first clients

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!

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!

On the Seventh Day of Selling…

On the Seventh Day of Selling my sales coach gave to me….

PAST CLIENTS

The cool thing about weddings? Everybody knows somebody who is getting married. Seriously. It’s a happy occasion and people love to talk about it.

So today, you are going to reach out to your past clients. Now if you are that Type A vendor who is always sending out mailing cards and little gems to your previous clients then you get a Gold Star. However if you have been slightly busy with your day-to-day business (keepin it real, here) then we are just going to do what we can.

Cards, email, a personal Facebook message, phone call, your direct mail software program, etc. Pick your flavor of contact.

The bottom line is: you are going to contact your top clients from the past 2-3 years. Make some kind of contact, “I’m thinking about you”, “I ran across your files in our office and it made me remember….”, “Have you heard about our new services?”

You get the picture. But this isn’t a pushy sales contact. More like you are thinking about them and then slip in something that you have been doing that is just awesome.

Because referrals, from previous clients (that may start thinking about you because you made a contact out of the blue)… is awesome.

Happy Selling!

photo: Elizabeth Vincent Photography : me sewing my bride into her gown.

Upcoming Series… Twelve Days of Selling!

First thing, Housekeeping Issues: Yes, the site has changed it’s look. Good grief, if the old site didn’t crash like a Toyota with an accelerator stuck. But it did. Seriously, I don’t want have to change this again for some time. I just need to figure out how to add photo galleries, because I LOVE seeing the photos of the super cool people I meet at conferences and seminars.

Now the big announcement!

Just in time for Christmas, on Monday… I will start the Twelve Days Selling. It’s to get you energized and ready for the engagement season that is about to kick off (if it hasn’t already in your local area). Yes, there will be a blog post every single day for Twelve Days straight (I should get a blog award or something because I am not the most consistent).

Hope you like! Please tweet, comment away…. looking forward to your feedback.

Happy Selling!

get real sales tip :: sources for more referrals

Video series on quick and dirty sales tips. I tried using my iPhone 4 …. not bad quality but not as good as the other camera.

This tip:  Sources for getting more referrals.

Happy Selling!
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