Every so often I read a book and think “I need to have them on my podcast!” I’ve known David Newman for years through the National Speakers Association, and I just finished listening to his book “Do It! Selling”, and while his target client is different than yours, there are so many takeaways and useful ideas for you. Listen to this episode and be sure to have your pen or keyboard ready to take notes.
Whether you’re a seasoned wedding and event pro or just getting started, David drops nugget after nugget and you’re going to want to pick up a copy of his book just to the rest of them.
David Newman is the author of the business bestseller “Do It! Marketing” and his new book, “Do It! Selling.” He’s the founder of the Do It! MBA mentoring program and the host of The Selling Show, a top-rated business podcast with over 300 episodes. David helps professional services sellers land better clients, bigger deals, and higher fees.
David’s book resources and downloads – www.doitselling.com
Free 37-page PDF, The Do It! Marketing Manifesto: www.doitmarketing.com/manifesto
The Selling Show – www.doitmarketing.com/podcast
If you have any questions about anything in this, or any of my podcasts, or have a suggestion for a topic or guest, please reach out directly to me at [email protected] or visit my website Podcast.AlanBerg.com
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– Do it selling, do it marketing? You know what you should do, listen to this episode and hear my next guest. Hey, it’s Alan Berg. Welcome back to another episode of the “Wedding Business Solutions Podcast”. I am so excited to have my friend David Newman on. David, how are you today?
– Alan, a pleasure and a privilege as always to be with you.
– Well, the privilege is mine, because I just recently finished reading your book. I should say listening, thank you for reading it to me, “Do It! Selling”. And while your focus, your main audience is speakers, consultants, coaches, stuff like that, I’m listening to these 77, what’d you call it here? 77 Instant Action Ideas to Land Better Clients, Bigger Deals, and Higher Fees, going, oh my gosh, my audience is going to love this. And I actually have some copies of your book, which you were so generous to sign for me. Those of you that are listening, do not see this, I’m holding up David’s book, “Do It! Selling”. But I wanted to have you on ’cause I wanted to talk about some of these things ’cause they cross over so much. And I know you have a specific audience, I have a specific audience, but sales is sales and marketing is marketing.
– Yes, well, and professional. So my main venue is professional services. And certainly weddings and wedding professionals, that is all about professional services also. It may be more B two C than B two B, but it’s, we’re in the service industry.
– Right, and even when there are products involved, it’s still a service business.
– So if you’re dresses, and flowers, and all those things, it’s still a service business.
– So a lot of the people that you’ll come across, smaller businesses, medium businesses, and so forth, I’m sure a lot of the people you work with are solopreneurs. Right?
– Mhm, yeah.
– And that’s a lot of the wedding and event industry, is these solopreneurs. So when you have someone you’re working with who’s obviously very good at their craft, whatever their craft happens to be, what do you find are some of the things that are most common for them to be lacking in when it comes to the sales part? And we don’t have three hours.
– How long is this show, how long is this show? Just, yeah, we got three hours to knock out here. Well, this is the dilemma, right? This is the skilled professional, the talented professional, the dedicated professionals curse. And I’m sure you hear this a lot, “Alan, I love the work of my work, I just don’t like the sales part. Can we just get rid of the sales part?” And they kind of hold up sales like it’s a rat, and we’re holding it by its little tail, and it’s kind of swinging left and right. And again, “Can we just get rid of the vermin in my profession, which is the selling of the work.” And the dream, I think everyone’s dream as an entrepreneur or solopreneur is, let’s have someone else do that nasty, ugly selling stuff, and let me just do my genius. Let me do my creative work, let me have my fun, let me love on my clients and customers. And so, there’s the first problem. And I know that you solved this brilliantly in this here book. And again, for folks that are not watching us, I am holding up “Shut Up and Sell More” by my friend Alan Berg. It’s about mindset, the first shift is mindset. That our mutual friend, Sam Silverstein, put it brilliantly. “Are you willing to do what you have to do so that you get to do what you want to do?” And we all have to learn to embrace sales and selling. Now, you can learn to embrace sales and selling, or you can learn to do sales and selling your way, that is easy, effortless, comfortable, and fun. I recommend, because again, here’s the sources of all of this sales resistance and the sales yuckiness. It’s got three sources. Number one, bad salespeople. Number two, bad sales experiences that you’ve had as a prospect, and then bad sales training. So sales training originally came out of the product world, and it was product sales for product sellers. And it was old school. The salesperson had all the information. Hello, 1970s, 1980s. And the prospect had basically no information. Well, 2023 and beyond, everything with that model is now wrong. And everything with the old school sales training and all the generations of old school sales training that have come from that are also wrong. And so, I think when we talk about sales and selling, that initial impulse of yuck, or eeuw, or, “I don’t want to do that, I don’t want to be that guy. I don’t want to be that gal” is based on an outdated model from an outdated time that is no longer relevant today. No shortage of people teaching it, but I know Alan’s not teaching it, I’m not teaching it. That’s not the kind of stuff that’s going to work for you today. So number one is mindset.
