speaking at project: INNOVATE in syndey, australia !

The secret is out! I’ll be speaking at project: INNOVATE in beautiful Sydney, Australia on September 11, 2012! The producers of this one-of-a-kind event have been working together for months and I am personally thrilled to be able to attend and be asked to speak on “Selling for Wedding Professionals”.

First, I’ve had a mad blog crush on Polka Dot Bride for about five years. What’s not to love about this lovely Australian? Then I was introduced to Girl Friday Weddings and Sarah has been wonderful to work with. I could listen to her on Skype for hours (I know, totally cliche about the Aussie accent, but she also is pretty darn funny).

What these two business entities have done, is take it upon themselves to boost the professional environment of the event industry in your area to: educate, participate and colloborate. I hope if you live near Sydney, that you will take a moment to stop and learn more about this event. And of course, book your ticket.

Like a good online-dating profile, you should know two things about me:

  1. Coming to Australia has been on my “bucket list” since I was about 16 years old. And this was several years before the movie, “Crocodile Dundee” came out. On behalf of all Americans, I would like to apologize for that movie and any sequel afterwards. Nope, it wasn’t that. I was simply enamored with your beautiful country.
  2. I didn’t know that so many people liked me until I told them I would be traveling to Australia … apparently, I have a lot of “friends” who would love to simply carry my luggage.

For fun, I thought I’d do some research regarding popular slang terms that Australians use. Try to bridge the gap, if you will. I turned to Google (where all answers to questions in life are found) and stumbled across a web page of Dictionary of Australian Slang. I was searching for one word, to see if there would be any major difference.

I wasn’t surprised. I have found that the one word that is pretty much universal is …  “money” (one of my favorites).

And that, my soon-to-be new friends is what we are going to talk about. Money, money, money … via closing the sale. Because if you are not catching up and learning new sales tricks or perfecting old sales tricks, then you may be losing out.

The world is changing. Our clients are changing. Our industry is changing. Some standard sales practices may hold true, but it’s time to step it up. We work in a creative field, we need to use those resources to excite, lure, entice and close our potential clients.

We may live on two different hemispheres, but trust me, we have the same core challenges.

Can’t wait to meet you all! Be prepared to laugh and learn. It’s on, baby!

happy selling!

… play nice wedding vendors!

Have you seen this blog post from my fabulous friend, Sasha Souza on her Sparkliatti blog? A new wedding planner pretends to be a potential “new bride”. Hmph.

Just in case you think I was exaggerating in my last post. There is no need for this type of actions, my sweet friends. Let’s play nice and not waste each other’s time.

happy selling!

don’t approach other vendors like this…

When starting out with your new business, there is a never ending stream of questions that have to be answered. Believe me, it doesn’t get easier as you move forward.

I’m sure that anyone who has been in business for more than a few years has received an email simliar to this one (please take a moment to read):

Um, where do I begin with this.

I suppose the planner that received this “inquisition” should be grateful that she was NOT contacted by a local aspiring wedding planner. While it was suppose to be “general ideas”, I counted 15 specific questions.

Receiving an email like this is similar to someone walking into your home, seeing your children and saying, “My gosh your children are so beautiful. Do you mind if I take one of them?”. Building a business and growing one is very similar and personal to raising a child.

What deeply concerns me is when I see new business people acting lazy and not putting any effort into learning the art of starting a business for themselves. Would you contact people that you have never met before and ask for money? The earned business knowledge and the time it would take to truly answer all these questions, is worth a dollar figure. I get it. This industry looks so easy and glamorous. Everyone wants to be a photographer, planner, baker, DJ, etc.

TEACHING MOMENT: A better approach would be to FIRST try to build a relationship with another business person that you respect and may have more experience than you. Let this relationship grow organically till you both have trust. THEN you can ask a few questions and MUTUALLY share information and ideas. You must have something to share with others, even if you are new to the industry.

There really is no excuse to send out emails like this. You have so much opportunity at your finger tips! Facebook, Twitter, online groups, conferences, workshops and more! So it is simply ridiculous not to take advantage of these opportunities. But you need to work for it!

I’ve asked for help and have shared information (just yesterday morning I sent a copy of my corporate agreement to another planner who I have not met in person, but have forged a relationship online for several years. We’ve even exchanged Christmas cards last year). My BFF, Jennifer Ramirez-Jasiczek who lives in Texas, shared a lot of her information when we “first met” online 9 years ago. But trust me, we first built a relationship. It’s an investment worth having.

Emails like this, however, will close the door. Forever.

Your thoughts or experiences with this? 

ps It also sucks to ask for comprehensive notes from another vendor who invested in attending an expensive conference. They shell out the $3k and you ask them for all their information. What are you giving in return?

pss Thanks to Elisa Delgardio with A Flair for Affairs for sharing this email with us.

happy selling!

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!

wedding market news

On Wednesday I was invited to be a guest with @WeddingMarket on their Wednesday chat. Many event professionals have been invited to participate in this chat and I was very honored to be asked.

We talked about, “GET REAL Sales: Close ‘Em”. What else?

Here is the transcript and the deets on that chat:


Now I have to tell you it was super hard to keep up with the fast feed … so if I didn’t get to answer your question, please feel free to post it below and I’ll answer for everyone to see.

happy selling!