plain talk

excuses are like (fill in the obvious blank) …

Hello lovely event professionals!

It has certainly been a minute since my last post. I have been struggling with some personal family issues (don’t light a candle for me, all is well) and have finally been putting my “house” back in order. I’ve debated writing an honest and transparent post about it and perhaps one day, I will. The only reason I would is to let you know that I am right there with you. Personal struggles definitely affect your business and every other aspect of your life.

May I be perfectly honest? While the rest of the country seems to be on a tiny, minuscule upswing from this wretched economy, my little corner of the world has been struggling. You see, I live in an area that is kind of like a bubble. When the “coasts” and the “big cities” are feeling the impact, we don’t … until a few years later. Much like wedding trends.

Of course, every year I freak out. Will I book enough events? Will this come through? Will I get new business? It’s the same old song and dance. Life of the self-unemployed.

I’m seeing the trend of brides and grooms that WANT your fabulous services, but ask to pay 2010 prices. Perhaps they have their own budget problems. I can complain about it (more like whine, while I drink wine). But what’s the good in that? And what’s a little planning business to do?

Number One: I will admit, I’m a little behind the ever constant evolution that needs to happen when you own a creative business. See above the first paragraph for this reason. But that does not mean defeat. Just need to work a little harder.

Number Two: I will stop making excuses. Boo-hoo and all that. Done.

Number Three: I am now working hard with my team to change things up. Okay, so here are my prices … but what can I offer my clients that is so special, that our services no longer become a “want” but a “need”. I want them to lust after us.

I’ve said it a thousand times, we do not target the “luxury market”. However, many of our clients are financially wealthy. So, we are rethinking what we will do to WOW! that potential client and draw them to us. I read one of Sean Low’s blog posts recently and he mentioned that you can’t raise your prices, just to raise your prices. That resonated with me. It’s true, for what we do. (ps I will finally get to meet this business genius speaking at Backstage Bridal Pro Academy later this year. Are you coming?)

So what’s going on in your neck of the woods? Is everything a bed of roses or are you not getting inquiries? I hear the real talk, behind the social media. You aren’t fooling me with your “We are fully booked” comments.

So get off your ass and get out there. Seriously, close this blog and go do something. Right now.

I am.

happy selling!

uses for facebook is an enigma. Some people get it, some people don’t. Even after all these years.

Personally, I have found it to be a wonderful tool reconnecting with long lost friends, college pals, my third grade teacher, wedding professionals, my son’s friends, local business people and more.

For my event planning business, we of course, have business fan page. Which takes more effort to add content, but it’s a good marketing medium to be all business, event photos and showcase my clients.

However, I will tell you that I personally “friend” my clients to my personal page. This works well for me. Wedding planning is a personal business. We are let into their inner family circle with all the joys and problems that may arise. Why wouldn’t I let my clients into mine?

For instance, it’s great at a consult for them to ask about my dog (Ranger Hadley) or my son. And if I post, I’m “off the grid for family time”, my clients tend to respect it and appreciate the fact I’m making time with my family. It’s personal. Transparent. Emotionally connecting.

For sales purposes, I look up potential clients on Facebook … it lets me see what they look like and see if they know some of the same people as I do.

Be careful; you can’t fib. You can’t make an excuse to a client that you had to cancel a business meeting and then you are FB posting from the bar.

Okay, so …. some people post too much information. Rest assured, while I am “myself” (always) on FB or any other social media, I do NOT post every movement I make. That’s what twitter is for, no? HA!

While I have friends on my Facebook, make no mistake that everything I do for social media has a “business-related” mindset. To be more direct: I don’t show my ass in public.

Which brings me to what Facebook should NOT BE USED for.