– Yeah, I just had recently, I did a training for this group and somebody said, “Well, we had another trainer in, and he said, we should end our message with, ‘What do I need to do to earn your business?'”
– Oh boy.
– Thank you for reacting that way, because my reaction internally, I kept it inside, was that same thing. I’m thinking, I’ve been in that training, right? I’ve sat in that room where somebody said that, and I said, “It just feels so transactional,” right? Okay, so that was number one, number two.
– So the second thing is developing a skillset. And the skillset, and this is going to be tough. Many people have no idea how to go about doing this, but don’t worry, we’re here to fix this with you right now, you got to humanize your sales process. And as soon as I tell you the building blocks and the ingredients of what a humanized sales process looks like and sounds like, it’s based, number one, on curiosity, it’s based, number two, on empathy, It’s based, number three, on deep and persistent listening. Listening. A lot of the old school training is you got to talk your way into a sale. 2023, we all listen our way into a sale. The person who listens the most is the most curious and is the most empathetic. In other words, is the most human. Because you can take selling, oh, selling is B two B, business to business. Selling is B two C, business to consumer. Selling is neither one of those things, it is human to human, right? You are a human being, talking, interacting with, having a conversation with another human being. The source of that conversation or the premise of that conversation is, number one, helping before pitching, number two, serving before selling. So one of the mantras that I have in the “Do It! Selling” book is, imagine how successful you would be if you treated every single prospect like they were already a client? They’re already in, they already signed the contract for the catering, the flowers, the photography, whatever it is that you do, they already signed up for your venue. Now we’re in a customizing and we’re in a collaborating conversation. What would you like it to look like? What would you like it to feel like? Tell me why that’s important to you. Well, that’s interesting, I’m curious, there must be a backstory to that request. We definitely want, “The flowers have to be this way and this color.” Why, “Because my sister had an amazingly beautiful wedding, and that’s how her flowers were. And I just loved, I had a great time at that wedding. I want the exact same flowers.” Now, you and I might know the flowers is not why you had a great time at that wedding, but if you associate an awesome, amazing, fantastic wedding experience with this kind of flower, these colors, these arrangements, this placement for that prospect, trust me, it’s all about those flowers. It is all about those flowers from her sister’s wedding. So, I think we have to customize the listening to the moment and the person who’s in front of us.
– Right, so I just finished a sales training just earlier today, and I told them, I said, “It’s always person to person,” right? The beautiful thing about the wedding event industry is there’s very little cold calling, right? Right, and you have some great prospecting ideas in the “Do It! Selling” book. And as I go through them and think, okay, that’s good for my business, it’s good for your business, but most people in the wedding event industry sit back and wait for the inquiry to come in. They filled out your contact form on your website, on one of your ads, something like that. So the need is already there. So they’re talking to them about as if they’re already doing it. I say, I call, you just need to assume the sale, this is your sale to lose.
– That’s right.
