sales

what does your signature say about you?

No, I’m not referring to your “signed signature”, although I have to say mine is pretty awesome. I was sure I was going to be famous one day so I spent A LOT of time at a previous incredibly boring job, perfecting my flare.

I’m talking about your email signature or siggyHave you looked at yours lately? What information do you have there?

It shocks me how many wedding professionals still have an email address like: awesomephotographer@gmail.com

Really?

It’s not that hard to get a domain name, host a website and then have a hosted email that would look like: firstname@awesomephotographer.com

Please… you want to be professional? Then look professional! Everything you do online will reflect what you are as a store front, whether you have one or not.

Then comes all the extra stuff after your name in an email. Your title, phone number, address and then the LOOK AT ME accolades. I know we all have it.

Here is mine for my event planning company:

saundra hadley
event engineer & owner for:
planning…forever events
………………………………………………..

DIGITS:  812.455.6836
HOURS: Tues-Fri 9 AM to 6 PM
Sat by appointment only
Sun-Mon CLOSED

………………………………………………..

Now I purposely don’t put my snail mail address on my email … as we schedule by appointments only and I don’t want someone to show up unexpected.

Don’t miss the opportunity to promote your website, twitter, facebook and more. Some people will click on it and some may not … doesn’t matter.

And … don’t forget how important it is to put what days you are open and your work hours. Unless you prefer being at your client’s beckon call at all hours of the day.

Be professional. It’s easy to get your domain name for your email address. I use GoDaddy but there are lots of other ISP’s to use. It’s affordable. And a must.

ps There is still time to hone your sales skills at the St. Louis Get Real Sales Workshop on Monday, December 5th. It’s affordable, fun and informative. Click on the link to find out more!

happy selling!

a sales lesson in the dressing room…

I visited one of my favorite stores, Marshall’s the other day. I was in need of a few things and of course, ended up in the dressing room with SEVEN items to try on. I’m a girl. What do you expect?

Our local store has been in renovation for the past few months. With everything re-done, the store looks wonderful. Especially the dressing rooms! New stalls with fancy doors and the lighting is superb. What caught my eye though, made me stop and say “hmmmmm”.

Women know that when we start trying on a lot of clothes we start to divide them into groups in the dressing area. What we are going to buy, what we may be on the fence about and what we are not going to purchase.

Marshall’s in their infinite-always-selling-strategy, installed these cute little signs in various places inside the dressing room stall, to help you organize your clothes.

The first sign, “definitely” is what I noticed initially. I thought to myself, “How handy of them to think of this…” and placed my soon-to-be-purchased-new Levi’s on that hook. That’s when I started doing some investigation around the dressing room.

The second sign, “possibly” was another great idea. Makes sense, right? Because sometimes you aren’t sure about your purchase. It’s not a yes, nor is it a no. You might have to try it on again. Which is exactly what I did with a pair of Express pants.

The last sign is what stopped me in my tracks. “tomorrow”. I didn’t see a sign that said, “No.” or “Not Buying”. I saw something that gave me a little hope, that I may go home, kick myself for not buying that new shirt and come back tomorrow for the purchase.

See how subliminal the selling message is? If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a 100x. Selling is a mind thing. Creating desire and filling the need.

Do you view your potential clients like that? Or do you get down and let the negative, creepy thoughts that multiply quickly into your brain when you haven’t closed the sale immediately?

Always have a little hope. Sometimes the “no” sale might be made today, but “tomorrow” it might be turned into a “yes”.

ps I loved the fact they used all lower case on the signs. That means nothing to you, except it made me happy.

pss I did not purchase the Express pants.

happy selling!

no. the customer is NOT always right.

I’ve been mulling over this post in my head for months now, finally getting it typed out. Just when I was about to hit post I came across this fabulous post by Lara McCulloch-Carter (aka @ready2spark) regarding the similar topic. I’ve followed Lara for YEARS and she is brilliant. And in her particular post there is an awesome, must-see video.

You’ve heard the cliche, “the customer is always right”. I’ve never really liked that saying. Of course, customer service is critical to any business and going above and beyond solidifies yourself among your competitors.

However, having a spine like a jelly fish (do they have spines?), will not help you or your client.

This is why.

Clients make demands or requests based on their needs or wants. It is our responsibility to educate our clients as to why their need or want is not feasible based on our experience. You will do yourself no favors by making promises or agreeing to ideas that you cannot deliver.

Example: You’re a photographer that is a “fast shooter”. At the client consult they are running down their rough timeline and they are literally giving you 45 minutes to shoot: the whole family (both sides), entire wedding party (all 16 of them) and then bride and groom photos.

I don’t care how experienced you are, you know that you need more time. You can’t make more minutes in an hour, nor can you expect 30 people to respond quickly like robots at a wedding to be able to get the 100 portrait requests.

Do yourself a favor and let them know this information up front. Their expectations will not be met by you, nor any other photographer. Something will give and it will probably be less photos shot. Which they won’t know until after the wedding. And they will not be happy.

Remember though, don’t come from a place of “no”. Instead offer up some suggestions and alternatives for them to consider. You’ll appear firm, knowledgable and have the ability to generate new ideas.

ps I had to google if jelly fish do actually have a spine. Alas, they do not, says cha cha. But you get the point.

happy selling!

business tips from Charlie Sheen…

 

You should all know that Charlie Sheen is my new homeboy. Ok, I know that some of you are thinking:

“Saundra, have you lost your mind?”

“I’m so sick of seeing this guy on TV.”

“Poor Charlie, I feel sorry for him and his addiction. How can you make fun of him?”

