accountable

stop stealing wedding vendor’s shit

Oh, do I have your attention? Yes, I believe I do.

We all know it happens. The wedding vendor community is uber small. Put your index finger and your thumb and squeeze them together and try to peek through, it’s THAT small. We look out for each other. We monitor other vendors. And we tattle.

I’m not talking about looking at other vendor’s stuff to get inspiration. We all do this, even if you won’t admit to it. This is normal.

From my event planning website, I have had a blog post completely stolen from my website.  Every single word, comma, and period was copy and pasted on a reputable online newspaper website (across the country), with the thief’s name as the “author”. A planner brought it to my attention and the person that stole my post, was fired. Ridiculous to think that the WWW was so small that it would not be found.

Blatantly taking another vendor’s proprietary and creative product and calling it your own work is so very, very wrong. This INCLUDES (and not limited to): sales collateral, videos, images, business concepts, company name, logo’s and anything else that you can think of lifting from them. It’s not cool. It’s not reputable. It’s slim shady and it’s wrong. It’s lying to your prospective clients who think they are looking at work you have produced.

In the recent months I have witnessed, first or second hand:

Business Concepts: Vendor A tells Vendor B a great business idea about adding to their current repertoire of services. A few months go by and Vendor B starts to promote the very same, unique idea. When Vendor A casually inquires to Vendor B about this unique idea, Vendor B responds that they had this idea in the works for sometime. Really? Then why wasn’t this disclosed during the initial conversation?

Business Names: I have a personal friend who had to go through this disaster. She built a brand that was absolutely unique. When I say unique, I mean, straight up developed a “word” for her company name that was created and cannot be found in the dictionary. She spent countless hours and expense branding her incredibly unique business name, only to have it stolen from someone across the country. She has re-branded again, only to find that yet another, uncreative business person (who is technically out of the country, but still in the North America continent) take the EXACT SAME name and creative logo. Seriously?

Images/Video: This is probably the MOST frequently stolen items from other vendors. New photographer “lifts” (a gentle term for straight out, gangsta stealin’) photos from another photograher’s website and plops it on their site as if they are images that they have shot. The thieves THINK they are being smart by taking images from a photographer that is out of the country. Like that makes ANY difference? My favorite part of this scenario is when confronted, the website designer always gets blamed. Riiiiiiight.

Sales Pitches/Collateral: A vendor shops another vendor in their own category pretending to be a bride. They listen to the vendor’s sales pitch, greedily take their proposals/agreements and then copy/paste with their own company name/logo. You would initially think that this would be only new vendors, alas, you would be wrong.

What’s a new vendor to do?

For one, find your own voice and style. It’s hard, it’s taken me YEARS to find mine and the courage to be able to be bold and stand on my own (see this blog post’s title for validation of this fact). If you do not have a portfolio, then do some pro bono work to build one. It’s that easy. Well, really, meticulously downloading and cropping out other vendor’s property to plop on your website is “easier”, but won’t get you far… you’ll be found out.

Believe in yourself and sell YOU!  

This blog post is getting long, so I will wrap it up. Quit the shenanigans. Some vendors won’t play around when it comes to stealing. They have support and funds to sue you. It’s not worth it.

happy selling!

how much money do I make?

*warning* I have a little rant that has been brewing in me for awhile.

What the hell is up with event professionals who have moved into the coaching – teaching -mentoring field touting that they have built a “six-figure” business?

Hmmm.

Six figures. You know, billing out six-figures and retaining a six-figure portfolio are two ENTIRELY different things.

You want to know how much I make?

None of your damn business.

This is how you know that I, and many other consultant professionals who educate others, are keeping it real.

People that are doing really well for themselves don’t brag about the money they bring in.

They just do.

It’s the same thing that I’ve said for years about someone who has to tell me they are a Christian in the first five minutes I meet them. Really? If you are, your works and actions will show it.

Shouldn’t it be more important when you choose to learn from someone (and pay them) that they have proven concepts to teach you? That they have experience in what they are teaching and the information that they teach has a solid foundation in common sense and is thought-provoking?

I do pretty well for myself. Some years are mucho better than others (welcome to self-employment in a turbulent market). This is real truth. I’m not writing this blog post from underneath a freeway underpass. I hear the WiFi is sketchy there.

If you are new to the event industry, tread carefully with “experts” who are using a gimmicky sales techniques to get your business. You can spot them easily. Their websites read like a bad informercial, with plenty of opportunities to click on a button to Buy It Now throughout their script of inflated promises.

And if you are ballin’, and billing out/retaining that kind of money…. then this post is not about you.

You like or hate this post? Then Retweet or Comment! Let’s shake up this Wednesday!

Happy Selling!


NOW… at&t loves me and my iphone…

 

True Story:

We’ve been Cingular customers since 1998. Of course we all know that they were bought out by AT&T a few years ago and since then the customer service is shaky sometimes. I am NOT a fan of “monopolies” when one company has our business advertising, our land lines, and our cell phones; I think customer service wavers a bit.

Hence the one time it took me 8 months, numerous hours on the phone, speaking to so many customer service representatives across the entire country, that I lost count;  to resolve a $352 credit that was due to us. But I did it. And the drinks were ON ME that evening.

Get to the Point:

Alright, ALRIGHT!

Everyone knows that Verizon announced they can sell the iPhone 4 early this February. After that announcement (in fact only 12 hours after), I had to call AT&T on an unrelated customer service issue.

The love fest on the telephone from the customer service rep was unbelievable and left me feeling a little nauseous.