– ‘Cause they said, “Not only do I need it, right, but I’ve eliminated just about everybody else that could do this except for you and a handful of other people that I’ve reached out to.” So talk to them about as if you’re already doing it. Make it conversational. We’re doing a lot of secret shopping right now, David. I’m doing a presentation in November on my results of secret shopping of wedding event professionals. And right now we’re shopping, I think 116 companies. And oh my gosh, some of the messages we get back, besides the fact that they’re three, four, five screens long, are so canned, so impersonal, so, “You’re just like anybody else.” You’re not personalizing the experience, you’re not doing this human to human thing. You’re making ’em feel like a number.
– So, okay, so let’s go to number three.
– So, mindset.
– Skillset, questioning, listening, empathizing, and then tool set, right? So many times, and so what you just said about this long mile long email, that is a sales tool. Now, unfortunately, it’s an incredibly ineffective sales tool. But imagine if you had a set of short videos. Imagine if you had a set of short PDFs. Imagine if you had a couple of different five to 10 question self-assessments, right? Imagine if you had some pre-call and post-call assignments, light, but important, assignments to engage that prospect in not just customizing what they’re buying from you, customize their buying experience so that the next touchpoint, whether that’s an email, a phone call, a text, an in-person meeting, that is now tailored based on their input. So there’s a section of the “Do It! Selling” book that I talk about involvement and engagement. That we need to do the sales process with our prospects. We can’t do the sales prospect, I’m sorry, we can’t do the sales process to our prospects, we do it with them, we don’t do it to them. So what does that mean? That means they get a little bit of pre-work. That means that they get a little bit of giving you their preferences, their likes, their dislikes. And so, now we’re getting information from them during the sales process, that sometimes you would say, “Well, I usually do that after they’ve signed the contract.” Right, and what did we just say? Start treating prospects like they’re already clients. Do some of that customization and personalization in your sales process, it’s going to do a couple things for you. Number one, the people who respond, and who respond more fully and completely and freely, they’re already going to be an A prospect. The person who doesn’t respond to your questionnaire, or your little short PDF, or your little short three minute video, they’re going to be a terrible prospect. When do you want to find out that a prospect is never going to buy from you? I like to find out early.
– So qualifying and disqualifying via these short engagement strategies. Right now, think about the person. You get on maybe the first Zoom call and you say, “Hey, Alan, did you get a chance to watch those two short videos that I sent?” And the person responds, “Oh my gosh, they were so great. I showed them to my fiance, I showed them to my mother-in-law. We’re all gathered around the computer going, ‘This is so great.’ No one else sent us these two little educational videos. I like these guys.” So number one, yes, I watched. Number two, I got the family around the computer going, “Hey, look at these videos that this company sent.” Where do you think you now stand among the competition, the other three, four people that they might be calling? They’re not sending videos, they probably didn’t even return the call. They’re probably sitting in voicemail, and here you are engaging and involving your prospect in tailoring their buying experience. So that’s the third level, is the tactical toolkit of making this a personal experience.
– You also had something in the book about making the test that you’re always going to get an A on.
– And I was just telling this to this client before, about how every time you touch a customer, you should be adding value.
– Never just be checking in, checking in adds no value. Checking in is saying, “I’m a salesperson, would you like to buy?”
– And I said, “Well, in this book,” which I’m going to send them a signed copy of, I said, “There’s a thing here about that you make the test that you get an A on.”
– So explain what that is.
