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Sell It Before You Buy It

By March 15, 2017 No Comments

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.

Do the math
It comes down to the return on investment. Figure out how many sales you need to cover the investment (and this isn’t just about photo booths, this goes for any investment). If, for example, you’re thinking about getting up-lights, how many times do you need to sell them to pay for the cost of buying them, also figuring in any cost of operating them? Let’s say you need to sell them ten times to recoup your cost. If, between now and those weddings happening next year, you’re able to sell them at least ten times, then they’re already paid for before you even get them. If you only sell them three times, either sub-contract them out or figure out why they’re not selling.

Does this work for major investments?
You can apply the same logic to other investments, such as getting a larger space. For example, if you’re a floral designer, and you’re thinking you might need a larger prep space, first sell those additional weddings and events. Then, before next year when those events happen, get the larger space. If you’ll only need larger space for a few events, maybe you can sublet space as needed, only for those times (so you’re not paying that overhead all the time). With something like real estate, give yourself enough lead time, as it’s harder to find a warehouse than to buy the new cooler.

But all the cool kids have it
Too many wedding pros have things sitting on their shelves collecting dust instead of creating revenue. I know how you get caught up in the moment at the trade shows. It’s exciting to get the new, shiny object… that is, until you find out that no one wants it for their event. It’s also tempting to look at what others are doing and jump in, head-first, before doing a reality-check.

I had a DJ call me and ask if I thought he should buy flat screen TVs. I asked why he was considering it. He said that all his competitors had them. I said, “OK, but why are YOU considering them?” He reiterated that his competitors had them. I asked if his customers were asking for them. He said no. Then I asked if he needed two for this weekend, could he get them. He said, yes; so, I told him not to buy them… yet. I suggested that he start offering them, and if his customers are buying them for their weddings and parties in the future, then he can consider buying them. If he doesn’t do well selling them, then he can rent them for the events where he needs them.

Will this work for everyone?
This thought process can be applied to many investments, but the more lead-time you have, the easier it is to implement. If your time from sale to event is only days, weeks, or a few months, it might be harder to get the equipment, become proficient with it, and use it effectively for your clients. If you can rent the equipment as needed, and let the maintenance be someone else’s problem, that too might be viable option. You could also end up with the latest technology, every time you need it, instead of aging technology that you own. For instance, if you occasionally need a larger truck, you can rent one, instead of having one that’s too large for your everyday needs.

Remember that anything you offer, you need to be able to do well. You wouldn’t want someone learning it on your event, and neither do they.


If you need help deciding what the right step is for you, I’ve worked with businesses both virtually (phone/internet) as well as on-site at venues, bridal salons, entertainment companies, and more. Through in-person sales training, virtual consultations & website reviews and mastermind groups, I can help you stand out in your market, no matter how crowded it already is.

Here’s what others have said after spending the day with me:

“I have been applying your methods to my sales, since our meeting with you, and my booking ratio has gone up substantially. Thanks to you.”
Danny Gee, Elite Sound Entertainment, Saddle Brook, New Jersey

“Alan came to one of our venues and ran a day-long sales training course for 15 of our account reps. All I can say is “Wow.” Best training class ever. I expect we will have an ROI within the next month.”
Jeff Miller, JAM Catering, Philadelphia, PA

“HOLY COW! Alan rocked my world. After following the plan he set for my sales team and I, we have had our best month in business and it’s only January!”
Ashley Backs, Hello Lovely Hair & Makeup, Liberty, KS

To find out how I can help you, fill out the short form on this page, call or contact me today, 732.422.6362, international enquiries 001 732 422 6362

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