ideas

are you the next big thing?

Watched the Super Bowl yesterday. What I thought would be a zzzzzzzzzzz of a game, turned out to be quite gripping. Look I’m not a football fan .. but I love good friends, good food, drinks, and a great half show. And I love the commercials. Perhaps it’s because of my corporate days of selling advertising. One of them really caught my attention for this sales blog, from Samsung:

Read between the lines of this video:

1. Many of us think we are the next big thing. However I ask you, are our clients buying US, or are they buying a service from us that fills their need? The added benefit is the “you” factor in finalizing their decision. Just think about it. What do your selling words say on your collateral … is it all about you?

2. We all get concerned about our competition. There is a market out there for everyone. Find the need and fill it. It doesn’t matter if someone else already is filling that need, because they may not be everyone’s next big thing.

3. Have a sense of humor. It will get you through the rough patches and make the good times, that much better.

ps Was this clear as mud? I said, read between the lines…

happy selling!

why i have email on my phone

My good friend, Michelle Loretta wrote a blog post on Why I Took Email Off My Phone on her fabulous business blog, Sage Wedding Pro’s. Let me warn you, that while I believe Michelle is brilliant in many, many things … she’s a little crazy. Like this blog post for example.

Fundamentally, I understand what she is saying. I’m a social media junkie. But even I get a little tired. I have backed off a little this summer (my stupid Klout score reflects that). We need to take time to read a paper book (*gasp*), take a walk, clear our minds, etc. And I totally agree.

However, this is why I disagree with her.

The main reason I work for myself is the ability to be remote and work. This was my goal from the very beginning. I have a beautiful studio (newly painted), but I also work at our summer camp (where my view is a flowing river), at a coffee shop, waiting to get my tires fixed, etc. I love it. I’ve done the corporate cubicle thing which included outside sales (whoopee, stuck in a car). It’s not how I pump out my best work.

And this is WHY I pay a data plan with an iPhone (before a Blackberry) to be able to respond to necessary emails during work hours. My clients do not need to know that I’m not sitting behind my desk in my studio. All their files our on my Dropbox and easily accessed.

I must disgress, notice I said “work hours”. You MUST set and adhere to work hours when you work from home/remote. Trust me, if you don’t you will become a slave and lose your mind. Ours is 9am-6pm, Tuesday – Friday. I recently started setting the “vacation responder” to let clients or potential new clients (you know they always seem to email inquiries around 2am on a Saturday) know that if they email us Saturday-Monday, we are not in the office.

Of course, I will sometimes still work during off hours. It’s my choice. If I drive my mom around for doctor’s appointments all Tuesday morning, then I may need to catch up on work from 3-8pm. This is the glory and hallaleiugh of being self-employed and remote. Note: I save my return emails to be sent out during our business working hours.

Back to Michelle’s post; her point was not to be checking emails all the time. Totally agree. Instead of turning her email function “off” on her iPhone I suggest something else.

First I have like a dozen freaking email accounts and they all come in to my iPhone via Google Gmail. So on a weekend, I want to see my personal email, it’s like a phone call from a friend except with a lot of stupid spam. BUT, you can actually choose which emails show up on your iPhone when you first open your Mail button.

Take a look at mine:

 

My gmail accounts are all personal. I can click on Accounts/Gmail accounts/Inbox and that is all I see when I click the heavenly blue Mail button. This is opposed to selecting All Inboxes.

So when I’m on vacation or extended period of time and want to catch up on things, I can choose just to see incoming emails from my personal emails. Cool, huh?

One more thing, cause my twitter friends were calling me out as we discussed and debated this subject. I have insomnia sometimes. Sucks. I sleep four hours, wake up for several and go back to sleep for two more. So in the middle of the night (although experts tell you not to), I will read my Facebook or Twitter. Something social and light. I’ll read a blog. It makes me tired. I do not check my email. How is this possible? I just don’t do it. I have learned that getting an email in the middle of the night will make your brain start overworking thinking and sleepy time will never come again.

Shutting off email on my phone would mean that I would miss out. Just yesterday I was sitting in the chair getting my hair done at 10:30am, I purposely checked my email hoping to hear back from a potential new client that was checking our references. The email came through, it was nice to know that I just sold a full service wedding for 2013. Of course, I could have received a bad email; but that’s just the yin and yang of it all.

Now if I had small children again, I might have a different viewpoint. Mine is a permit-driving, sixteen year old which is balking as to why HE doesn’t have a smart phone. I told him to get a job.

What are you thoughts? Where do you stand on this issue? Is Michelle right? Are you addicted? Do I have a point?

ps Don’t forget to put your real email signature on your smart phone so you don’t “look” remote to your clients.

happy email checking!

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!

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!

On the Tenth Day of Selling…

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

TEAM MEETINGS

Gather your team together and pump them up for the upcoming season. Make sure they all have updated biz cards or some kind of lead cards to give out to potential clients.

Make sure everyone is up to date on 2011 pricing structure and the way your services.

While YOU may be the main sales person, you always can use a team of people talking up your business. This includes your interns!

Don’t think you have a team? You have family and friends that think the world of you. Use them, they won’t mind. Here’s a few other pointers regarding using your team.

Happy Selling!

photo: I can’t remember. But thank you!

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