– Sure, so this is called setting the buying criteria. And imagine that you’re a wedding photographer. And wedding photographers, all different price points, all different kind of websites. One photographer though has a free download that says, “10 questions to ask before hiring any photographer for your special day,” right, for your wedding. And, does the photographer do this, is there no extra hidden charges for that? Will the person show up early? Do they come up with a crew, or is it just a single shingle? Now, again, if you have a crew, right, you send three photographers to every job instead of one, then you make a big deal. It’s like, “Oh, I’m sending three photographers.” If you only send one or you’re a single shingle, right, do you get the owner right? So we can reframe this whatever way we want, right? Do you get the owner that is a 25 year seasoned photography professional, or do they hire kind of second string B players, whoever might be taking a day off from their studio photography business. So you can say, “We send three photographers,” and I’ll make that a selling point in this 10 questions. You can say, “Well, gosh, I’m the only photographer.” And we’ll make that a selling point in your 10 questions. So, think of where do your prospects make all the mistakes, where do they overspend, where do they underspend, where do they get hoodwinked, where do they get sucked into some impartial information? Or what are some of the myths, some of the sacred cows, some of the self-soothing delusions that people have? And say, “Oh, well, they’ll know to take shots of the family.” Well, maybe they do, maybe they don’t, right? Is there a pre-event assessment that goes through a very specific shot list of exactly what you want photographed, who, where, why, when, et cetera? Now, again, this doesn’t even have to be unique to you. There’s a famous story, and Alan, I think you know this story also, about Pabst the Blue Ribbon Beer. So when Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer kind of came on the scene, there was a lot of other beer out there. They made a huge deal that, “Our beer is so pure, it is filtered six separate times.” And they put this on billboards, and magazine ads, and ads everywhere. Now, what they didn’t tell you is that the US Food and Drug Administration requires every beer brewery to distill water six times. But what’s Miller going to do, right? What’s Heineken going to do? “We do that too, it’s legally required.” They owned it. The first person that said six times purified water in Pabst Blue Ribbon, so they owned purity. Did everyone else do it too, yeah, but they made a big deal of it. So what is it in your wedding business, photography business, venue business, floral business, wedding dress business, what is it that a lot of people might not know, even if it’s standard industry practice, that adds value and adds relevance to your clients? So things like things that would stand out, that would make a difference, and that would make your prospect a more educated consumer. ‘Cause they could go to one website, looks like all the other websites. Go to the second website, end up on your website. Hang on, this third website has a download. 10 questions to ask before hiring any florist for your wedding. And again, if you’re fairly new in business, I would say make it 10. If you’re a seasoned pro, I mean, I have 20. So for business coaching, business consulting, I have a download called 20 questions to ask before hiring any business consultant. And it’s like, “Oh, I never even thought of that,” right? “Oh my goodness, you mean there are companies that don’t do this?” Yes.
– “You mean there’s companies that just give you cookie cutter strategies with no coaching and no accountability,” yes. Right?
– So all of these things are setting the buying criteria, if you become known as the trusted resource that is the consumer reports of your industry, you get an A on that test because you tick all the boxes, guess who they’re going to hire?
– Yeah, one phrase that I love out of the book, “The best of the best invest.”
– And it’s… Well, you talk about how a lot of people will consume a lot of your free stuff, and they’re never going to be your customer.
– And it got me thinking about a lot of the social media stuff people do, and people are liking what you do, and all kinds of stuff like that. I have a mailing list with six, 7,000 people on it, and I know that most of those people will never buy anything. I had somebody the other day posted a wonderful Google review for me where he said, “Alan Berg is giving away free sales,” or something like that. And then it went on to say, he actually wrote, “Now that I have your attention, let me tell you.” And talking about how the podcast is free, I don’t have any ads on my podcast, and I’m just giving away free money, he said. Oh, that’s what I think he said, “Alan Berg is giving away free money,” or something like that. Now, this person might have just come to the podcast, I don’t know. Thank you if you’re listening, by the way. Might buy a book one day, might hire me for consulting one day, might come and see me speak one day, might hire me for, I don’t know, right, I don’t know. You have a podcast, over 300 episodes on the podcast, you don’t know who’s listening, right? You can’t see them, you don’t know. Some of those people are going to do business with you, but most of them, probably never. But they’re still going to listen, they’re still going to consume, they’re still going to do that. So, “The best of the best invest.” Now, that’s for the people listening to this as well, that’s for you and your own business. But when you wrote it in the book, tell me what you were talking about in there.