I’ll address each one of those points. 1. No, I have not lost my mind, in fact I have learned a great deal from Charlie as you will see below. 2. I understand. But it has increased my mood tremendously as the gas prices skyrocket and the Middle East is collapsing. 3. I do not feel sorry for Charlie, one bit. His over-privileged and indulgent lifestyle has led him to having only one-brain cell left. He is loving this attention and he shall have it. I only feel sorry for: his kids and the people on the TV show who are now unemployed.

Now, there is always an opportunity to learn. Right?

This is what Charlie Sheen has taught me:

  1. You really aren’t a rockstar. It’s great to be pumped up and feel good about yourself. And we all have some rockstar moments. But let’s keep things real and remind yourself that you are not the most important person in the room. Or in the world.
  2. Relationships are everything. Charlie believes that we (everyone in the world BUT him) cannot “process him with a normal brain”. When running your own business you definitely need help. And of course the ability for other people to “understand you” is a plus as well. Charlie is all alone. He’s ostracized his team (cast members and production team of Two and a Half Men), his publicist quit, who knows how his personal relationship is with family or his ex-wives. Well, he does have the “two goddesses” that live with him, but when the cocaine dries up so will they. Back to the point: you know it takes a team of professionals to pull off a great event and peers to help you when you need it.
  3. Incoherent blabbering is not sellable. Really Charlie, you should have listened to my advice and embraced more silence during your interview. From what I can tell, he babbled like a brook and said nothing of real substance. Don’t do that with your clients or at sales consults.
  4. Airing your dirty laundry doesn’t make  you “real”, in many cases, it proves you are crazy. Hmph. Don’t need to add much here. Although a few Facebook statuses that I recently read from other vendors do come to mind….
  5. Perception becomes reality. If Charlie ever pulls through this, can any of us look at him again (in movies or on TV) without thinking of this interview and crazy lifestyle? It was okay when it was “just reported” that he was wrecking a hotel room on drugs and hookers. But now, to have him blatantly in our faces exposing himself with all kinds of crazy … it is permanently etched into my brain. (Again, thanks Charlie for the smiles.) So I ask you… have you acted crazy in your professional life? YELLED at other vendors instead of managing the conflict? Acted overly dramatic towards a situation? Managed a situation poorly? Everyone that saw you do this…. it’s etched in their brains forever as well.
  6. Don’t envy those that are at the TOP of their game. And Charlie was at the top! “Most highly paid actor and top-rated sitcom in the country.” People dream of having an opportunity for that type of fame and money. But when you aren’t grounded inside, when you don’t have the attitude and love for yourself… it can quickly fall. Don’t be envious of other peer professionals that are doing well or who are on an industry TV show or received exposure in print media. You never know what is going on with them behind closed doors. Just sayin’.

Charlie Sheen, you are special. And I hope that you will especially get some help. Thanks again for the inspiration!

Happy Selling!

10 things that your potential clients won’t tell you…

You’ve spent a lot of time and energy honing your consultation presentation. You’ve read the sales books, received feedback, read this sales blog and many others.

But have you ever wanted to know what the bride and groom REALLY think after your consult? I know, because I’ve asked!!!

Here are some REAL ISSUES that bother your potential clients, but they don’t have the guts to tell you. This is from their perspective:

  1. You talked TOO MUCH. You talked about every bride and groom you’ve ever worked with before us. That’s all fine and dandy but we want to talk about OUR wedding.
  2. You didn’t LISTEN. We have very unique ideas about how we want our wedding to unfold, but you kept talking about how you “usually” run the wedding reception. We want it different and you didn’t even listen or give suggestions.
  3. You BUGGED the hell out of us. We don’t need an email, phone call or text every single day after we meet. It’s annoying. We know you are busy, BUT SO ARE WE. Are you that desperate for business? Cause that is what it feels like.
  4. You were UNORGANIZED. Sorry but the papers everywhere and scattered notes during our consult looked weird. Even though we talked about our wedding on the phone for 45 minutes, you acted as though we had never spoke. Were you not paying attention the first time?
  5. It was all about YOU. You named dropped like 15 times during the consult. We don’t care that you did the mayor’s daughter’s wedding 5 years ago. You talked about who knows YOU, and how YOU did this or wrote this article. We just want a spectacular wedding and we already prequalified you by looking at your website. Let’s talk more about US.
  6. You IGNORED one of us. Listen, this is OUR day…that’s why we came to the consult together. Don’t just stare at my bride and ignore me like I’m not in the room. I know, as a guy, I don’t know much about flowers, but I don’t want to feel invisible.
  7. You BAD MOUTHED other vendors. I bet you didn’t know that the caterer you just bad mouthed is my Maid of Honor’s cousin. If you think putting others down elevates yourself, you are so wrong. You just looked petty and small.
  8. You were too PUSHY. We have just started the process of planning our wedding and we feel it is important to meet with more than one vendor in each category. Any vendors that are prodding us to sign immediately will get put on the back burner. Because if we wanted to sign, we would of told you.
  9. Your proposal was NOT PROFESSIONAL. You were really nice and appeared to be have everything together, but the quote you gave us was so unprofessional. Your services will be the largest investment of our wedding and receiving an estimate of costs in a paragraph form through email is not helpful to us.
  10. You seemed DISINTERESTED. I’m sure that we are like your 5,000th potential client meeting. But this is a day that is really important to us for both emotional and financial reasons. You seemed like you were just going through the motions of the consult and honestly, came across a little burnt out. We’ve decided to go with the less experienced vendor, because at least she was really enthusiastic about our wedding.

I hope this helps you to think about what you are projecting at your consults. What are your thoughts?

happy selling!

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