you it’s Sudoku, or maybe a game on your phone or tablet. For others it may be yoga, or reading a book.

As my family and I live in the New York area, I get The New York Times delivered daily. I rarely get to read more than a few articles in a day, while eating breakfast, and I can get the same news on my NYTimes iPhone app. I get news alerts on my phone, so I’m up to date on the latest in world happenings. I find that reading the actual newspaper, as with reading a physical book, is a different experience than reading on a screen. Read More

The Problem Lies Between the Keyboard and the Chair

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I’m a happily married man. So, when something goes wrong, it’s always my fault. That may sound like a joke, but accepting responsibility when there’s a problem is a major step towards getting past it. Rather than trying to find blame, we try to find solutions. Chapter 15 of my new sales book is even titled “Do you want to be happy, or right?” I’ve often said that I’d rather be happy, and successful, than right. Proving to my wife (or a customer) that they’re wrong, never works out well. Read More

Can You Uber-ize Your Business?

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In my frequent travels, I find myself in need of transportation, either from the
airport, or from a hotel. I started wondering why I’ll go on my phone and order an Uber or Lyft car, instead of choosing to get a cab, when there are often cabs right at the airport or hotel? I could just walk outside and find a cab… but maybe I’ll find a line waiting for cabs; or maybe a hotel attendant will have to call me a cab. For me, it’s the convenience – and certainty – of knowing that I have a ride, and when it will arrive. It’s also the convenience of having the charge go right to my credit or debit card, without having to make that physical transaction. Read More

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

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