– Sure, so the best of the best are the ones who invest. Is there are people who are coming to you from a place of need, right? They’re needy. There’s things in their world that’s missing, funky, broken, and sad. Then there are people who are coming to you because they want what you do. They don’t need what you do, but they want what you do. And I learned this, I think I put this in the book, although maybe I didn’t. This came from a live session that I had with Peter Block. Peter Block wrote a book called “Flawless Consulting”. He’s kind of the Yoda of the professional consulting industry. I saw him in December of 2016 at the Institute of Management Consultants annual conference. And he’s doing this pre-conference workshop. And everyone’s revering this guy, he’s a legend. And he gets up, and he’s a sweet guy. He’s probably in his late 70s, early 80s, and he has a little twinkle in his eye. And he said, “Let me start off by telling you about my career.” And this could have been some 20 minute bloviated thing, but it wasn’t. He said, “I’ve basically spent my career charging a ridiculous amount of money to really smart, really capable companies that didn’t need my advice.” Full stop, scan the room, little twinkle in the eye, little smile. And we’re like, “Oh, they wanted your advice. They did not need your advice, they wanted your advice.” So this is about going after the top of the market. Don’t be the bargain basement photographer. Don’t be the bargain basement caterer. Don’t be the bargain basement venue. The money is in the premium market, right, the top of the market. The people that get it, that need it, that want it. And there’s a sense of urgency, there’s a sense of exclusivity, there’s a sense of excitement about hiring the best, whatever the best means in your industry or in your particular geographic location. I don’t want a caterer, I want the best caterer in the Philadelphia area. I don’t want the best florist, I want the best wedding florist in the Seattle metro area. So it’s the people who want to work with the best that are expecting. So we talk about premium pricing, and I’m sure, Alan, you have all kinds of crazy people in the wedding industry that are undercharging and wrong charging.
– “But Alan, I can’t raise my prices, they won’t pay the prices I’m currently charging.” Of course they’re not, because you’re talking to the wrong people, you’re talking to the wrong people. The moment you start talking to the right people, I want you to think about this, think about, it’s a year after the wedding, it’s a year after the wedding. And the groom and the best man are playing golf. Since the wedding, the best man also got married, and they’re comparing their wedding. “My cater, you know what the catering bill was? The catering bill was $45,000.” You know what the other one says? “45K, you got off easy, mine was 55K.” They’re bragging about how much they spent, because how much they spent is how much they love their partner. How successful they are, what their self-image is. “You spent 45K, ah, come on, you’re a loser, I spent 55K.” No one is going to brag to their friend on the golf course how cheap the catering was. They’re going to brag about how much they spent, how awesome it was, how they had the filet mignon for everybody, et cetera, et cetera.
– Well, they’re going to brag about–
– You can literally put yourself in that conversation, and then check yourself when you’re thinking about cutting your prices.
– And if they’re bragging about how cheap it was, that’s not the customer you want.
– Exactly, oh my God, yes.
– Right, ’cause the middle of the wedding market is where most people are. It’s like with typical markets, you don’t want the people at the bottom, they’re not spending money.
– The very, very, very top, most people in our industry, you’re not going to do business with. Those are the Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez weddings, and stuff like that.
– There are people that are going to get those, there are not as many of those to go around. But in every market there are people spending money. And let’s see, I believe it’ll come out after our episode here, but I just had somebody on, if it was just before, maybe just after, talking about pricing. And here’s a guy in Idaho, DJ that was getting about a thousand dollars, and now gets five figures, right? Partly because he went viral on TikTok, but he was already on track to be getting 5,000 from a thousand in Boise, Idaho.
– Right, and there are people in Dallas who say, “I can’t get 5,000 for a DJ.” There are people in Chicago say, “I can’t get 5,000,” and he’s doing it there. Now, is everybody in Boise going to get that, no, no, but he will, somebody will. And it’s the same thing with our industry. I mean, ’cause we go to speaker conferences, we were just at National Speakers Association, and they’re at same thing. People, they’re undercharging, I don’t know if anybody’s overcharging, but well, maybe. But there are people there that are undercharging, right. And you look around and you say… Well, actually, I remember Patrick Henry, mutual friend of ours as well. I remember Patrick and I walking in Washington DC. I got him a gig speaking in our industry. And we were there with our wives walking down the street. And the wives are talking to each other, Patrick and I are talking. And they’re going, “Oh, do you think we can ever get this much?” And I’m like, “I don’t know. My industry, oh, they don’t pay like that or whatever.” And now I get probably 60% more than that. More than that could I ever get number, right?
– It’s 60, 70% more than that.
– And again, comes down to mindset, comes down to value. When you’re working with your clients, these solopreneurs, these service industry people, did they find it hard to place a value, to place a price on what they do?