I was told REPEATEDLY:

“Thank you so much for your business”
“Thank you for your patronage and as an iPhone customer
“We value your business and thank you again, for being an AT&T customer”

Wow.

I mean it’s not like every time I call they are rude, but this guy was OVER the TOP. And, pointedly singled out the fact I was an “iPhone customer” again and again.

Hmmmmmm. Feeling the heat a little AT&T?

Our Business:

So do you (and me) wait until we feel the heat to reciprocate to our clients and be grateful? Do we wait for a competitor to come into the market to stir it up or are we continuing to build client relations and loyalty?

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Trust me… this was an “aha moment” for me as well. I love to sell. I love to plan. But the extra touches for client relations sometimes can lost in the daily grind.

Time to step up our game!

Happy Selling!

why I won’t work for free

New business is challenging in the best of circumstances and even more challenging under difficult times. But working for free or mere dollars per hour cannot be the answer in offering sustainability. Sure you have a superb wedding to showcase in your portfolio, but who cares? At the end of the day, are you even breaking even?

This blog entry will not be much of me talking to you as I’ve already covered this issue before, instead highlighting two wedding professionals who really hit the nail on the head.

Recent blog post of a 17 year, veteran wedding planner, Linnyette Richardson-Hall outlined a fabulous post of “Why I Cost So Much”. A great read and I recommend clicking on it and reading it thoroughly.

From Linnyette, I read another well-written, thought out and insightful article by another wedding planner, Shayna Walker, “Demystifying Wedding Planner Pricing”. Definitely on my top ten best reads in a long time. I highly suggest you download her open conversation on how most of us, price our services.

In the past few weeks, I turned down two weddings. One of which, due to circumstances beyond my control, I knew that I would not be able to deliver the service the bride needed. There are no do-overs in our business and having the clarity and honesty to tell a potential client, “I’m very sorry, but you need to call someone else” is difficult but in the end, the best decision for both of us.

The second one was more painful and difficult, but within negotiations I knew deeply and through personal experience that what the clients were asking for was GREAT for THEIR pocket book, but not so much for my business.

We ALL like to remove services from proposals that we are given so that they will fit within our budgets. I’m not exempt to this; I want, what I want, but at the best deal.

As the author and provider of said services, it is our job to educate our clients and prove the value of their investment and finally, knowing when to draw the line.

Happy Selling!

the year in review :: 2010

I almost didn’t write the obligatory “year in review” that everyone does. But I changed my mind because I will enjoy looking back one day and reading it. And the fact I have a lot of thanking to do. #thankful (twitter folks will get that hashtag).

2010 was a mixture of ups and downs; but isn’t that life? 2009 sucked so bad on a personal level, that ONLY the nine circles of hell would be more attractive. Professionally I experienced great clients and of course, had the opportunity to touch people’s lives and help them. For anyone who has written me a personal thank you card or email….know that they are saved. I get them out every once in awhile to remind myself that what I am doing is valuable.

Traveling was definitely on the agenda for 2010 and I really enjoyed the heck out of meeting wonderful, warm, crazy, funny, stressed-out event professionals across the country. The insight that I took away: no matter what city you lived in, how much you charge, how long you have been in the business EVERYONE is experiencing the same challenges with their businesses. #surreal

BIG thanks to:

Katasha Butler, producer of Eventology 10 for having me back a second time. It’s really all her fault that I started speaking/training about sales And for that, I’m eternally grateful.

Kelly McWilliams for inviting me out to WeWed, a conference she produces in Florida to HELP her local vendors grow with education. I simply adore and admire her. I’ll walk on hot coals if she needs me to.

Elizabeth Bailey, an industry leader and fantastic wedding planner, for having me out to speak at a NACE meeting in Baltimore, MD. I have admired her for years and was so happy to meet her and the awesome people in Baltimore.

The beautiful and talented, Hilary Anderson who produced her first conference, WedSmith in Salt Lake City, Utah. Hilary and her husband, Justin are a class act and I hope to see them again soon.

The uber smart Michelle Loretta with Sage Wedding Pros for having me assist her with The Simple Plan (loved talking about marketing again) in one of my all-time-favorite cities, Nashville, TN.

It was an honor to speak with other spectacular industry professionals such as; Sasha Souza, Terrica Skaggs, Harmony Walton, Lara Casey, Jeannine Kennedy, Anne Barge, Jen Campbell, David Perry, Linnyette Richardson-Hall, Ali Phillips, Michelle Loretta, Elisa Delgardio and more! I learn so much listening to the other speakers …. an advantage of being a speaker.

My bestie and promoter, Jennifer Ramirez Jasiczek who has always been my hugest supporter. Tell me that web friendships can’t evolve? We actually “met” online through a wedding professional forum in 2003. Jennifer thank you for pushing, promoting and launching the GET REAL Sales Workshops that ripped through Texas. And in general, everyday.

Special love to the clients that I worked with for personal sales coaching. It was a gratifying experience!

I’d also like to thank my twitter followers that are so kind to RT my sales tweets or #sales411 twitter series. I appreciate your support and give you the ultimate “fist pound”.

My goals for 2011: write a a sales book. [omigosh, I typed it so now I have to do it]. I’ve been writing this book in my head for the past 5 months.

I’m going to offer webinars that will be short, concise sales training. No traveling! Come in your sweat pants. It’s on the calendar to be speaking at select conferences (looking forward to seeing everyone at Eventology 11 in Indianapolis, IN) and will be offering GET REAL Sales Workshops in certain cities. [more about that coming up later]

What WILL remain consistent in 2011 is the same get real approach I have always done with training. No sugar coating. No abstract ideas. We are in this together!

Let’s do this!

Happy New Year!

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