proposals

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!

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!

On the Ninth Day of Selling…

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

REVIEW OF YOUR CONSULT METHOD

Ah, “the consult”. That’s where the magic happens. So let’s be sure all your “tools” that you use is up-to-date. Here are some examples:

  1. Photogs do you have your latest and greatest photo album done to show off? The one that you have been wanting to get completed since June?
  2. Planners are your examples of timelines, layouts, design and decor photos up to date? Do you have other things to add?
  3. What do you use at your consults to show your “works”? Laptop? iPad? Update all your images and processes….. let’s reflect your best work. (Nothing says lame when you are showing off your stuff from 2008).
  4. Do you have latest testimonials to show from clients?

Whatever your process is, review, update and get ready!

Happy Selling!

photo: my eoffice

lame sales story… (sadly, true)

I was talking to one of my corporate clients who shared a true (WTF) sales story with me. Your job, reader, is to learn from their mistakes…..

…………………………………………………………………………….

My corporate client narrowed down three different companies that they needed a specific service from, a high dollar service. They invited all three companies to come in and give a sales presentations to the entire board of directors, each one was given 45 minutes to give their pitch. They all went one right after the other.

Company #2 (yes, I’m starting out of order on purpose): This sales person took the first 15 minutes for his allotted time to talk about all the “faults” and “short comings” of Company #1 and Company #3. By the time this poor sales person had eaten up 10 minutes, the Board of Directors had already tuned him out and quit listening. He’s out.

Company #1 and Company #3 were a close race. After the presentations, my corporate client informed them that they would like to take about a week to digest all the information, talk amongst themselves and then would make a decision. After all, this project was a big investment for them.

In the end, although it was a very close decision, the Board of Directors decided to go with Company #1. The phone call was made to Company #3 to let them know the bad news. The sales person (who is also the President of said company) called my corporate client and wanted to have feedback about his presentation, why they missed the sale, etc. A tentative phone appointment was scheduled, however Company #3 (remember, the President mind you) decided to go ahead and email his questions.

Are you following so far?

My corporate client received a six page, single typed email that was a diatribe of severe bashing of Company #1. Seriously. S I X pages long, he printed it. At one point, it became completely incoherent and unreadable, certainly, not finishable.

The sad thing was that if the relationship did not end up going well with Company #1 …. my corporate client would fire them and immediately call Company #3. But by being totally unprofessional, that company is probably completely out of the running.

Never let your thoughts override your mouth. Always use restraint and judiciousness when dealing with your prospective clients. Never get angry at the clients for not choosing your services.

Congrats Company #1 … looks like you easily closed a six-figure deal.

Happy Selling!

Hiding your Price

As an event planner, I get to see a lot of different vendor’s sales material. It always surprises me how different they can be and I wonder sometimes what was the mindset behind the layout they choose to display their packages and pricing?

One sales material I saw was done on beautiful quality paper, the service packages were laid out nicely and clearly. But the price was so difficult to figure out. The price for Package A might be $x,xxx if Add-on B wasn’t on there, but may be reduced if Add-on C was added. Huh?

You don’t want your sales material to look like a football playbook.

Your price should never be in smaller font. Or buried in a paragraph. Or in a lighter colored font.

While I am not a fan of gimmick pricing such as: $4k instead of $4,000. I do like omitting the “cents” whenever possible. For example.

$15,000.00

$15,000

Glancing quickly, which looks better? The second one.

State the investment proudly and clearly….let your buyer see the bottom line (most want to anyway) and then they can go back up into the proposal and read how incredibly wonderful your service is in the details.

You’ll never confuse someone into a sale by being sneaky or hiding your price.

Happy Selling!

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