– They find it hard to place an accurate price on what its due.
– Right, that’s what I mean, that’s what I mean.
– So, yes, because I think it’s a combination of things. And part of this is doing a competitive scan, right? So sometimes we price in a vacuum, and it’s like, eh, it’s $500. I’m just going to pretend it’s something for $500. You’re unaware that there are people charging $20,000, and there’s also people charging $100, and you are very, very near the bottom of the range. So when we have them do this competitive scan, they say, “You know what, I’ve been selling a Lexus level service for the price of a Yugo.” And kids, if you don’t know what a Yugo is, look it up, it’s on Wikipedia. It’s this little cheap ass car from Yugoslavia that was the cheapest car ever sold in America.
– I sold them.
– I was in a dealership that took the Yugo franchise. I wanted them to buy a used car so badly, to not buy this new Yugo, ’cause I knew it was coming back on a tow truck.
– Nice, exactly.
– So as far as, let’s use the car world pricing. There are people that are pricing themselves as Yugo’s. There are people that are pricing themselves as a mid-range Toyota. I’m not saying everyone needs to be Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bentley. I’m saying you need to be a nice entry level Lexus. You need to be a nice entry level Lexus. So above the median, right? And then depending on your positioning, depending on your actual service, depending on your reputation, right, Lexus plus. Lexus, BMW, maybe you go a little bit higher end. So this is not, if you look around your neighborhood, most neighborhoods, most middle class neighborhoods, there’s a lot of Fords, a lot of Chevys. And oh look, there’s a nice BMW, there’s a nice Lexus, there’s a couple Teslas, okay. So people can afford this. When I say the best of the best are the ones who are going to invest. We’re talking Lexus, BMW, that range. We’re not talking astronomical Ben Affleck wedding flowers. We’re really talking about know the value, know the competitive landscape. And just like your guy that’s moving from 1000 to 10,000, or even 1000 to 5,000, know the field that you’re playing in. Because if you’re too cheap, it’s going to affect your positioning, right? Your pricing is one of the number one things that affects your positioning. So if you underprice, the client thinks it’s also going to be a disaster.
– Right, and this is, again, in our industry, it’s something, I try to get people to look at their inventory, right? You’re working with consultants, there’s only so many clients you can work with.
– And if you’re going to give them the high level of service, right, add the amount of time. And that’s the thing that people undervalue, I think, a lot, is how much time they spent.
– Oh my gosh.
– They’d be better off flipping burgers at McDonald’s, right?
– Somebody actually said that to me the other day. They said, “I didn’t want to figure out how much time I was actually spending on a client because I know I’d be getting minimum wage if I do that.”
– So one of the things I tell people to look at is, do you know what your inventory is? So how many customers can you deal with? And then are you pricing yourself that if I deal with this many customers, I’m making the kind of money that I want to make because I’m providing the kind of value that I want to do. And you go down to the low end, you got to work with a whole lot more customers to get to your number.
– I started my business in 2011, ’cause I got downsized. And best thing that ever happened to me, the proverbial best thing. And I did exactly what you said, I didn’t know what to charge. ‘Cause as a salaried employee before, I had been providing these consultant and doing website reviews for free for my clients because they were clients, right, of the big company. Now I’m like, “I don’t know what to charge for this.” So I looked around and I found people charging very little. So I charged what I thought was a lot more, what I thought was a lot more. Three times more than other people were charging because they were charging bupkis. That’s an official term. David knows what that number is, bupkis.
– And my first full year in business, I looked at the top line and said, “Wow, that’s pretty good for my first full year.” And then I looked at the bottom line and go, “Wow, that sucks, what happened to all that money?” Well, I was paying my own travel now, my own internet now, my own phone now, my own things, which as a employee I wasn’t paying.
– And I started raising and raising, and my rate now is, what is it? Five times, six times maybe what it was in 2012, right?
– And about to go up again. Because, like you said, the best of the best invest. The companies that I enjoy working with are high performing companies that know they can be better. Not remedial help, where one foot’s in the grave before you do that.
