There’s an old joke: The optimist sees the glass as half-full. The pessimist sees the glass as half-empty. The engineer sees the glass as twice as large as is needed for this application! I’m an optimist. I suppose I always have been and like most of you, I’ve had my share of things in my life to give pause to that attitude. I’m not a Pollyanna, someone who is blindly optimistic regardless of the situation or facts. I’m definitely a realist, but I also prefer to see, or seek the good. I prefer to look for solutions rather than to dwell on the problem. Complaining rarely fixes the problem by itself. We need action to do that.
Business is terrible, while business is great – huh?
I have the opportunity to interact with many, many wedding and event pros each year, both domestically and internationally. One question I like to ask is “How’s business?” It’s interesting to me to hear “Business is great” and “Business is bad” in the same market, by people in the same category and around the same price point. Some of this is reflecting how they’re doing compared to their projections. Some is due to expectations. And some is due to comparisons. One caterer might be doing 50 weddings this year and consider it a banner year. Another could be doing 50 and consider it a failure. One officiant could be getting two to three times what another charges and be filling their calendar, while the lower-priced one complains that he or she can’t close a sale.
The more things change, the more they remain the same.
I’ve been hearing this same tale of woe for the over 25 years I’ve been in this industry. One business complaining about how bad things are while another is thriving. Is it just their attitude? Are they just the glass-half-full people? No, but that doesn’t hurt. Your attitude will be transmitted to your prospects and clients, in-person, on the phone and through your digital communications. We all want to do business with people who truly want our business and are interested in giving us the positive results we desire. If they seem indifferent as to whether they get your business or not, it’s way too easy to find another option. It’s not different when you’re the customer or the supplier.
There’s more to it than pricing.
Your customers are shopping for more than just the best price. They’re shopping for the best experience. That experience starts with their first interaction with your business and brand. Your ads, your social presence, your website and yes, the way you communicate with them, all send signals – to stay or to flee. The lower price won’t work if they don’t feel confident that you’ll deliver the results they want. The lowest price only wins after they’ve determined that they’re going to get what they want and need. No one wants to overpay, but getting a better price and inferior results is not a good bargain.
How full do they see your glass?
Whether you call it the “Law of Attraction” or you’ve watched and agree with “The Secret” video, ultimately we are how we’re perceived by others. What are you projecting to your customers and prospects? Do they feel attracted to you, or repelled? We all know someone who is like a magnetic field, drawing us in with their energy. We feel good when we’re around them. We feel empowered by them. And we want to take in more of their positivity whenever we can. Conversely, we also all know people who seem to suck the life out of us (I have a feeling that right now you’re smiling and thinking of someone – not in a good way). We dread being around them because they can bring down your good moods. They find the negative in almost any situation. They can’t see the glass as half-anything because they’ll complain about the glass itself!
Hit the reset button.
I’ve said in my books, sales training and presentations that you need to hit the reset button before every call, email or meeting. The last interaction you had with a different client or colleague has nothing to do with the next one… that is, unless it went really well, and then you want to bring that positivity. Why the last customer bought, or didn’t buy, has nothing to do with the needs and wants of the next one. If you bring that baggage with you, you’re not going to be actively listening. You’re going to make incorrect assumptions (and you know what they say about when you assume, right?). If you want to know what’s going to help this customer to buy, you’re going to need to hit that reset button and start with a clean slate.
It may be the thousandth time you’ve said it…
…but it’s likely the first time they’re hearing it. If you don’t have the same conviction in your voice, and show excitement about the opportunity to work with them, they’ll find someone else who will. Remember that by the time you get a chance to communicate with them, they’ve put you on their short list of prospects. They’ve already eliminated most of your competition and they already think you’re a good fit. Prove them right by actively listening, and they’ll reward you by telling you what you need to know to make the sale. Prove them wrong by making assumptions about what they want and talking too much instead of listening, and they’ll go away, never to be heard from again.
Treat your business like a bamboo plant.
I’ve heard that it takes 5 years of watering and feeding the seeds of the bamboo plant until it breaks ground. Once it breaks ground it grows very fast (it’s a member of the Grass Family of plants). It takes a lot of patience and optimism to keep watering and feeding the plant when you can’t see it growing. It’s the same with your business. You need to be planting seeds, watering and feeding them, even when you’re not seeing any growth. Your advertising, your social presence, your networking and your sales process are like the planting, watering and feeding of the seeds. You don’t always see the results right away. But if you don’t do those things you won’t see the results at all. There’s another old saying: “When is the best time to plant a tree? 20 years ago! When is the next best time to plant a tree? Today!”
Do the work, trust the process.
My uncle, who’s going to be 90 this year, is still a life coach. I guess you get good credibility having lived that long! When my business as an independent speaker, consultant and sales trainer was in its infancy, I was pressing ahead at full speed. When I got downsized (which is how I became an independent business) I told my wife: “If I can’t look in the mirror and teach that person how to start and run a successful business, then no one should hire me to help them with their business.” And for the last 8+ years I’ve been treating myself as a client. About 18 months into my new venture my uncle told me: “You’re pushing too hard. Pull back and let it come to you.”
I reflected on his words and realized that if I had been planting the right seeds, watering and feeding them, I would start to see the results. What I had been doing was trying to force the business, trying to make something out of nothing, where no seed had been planted. When I heeded his advice, and kept watering and feeding, nurturing the relationships and platforms I had already invested in, my business increased 40% the following year! And every time since, when I felt a little desperation from a hole in my calendar or felt like I was pushing too hard, I’ve pulled back. And, lo and behold, the email inquiries came in, the phone rang and the social interactions have lead to new business. Take some time to make sure you’re nurturing the seeds you’ve been planting. Make sure you haven’t let some relationships wither and die. Go to that networking event. Check in with your industry friends. Be proactive. Follow up with your inquiries until you get a yes, or a no. And most importantly, embrace your glass. It’s as full as you want it to be!
© 2019 AlanBerg.com & Wedding Business Solutions
Do you need help filling your glass?
No matter how positive you are, sometimes we all need help filling our glass. I’ve helped businesses, just like yours take a new and more positive approach to business, which can help you and your team sell more. Here’s what just a few businesses have said after working with me:
“I took all of your advice to heart and now–I constantly remind myself of the two things I can control: my attitude & my work ethic!”- Anshwa Lewis, SwaLaRue Events, Katy, TX
“I quickly made my first sale, using his fantastic approach and attitude towards helping our customers to buy the product that they need.” – Emma Stone, GuidesforBrides.co.uk
“It was an outstanding morale booster, all attendees left feeling uplifted and with a positive attitude. I give Alan my highest endorsement as a champion trainer!” – Barb Schultz, Dir. of Operations, D’Amico Catering, Minneapolis, MN
Want to find out about having me in for a day of sales training, arranging a Mastermind Day with some of your industry friends, or having a 2-hour phone/web consultation? Contact me via email, text, use the short form on this page, or call 732.422.6362, international enquiries 001 732 422 6362
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