success at the get real sales workshop!

This week I was in the beautiful city, Franklin, TN (just outside of Nashville) at the uber hip Wedding 101 for another successful GET REAL Sales Workshop! This space is so great for brides and vendors …. to connect, meet and get ideas.

I met some fabulous people with eclectic backgrounds, so it kept it really interesting. We spent the day reviewing the sales process, analyzing our attitude, learning applicable skills to close the deal and ending with some stellar negotiation tips. I can’t wait to hear back from the attendees to find out how this has helped their sales closures!

If you would be interested in having this one day workshop in your city … then please contact me!

Happy Selling!

want to hear me speak at eventology 2011 conference?

I am an event engineer (planner) and teach get real sales skills to event professionals. Want to know how that came to be? And no, it was not because I wasn’t booking enough weddings to make money. Trust me, my mortgage is paid from my planning business.

Actually, it was all by chance. Some things were just meant to be.

You know I live in the Midwest (a transplanted Californian who used to hang out at the beach and now looks at cornfields). The Midwest is an interesting location when it comes to national exposure. We are over looked again and again and again by event industry promotions. I get it, it’s not a huge draw.

So when wedding planner, Katasha Butler decided to throw an event professional conference in Indianapolis, Indiana in 2009, I was excited! She asked Liene Stevens, Terrica Skaggs and myself to speak. None of us had a clue on how popular this conference would become!

For years, I had been dying to speak about learning “how to close a sale” to other event peeps. Coming from years of real sales experience and corporate training, I knew that I had something to say. Not fluffy stuff. Real, applicable methods to use … to get to that signed agreement.

Honestly, I figured there would only be like 25 of us there. How wrong.

photog credit: jen lynne photography

The positive outpouring and response I received from the people who attended, shocked me. It’s hard when you “speak/coach” to others. You put yourself OUT THERE and you want people to leave with at least a few nuggets of information that can help them. After all, that is why they are paying to come. How many of us attend workshops and in the middle of the day, you’re thinking to yourself, “Really? This is so boring”. I didn’t want that.

Teaching others is like a drug. It’s exhilarating. I can’t explain it. I love training and have always done it in some capacity in previous jobs. People asked for more from me. They emailed me. They called me. My close friends told me, “You’re on to something here Saundra, don’t let this die out”. Thus the blog was born and speaking requests came in.

Since Eventology 09, I was asked to speak at Eventology 10, and …… have been asked to return for Eventology 11. Super stoked. Because this year we are going to get down and dirty with the subject of “negotiations”.

The official title of my workshop is: Fearless Negotiation Skills

My original title didn’t make the cut, Fearless Negotiating Skills using Minimal Firearms. I got veto’d. Go figure.

I have the pleasure of speaking with ….

  • Get Published! by Becca Brett Leish
  • LawGLOSS: Contracts and Agreements by Eventology Alum NaShara Mitchell, JD
  • Make It Personal: Cultivating and Maximizing Vendor Relationships by Eventology Alum Ali Phillips
  • The Style Plan: Your Image and Your Collateral by Jeannine Kennedy of The Stylish Planner
  • Accounting for Creatives {Not Creative Accounting!} by Michelle Loretta of Sage Wedding Pros
  • CONFIDENCE: How to Get What You Want and What You Need in the Wedding Industry by Eventology Alum Linnyette Richardson-Hall

The reason Eventology conferences are so special and unique is that it’s not too big and not too small. People are very real and open and honest. Relationships are built from this conference that extends WAY beyond the two days. It’s very special.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

So that’s the real story my dear readers and I have a favor to ask as I sit down to let draft my presentation (it’s all in my head right now as it has been for months).


Please tell me what your challenges are when negotiating?

Are you nervous? Do you feel that you don’t get your point across? Do you get intimidated? You can put a comment below or if you are shy, email me: sh{at}

We all learn from each other. And we never stop learning. Your feedback would mean the world to me to be able to make sure the presentation is as real as possible.

Also, let me know …. are YOU coming to Eventology 2011? Better grab your ticket!

Happy Selling!

does offering a discount, close the deal?

….. a lot of times, the answer is NO!

You’d be surprised how many vendors offer discounts in the negotiation process or (gasp) offer it up at the client interview, and it doesn’t mean you will close the deal.


Because there are other factors involved:

Perceived value.

Experience you are bringing to the table.


Is your service/or you a perfect match for their event?

TRUE STORY (wait for it):

A prestigious venue just offered my client $5k LESS than their original proposal. This was their FIRST OFFER in negotiations. BAM! $5k right off the top.

Her thought, “Is there something wrong going on with them? Are they not solvent?”


I’ll just end this blog post right here. ‘Nuff said.

happy selling!

real world, negotiating…

I came across this little gem on twitter and cannot remember who to credit.

The video really speaks for itself, my FAVORITE LINE is the last one.

Do any of you feel like this sometimes? Please share….

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!