– Yes, I would love to help anybody, but do you have the money, and time, and effort, and resources to invest, to do what I’m going to tell you to do? I’m sure you have this with people, you’re like, “Yeah, you can barely afford to pay me. How are you going to spend any money to do what you need to do with that?”
– Right, absolutely. The other exercise that I think would be helpful for people is to really think about a monthly number. ‘Cause as you said, we don’t need hundreds of clients. No one in the wedding industry needs hundreds and hundreds of clients, right? And depending on the business that you’re in, four clients, 20 clients, 30 clients max, right? That’s typically what would look really good for people. So let’s say that we’re doing some kind of super duper high-end catering, and let’s say that the average job is, I don’t know, pick a number, right, $10,000. Let’s say your profit margin on that is going to be 30%, so you’re making 3000, the cost is 7,000, et cetera. If you want to have a business that gives you three, I’m sorry, $12,000 of profit per month, right? Four times three. So you’re making $144,000 of take home pay. I want you to look at your calendar, look at your calendar and say, “Okay, for the next 30 days, how many jobs do I have? Okay, so this one I sold for 10, this one I sold for 10. That all looks good. Ooh, this one I sold for five. And so, I just cut my profit margin in half. So now I’m making 1500 on that day instead of the 3000 that I want to make.” A lot of people would say, “Hey, you know what, that day is going to pass anyway. If I can’t find a full fee client for 10K, let me take this little pisher wedding for 5K. Pisher, another technical term.
– Technical term.
– So you’re thinking, “Hey, I’m $1,500 profit ahead.” I’m saying no, because each day has economic value to you, so you’re actually $1,500 behind your plan, and you’re not going to hit your goal ’cause now you have to make up that $1,500 profit someplace else. You’ll need a fifth gig that month or a sixth gig that month, and this is how we dig ourselves into this lack of profitability hole, is we don’t realize that we have a financial model. That if we start to cut our fees for no reason, we start to take low ball deals that come our way, we’re actually sabotaging our own economic model of how to make the money that we want to make.
– Yeah, I did an episode about one of your better off just leaving the lights off, right?
– The value of your time, the value of what else you could do with that. I also talk about, so you don’t have this one yet, but I have a new book called “Stop Selling and Help Them Buy: Weddings and Events”.
– And the subtitle is for people who love doing events more than selling them.
– Which is exactly what we’re talking about. It was originally going to be a book for people who hate to sell. And I said, “Well, I don’t want to make it for people who hate to sell.” But it’s not your favorite part, your favorite part is why you got into any industry, you love helping people with, fill in the blank.
– And that could be consulting, speaking, that could be photography, flowers, jewelry, whatever it is.
– And I talk about, look at your actual inventory, right? We know that the wedding and event industry has seasonality. We know there are more popular months. I was just working with a company in Vegas, we’re recording this in August, not so busy in August than Vegas, when it’s 114 degrees outside, okay? But they’re slamming in February, when New Jersey weddings in February are not happening, right? It’s just not happening yet. So if you look at it and say, “How many customers do I want to work with that I can give ’em the level of service?” When I say to somebody, “What’s your inventory? How many weddings do you want to do next year?” And they go, “Well, as many as possible.” I go, “Eh, that’s the wrong answer. ‘Cause you don’t know supply and demand. Your supply and demand is, I know that October busiest wedding month in every city. Doesn’t matter cold weather, warm weather, doesn’t matter. October is the busiest month. You got four Saturdays, five if we get lucky in a year, but you got four Saturdays, that is A+, right? There’s no reason to take a small job on that day. Now, there are some people listening that will do a hundred weddings a year, some of them 200 weddings a year, right?
– They’re more the outliers. Most people are more in that 30, 50. some people a hundred, ’cause you’re going to do Friday, Saturdays, or Friday, Saturday, Sunday. But even think about that, if you want to get to a hundred weddings, and season is, let’s say New Jersey, it’s May to October, or Pennsylvania where you are, May to October. Right, so May, June, July, August, September, October, you have six months to try to get to a hundred, okay? Let’s divide that out, right? Now, how many Saturdays, how many weekends do we have within there? You’re working your ass off.
