Have you ever been to Disneyland or Walt Disney World? If you have, then the sound of animatronic characters singing “It’s a Small World” is resonating in your head. Sorry, but that was my thought when I was reflecting on a great conference in Mexico where I recently presented. It was attended by people from over 70 countries; the bringing together of all of these people is what made me think of how small the world really has become. The attendees were some of the top wedding planners from their areas. Many of them have celebrity and high-profile, very affluent clients. To be invited to the conference, they had to apply and be accepted. Needless to say, I was in quite impressive company. I was pleased, but a little surprised to see so many of these top planners in my breakout session on communicating with prospects. Read More
I recently attended the Photo Booth Expo, a trade show in Las Vegas. There was a dizzying array of styles of photo booths. There were more traditional booths, reminiscent of the arcades of old. There were very small setups that would fit in a suitcase. There was even someone walking around with her remote controlled, motorized, robot-like equipment. Everywhere you looked there were colors, flashing lights, props, signs and backdrops. Sounds, music and the constant din of voices were coming at you from all angles. It was not the place to be if you wanted some peace and quiet. Read More
In my frequent travels, I find myself in need of transportation. I wonder why I’ll go on my phone and order an Uber or Lyft, instead of choosing a cab when there are often cabs right at the airport or hotel? 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.
HOW DID THEY DO IT?
What have they done to make Uber and Lyft my preference for ground transportation? They disrupted established players (taxis, limos, and car services) by making it easier to do business with them and by providing information and transparency. Being able to watch the car icon moving along the map towards me doesn’t get the car there sooner, but it makes me feel better, because I can see the process. In one click, I can call or message the driver. Whether I ever use that feature isn’t important; the fact that I can is the bigger benefit. Years ago, when toll-free phone numbers were expensive, a large consumer products company put one on their packaging, with wording that encouraged their customers to call, toll-free with questions. They didn’t get many calls, but the perception of the company, went up noticeably. Read More
Whether it’s couples shopping for their wedding, or you shopping for whatever you need, there are some websites that make us want to get comfy and look around – and others that make us rush to the BACK button. Is your website inviting, or is it chasing away the very people you’re trying to attract?
By the time they get to your website, they might already know a little about you; whether it’s from your profile on WeddingWire, social media, or a referral from another wedding/event pro. Don’t waste that foundation by doing some of the very things that make you want to leave a site – quickly!
Here are 5 reasons prospects might be leaving your website, in 5 seconds: Read More
When’s the last time you were outside your comfort zone? Last year? Last week? Today? We spend most of our time inside our comfort zones. Unless you’re an adrenaline-junkie, you can’t spend every day on the wild-side. That said, if you’re not pushing yourself, you’re putting a cap on your abilities and your success. None of us know what we’re capable of, until we try something new. It doesn’t have to be something big. You don’t have to go bungee-jumping off a bridge in New Zealand, or skydiving. For some it’s trying a new food. For others it’s learning a new skill.
Can you raise your prices?
When is the last time you raised your prices? I’ll bet it seemed a little scary, didn’t it? What if they all say, “No” to the new price? But then, when the first customer says, “Yes” to your new rate, it suddenly doesn’t feel so scary. Fear of the unknown is natural. If you’re not feeling a little uncomfortable about your new rates, they might not be high enough. A little price resistance shows you that you’re probably at a good level. As long as enough people are saying “Yes” to fill your calendar, or at least your most popular dates, then you’re probably in a good place. If everyone is saying “Yes”, without much resistance, then go higher. Read More
Understanding and measuring the Return On your Investment will help you understand your business and take it to the next level.
If you’re like many wedding and event pros, it was your creativity that brought you into the industry, not your business acumen. To be successful, you need both. Once you decide to sell products or services, you need to develop your business skills and an understanding of the many ways to measure your success.
HOW DO YOU MEASURE SUCCESS?
Any good financial advisor or consultant will tell you that it’s not what you make, it’s what you keep that matters. In the early years of your business, you should plow back much of your profits (if you have any) into growing your business. A growing business should invest 10%-15% of its anticipated sales into marketing and advertising—not 10%-15% of their actual sales; the higher sales number that they’re trying to achieve. Then, once you’ve gotten there, you can lower that percentage to maintain your sales. Read More
I was doing sales training the other day and I noticed that one of the sales reps was using the word “I” too much. I was trying to teach her to have a better digital conversation. She wanted to get the prospect on the phone, because it would be better for her to find out more about what they needed. I can’t disagree with the logic, but the reality is that if they had wanted to talk on the phone, they would have called you! So, if you hear yourself saying “Well, I’d like to schedule a time to talk with them” or “I’d like to get them in for a meeting/tour”, it’s time to pause. Read More
I was presenting at an event the other day, and I asked the group to let me know if anyone gets a new lead while we were meeting. A little while later, one gentleman told me a new lead had just come through via email. It was from a university, but a department with which he had never worked. It sounded like a referral, although they didn’t mention that in their email. As he read us all the email, it seemed as though they weren’t shopping around, rather they were checking availability and pricing.
Make their job easier
I asked what the title was of the person who sent the email, and he said she was an Executive Assistant. I suggested that, to me, it seemed as though this probably just got dropped in her lap, and the easier he makes it for her, the faster he’ll get the sale. Read More
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
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