  • Blabbing super personal information out for everyone to see. Okay, you went the doctor. I don’t want to hear about your yeast infection.
  • Vomiting all your deep, dark problems. Why do wedding professionals want to discuss openly about their relationship problems?
  • Attacking others. Ah, the Internets makes everyone feel 10 feet tall, no? As a professional, perhaps you should pick up the phone if you have something to say to someone. Calling people out reflects poorly on you. And will get you labeled as bat sh!t crazy.
  • Not necessarily bad, but a couple of personal pet peeves:
    • Quit asking everyone and their mother to fan your business page. People who WANT to fan your page, will FAN your damn page.
    • Please use discernment when inviting all 700+ people to your luncheon that is located in Timbuktu. Take an extra second, and focus your invite list to your local demographic. Repeat offenders will get you unfriended.

Thanks for listening. Let’s remember out their in social media … the stuff you post, would you say it out loud to someone’s face if they were standing in front of you? If so, carry ‘on.

ps Anyone else want to vent about an personal pet peeves?

happy selling!


you don’t deserve to be treated …

… rudely. E V E R.

I’m flying in an airplane right now, coming back from speaking at WedSmith a fabulous wedding conference in Utah. I’ll be highlighting that conference as well as, A Wedding Preview Event that I attended in August. I’m behind. I know.

Back to the subject …

Yesterday, while speaking I had asked the audience a question and someone had mentioned that while she was at a sales consult, her prospective client told her that her portfolio was ugly. Of course, I had an instant cheeky come-back which I gladly shared with everyone.

However this morning I could not get this scenario out of my mind. The sheer audacity of some people.

Always remember: No one has the right to speak to you rudely or suggest you feel inferior about your work, especially when it is subjective.

I don’t care if it is a prospective client, your spouse, your boss, a friend, someone you bumped into on the street or sitting next to on a plane.

As Simon T. Bailey said yesterday, “What other people think of you is not your problem”. That includes prospective clients.

Next time, if someone ever treats you like that… close your portfolio book, look them right in the eye, and say, “If you feel this way then there is no need to continue this meeting. It’s a waste of my valuable time”.

Stand up to leave and on your way out the door, be sure to cuff him really hard in the back of the head. He deserves it. You are nobody’s wedding bitch.

ps Ever had something happen like this to you? If so, please share…

Happy Selling!



where’s the sizzle?


It’s been a minute …

I’d give excuses, but I hate excuses. Also, I like to follow Scott Stratten’s philosophy on blogging. Blog when you have something to say, not to a set schedule.

So, I’ve been thinking and listening to others in the industry. The latest buzz is delivering “the experience” to your clients. What that experience entails, is for you to define. And I AGREE, with so many options for brides and reduced budgets there has to be something more for them. They have the experience and they tell 10 friends and so on. Referrals = business.

The challenge in my mind is how to sell “the experience”. You know, telling them you will “treat them like a king and queen” or “go the extra mile” or you give “110% at your weddings” (please quit saying those cliche comments) isn’t really going to cut it.

I’ve been looking at my own wedding planning company, we excel at delivering “the beef”. We’re solid, we do a good job, we make our clients laugh, we clean up their mistakes, etc. The “sizzle”, or the “experience” is something that we need to work on.

So this is what we are going to do:

  1. We’re going to revisit at our branding to ensure that we are delivering a consistent message or our USP.
  2. We’re going to look at our processes from the first phone call or email from a prospect all the way to the Monday after the bride/groom got married. Where can we add the sizzle?
  3. Then we are going to readdress the sales consult and how we can add in more of the sizzzzzz and still keep the beef.

Are you following me? Or now, are you just hungry like I am? I am hungry. I’m hungry for business!!!! Are you?

What are your strategies, what new things have you implemented? Would love to hear from you!

Happy Selling!

negotiation case studies needed!

I’ll be speaking at Eventology 2011 in three weeks on “Fearless Negotiation Skills”.


I’d love to feature some real case studies on how a potential client negotiated with you. Did it turn out well? Did you walk away? Did you make mistakes that you learned from? The good, the bad and the ugly…. I’ll take it!

You can email your story to saundra hadley. Identity will NOT BE used unless you state otherwise.

I know you wedding professionals have some doozie stories. Don’t worry, I’m sharing one of my own that did not work out.

Thank you so much in advance! The sooner the better, just hit this link and shoot me an email!

Happy Selling! and thanks!