– From May to October, right? You might get lucky, and you might get a few outliers, you might get some Aprils, and Marches, and whatever. But reality is there’s about 22 to 25 dates that are A+ dates, that are just going to book. I have some clients, that’s all they want to do. I am just going to book the most popular ones. I can charge more when my inventory is less.
– And just like that DJ in Idaho who, listen, he has to do less gigs at his price than you have to do at a fraction of that price.
– That’s right.
– So thinking about this in terms of, how do I set my price? I tell people know what others charge, but don’t charge based upon their value.
– Charge based upon your own value, because they’re not going to get their results, they’re going to get your results if they hire you. And if they want your results, they have to hire you. Whether it’s David Newman, Alan Berger, anybody, they have to do that. So we could definitely talk forever. Gimme a last thought thing for people listening. We have, again, we have solopreneurs, we have some people that are doing it still part-time. We have full-timers for 20, 30 years that are listening in as well. What would be the tip? You work with people of all these ranges as well.
– What would be your best David Newman tip besides buy “Do It! Selling” and “Do It! Marketing”, and well, “Do It! Speaking”, but that’s another thing.
– Right, I would say that the most important thing to focus on is to humanize your sales process, humanize your sales philosophy. And a lot of times we pay lip service, especially in the wedding industry. Every client is magical. This is your once in a lifetime. This is a once in a lifetime special magical day that we’re planning for, and then you treat them like they’re in a factory.
– So look at all of the amazing marketing and messaging on your website and on all your promotional material, all the emails that you send out, and make that more true. Make that more personal, make that more custom, make that more special. Make that vibrate on a higher frequency so people truly feel that you have care, and concern, and empathy, and love, I’m going to bring the L word into it, love into the work that you’re doing for their day that is all based on love. So literally, you have to walk the talk more than you’re doing it now. And one of the easiest ways to do that is to treat prospects like they’re already in the family. And your job is to be serving before selling, and helping before pitching. And you’ll sell more, you will sell more at higher fees, and you’ll sell more much more easily than you have in the past.
– That’s great, thank you. And I did an episode on this. If you can’t walk a mile in their shoes, at least take a few steps. When’s the last time you actually read the words on your website? When’s the last time you clicked on the links that they have to. I just pointed out to a client of mine, I said, “You’re changing to selling this way, packages instead of whatever. But yet on your website it still says this, and this still says this.” And then I was looking, ’cause we’re secret shopping and I started clicking on the links that were in some of these. It was, they linked me to a document, but the document had links. I click on the links and guess what, they don’t go where they’re supposed to go. I said, “Let’s go through their feel.” ‘Cause what happens when you get a broken link, you feel bad about the company, right?
– You don’t care enough to have your links work, right, that’s where you start thinking about that. So, David, thank you so much for joining me. In the show notes, we’re going to have how to connect with David. But again, I believe, “Do It! Selling”, even though it’s geared towards David’s core audience, there is so many nuggets in there, that’s why I had to have you on here. So many nuggets in there that apply to our industry that you can just read between the lines on that. I think everybody should read it. I listened to it, it’s actually David reading the book to you there. And I love David. I’d have to slow you down though, David. ’cause I normally read at 1.4 speed, and I couldn’t listen to you at 1.4.
– Yeah, ’cause you already, listen, you’re in Pennsylvania, you already speak a little faster, so that’s what we do.
– Very nice, did I make it to 1.2?
– Oh yeah, 1.2 we did.
– Okay, that’s important.
– 1.2 I was able to do, but a little faster than that, I was like, “No, David, that’s good, but it’s good there. And I’m actually in the process of listening to it a second time because you just don’t get everything the first time there. And I can’t use a highlighter on an audio book, so.
– Right, well, thank you so much. That is high praise coming from the master himself.
– I appreciate that. Go to the show notes, follow David. Thank you for having me on. Thank you for coming on, I should say. And thanks for listening.
I’m Alan Berg. Thanks for listening. If you have any questions about this or if you’d like to suggest other topics for “The Wedding Business Solutions Podcast” please let me know. My email is [email protected]. Look forward to seeing you on the next episode. Thanks.
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