I was interviewed the other day by a reporter for NPR (National Public Radio) and she asked me what the closest parallel to the Coronavirus crisis would be, from my over 25 years around the wedding and events industry. I thought about all of the other crises that I’ve seen come and go, from financial crises to the 9/11 tragedy, and I couldn’t think of anything that comes close to this. For me, the biggest challenge is the uncertainty of the end. With a natural disaster (hurricane, tornado, earthquakes, floods, etc.) it’s easier to see when it’s over, and you can start recovering. Sure, some take longer than others, but you can definitely feel when you’re in the recovery phase. Also, most natural disasters are localized. The results could be devastating for the people directly affected, but other areas can only empathize with what they see on TV.
When you go to a nice restaurant for the first time, do you expect good service? Of course you do. Do you expect the food to be good? Yes, or you wouldn’t have come there. When you sat down, did you expect there would be linen on the table, silverware, glasses, salt & pepper shakers, a napkin and maybe a centerpiece of some sort? Most likely you do. And when you sit at that table, do you give any thought to how the linen arrived at the restaurant, who put it on the table, who set the table and washed the glasses? No, you don’t. You just sit down on a chair that someone placed there and proceeded with your dinner experience.
I’ve been teaching and preaching Top Down Selling for years. The basic concept is simple – find out the results that the customer wants and offer them products and services that will get them there, regardless of their budget. It’s easier to work your way down in price, taking things away, than to sell your bottom service/package/product, and then try to upsell them. In theory and in practice, this works well. Explaining it hasn’t always been as easy.
New Year’s resolutions are doomed to fail. Now, I know that isn’t my usual glass-half-full attitude, but it’s a dose of reality. A day on our calendar is not the motivation we need to change our behavior. Gyms love getting all of the new members each January. You pay for a year of membership, or your dues every month, and their clubs are packed with hopeful resolution makers. Then, by March, they’re back to their regulars who come daily or on a regular basis. My wife used to work at a Gold’s Gym, so I know this first-hand.
One of the best parts of the wedding industry is that it’s recession-resistant. Of course, the other side of that is that you need to get a new audience every year. The holidays bring many things, including the beginning of engagement season. Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day are some of the busiest days for new engagements. If that’s not a holiday gift, I don’t know what is! Read More
I’ve had a few conversations lately with wedding pros who are looking for couples who are spending more than their current customers. That’s a perfectly fine goal, that is if you’re willing to do what’s necessary to attract those customers. You can’t expect to do what you’re now doing and those higher-paying customers will miraculously appear. You have to approach this as if you were a new business because if you’re not servicing that segment of the market now, you are a new business to those other couples.
Who is your social audience? Many of us have a few different audiences for our social content: current customers, potential customers, industry contacts, family, friends, etc. Additionally, we may have many different pages and channels on which to engage with those audiences: personal pages, business pages, groups, events, etc. Before you start posting (I know it’s a little late for that for most of you) begin with which audience(s) you’re trying to reach, and then what value you’re going to provide them. If they’re not getting value from the interaction, they’re not likely to come back for more.
It’s important for every business to have a set of rules or guidelines, so everyone is singing from the same songbook. It’s important to teach those rules to your employees and for you to set a good example by practicing what you preach. That said, you make the rules and you can change them. Every rule and every policy can be amended from time to time, to reflect the current state of your business and the environment in which you operate. Read More
When you’re the customer, how do you judge whether a company, product or service has done right by you? It’s a matter of your expectations going into the encounter. Your expectations are a product of your past experiences. It’s your combined experiences with other businesses, not just in that industry, but all of your previous experiences. That means that each of us has a unique set of experiences that we use to judge our next experience. And that creates an invisible target for each business to meet or exceed.
If I ever write another sales book, this will likely be the title: “Stop Selling and Help Them Buy!” In many industries, businesses have to do a lot of cold calling and prospecting. You’d spend a lot of your time trying to identify people, and businesses, who might be interested in your business offers. While that’s true for corporate events, non-profit events and some others, the wedding industry is mostly a reactive industry. Sure, you have to advertise and market yourself so that you can be found, and that involves putting yourself out there where your target customers are looking. But, for most sales people in the wedding industry, the sales process starts when the email comes in, the social media message arrives, the contact form gets filled out or the phone rings (I know… if only!). Read More