my latest sales experience…

I have a sales experience to share with you. No, I was not the person selling. I was the customer/client. Sometimes it’s in these situations I learn the best sales tidbits. I watch/listen/and take mental notes. This was an experience on how to position the cost of service to a client.

background to the story:

We have a family rate plan with AT&T for our mobile phones. Recently the plans changed to make it way more affordable to add iPhones for my husband and son, so we did. I also have my Mom’s cell phone on our family plan. She has a flip phone and uses it about 5 minutes a month. It’s strictly for emergencies.

With our new plan, it became a no brainer for us and our smart phones. However, because my Mom’s phone is NOT a smart phone, she is getting penalized. Her monthly phone bill is $30/mo as opposed to the $10/mo it was before. It’s kinda ridiculous considering how she uses her phone. And we’re stuck in a 10 month contract with her.

at the at&t store:

So today I happened to be in their store getting my new iPhone activated (my old one dived into a clean toilet at 7:30pm during a wedding reception on Saturday). I asked the customer service rep what we could do about these additional charges for my Mom. I want some options. How many of our clients ask us the same thing?

To speed this story up, the first thing she did was to not give me any options to remove the phone, but instead to make sure that I understood what a good deal I was getting for the collective four phones. She whipped out her calculator to review what the old existing plan would of cost and compared it to what we are now paying. I should be thrilled that ACTUALLY, we are paying $20 less per month on this new plan for all four phones.

I smiled. Someone’s trained her well.

You see she “marketed” to me what my monthly investment is and how I am, at this very moment, saving money. Of course, I’m thinking I’m still out an additional $20/mo ($240 a year) for my Mom’s un-smart phone, a rate that should not have increased.

How do you respond to your clients when they begin to pick apart your cost in each little category. Do you reply by focusing on the larger picture to show them the benefits that they are receiving and the value of everything they are investing with you?

When you start to focus on too much on the cost of the minutia (the price of each stem of flower or extra page in your wedding album) you lose vision of the overall investment. Besides, if someone wants to go ala carte, then it’s ALWAYS more expensive than a package deal.

how did it end?

My options were: I leave it the way it is. I can donate $98 to the AT&T church to get out of my Mom’s contract. Switch to a AT&T GoPhone Prepaid Cell phone service. Or leave them entirely and go with another carrier.

I left. I had my new phone to sync.

ps. I miss you guys.

happy selling!

my 2013 manifesto & the wedding industry

I will be speaking at the ABC Midwest Retreat at the beautiful West Baden Hotel next month. As I mulled over what to speak about, my fuzzy thoughts begun to form clearly in my mind. I know that I want to do something different.

So, I have begun my 2013 Manifesto for the wedding industry and personal goals. Think Jerry Maguire without the “You had me at Hello”).

I’ll be celebrating 10 years in this crazy, loving and wonderful industry. This is a short time compared to many, but long enough to be considered seasoned and to recognize that we have some cray-cray stuff going on.

  • Price undercutting
  • Blatant theivary of ideas and information amongst each other
  • Stress of balancing personal life with a business that offers very personal services
  • Strategies of how to manage the milleniual brides (Facebook, texting, Pinterest, strong demands to be available at any given moment to them)
  • Influx of new businesses that do not have the proper experience
  • How to develop new business
  • How to change up your sales game to ensure accuracy
  • Client Service Relations
  • How to stay relevant, in a quickly changing world

and the list goes on….

Honestly, I have some concerns about how it will be received, but as always, if I have something to say, I just say it. Because I know the people that come to me personally (behind-the-scenes) have the same issues, while they may not show it or talk about it with their peers.

It’s time to get real.

Especially since the media has decided to take out their cross-hairs and point it towards our industry. Yes, I’m referring to the (sensational) 20/20 news story of our industry. Everyone loves a good story of secracy and probable deception. It was one-sided and biased, as usual.

Funny thing, I actually had gotten off my butt and started an editorial calendar for my planning blog and had written this blog post entitled, Is the Wedding Industry Ripping You Off? I had wrote that blog post TWO WEEKS before the 20/20 segment aired, scheduled it and then forgot about it. Ah, I love irony and timing. Be sure to take a look at it and more importantly the comment section. One of my full-service clients chimed in (and thought the 20/20 story was ridiculous).

There have been some other followup stories as well. I almost hesitate to post this one, just because I would not like to give it anymore links or credibility that it deserves, but here goes: What the Wedding Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know This was written a planner who must have her own agenda and also has been in the business about as along as I have. Prepare to sit down to read it, it’s a mind-reeling, tilt your head to one-side, what in the hell were you thinking, doozy. One more reason I will NOT be watching the Ricki Lake show and will just tune into Ellen who’s sign-off is always, “Be Kind to One Another”.

Finally, I loved this follow up story from Susan Southerland, 20/20 Wedding Confidential: Negativity Sells Why yes ma’am, it certainly does.

As an industry, we can either look the other way, shake our heads and not say anything or we can ban together and make comments on blog posts, Facebook threads that attack our industry. We all know that we aren’t millionnaires (well 96.8% of us are not) in this crazy industry. We work out of the love of what we do, flexibility and the satisfaction from our clients. Although on some days, it is very hard to remember this.

So what say you? What’s your 2013 Manifesto? It’s more than goal writing, sometimes they are simply statements that define who you and your business and what you want to stay true to and accomplish. It’s a great reminder to go back to as the year gets going.

Love to hear your thoughts.

happy selling!

wedding market news

On Wednesday I was invited to be a guest with @WeddingMarket on their Wednesday chat. Many event professionals have been invited to participate in this chat and I was very honored to be asked.

We talked about, “GET REAL Sales: Close ‘Em”. What else?

Here is the transcript and the deets on that chat:

Now I have to tell you it was super hard to keep up with the fast feed … so if I didn’t get to answer your question, please feel free to post it below and I’ll answer for everyone to see.

happy selling!

the special event 2012 :: my sales session

Next week I will be flying off to beautiful Tampa, Florida to attend The Special Event 2012 and deliver a sales training session:

Selling for Creatives

If you can’t make it to the session, that’s okay. Be sure to find me and say hello. I’ll be the pastey white girl, with no tan. The turtleneck is not because it’s warm here.

So are you coming to TSE2012?

If so, post a comment and include your twitter handle! 

happy selling!

On the Twelfth Day of Selling…

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


I’ve always touted that I keep it “real”, trust me when I tell you that I absolutely believe in the power of positivity and visualization. I have to remind myself of this when life gets me down.

Back in college my girlfriends and I had a saying, “Power of Positive Thinking”. It was my friend, Janet Thomas who started it. Mind you, this was YEARS before the The Secret became a phenomenon. It was the simple concept of concentrating your thoughts on what you want to have happen, and it would become a reality.

If you’ll indulge me, here’s my crazy story that made me a believer. In 1991, I backpacked through Europe with a girlfriend of mine. We split up leaving Italy and she went off to Belgium to visit family and I went to Berlin, Germany. By myself; with my Frommer’s guide and limited knowledge of the German language. Remember my college friend, Janet, who I mentioned above? As luck would have it, she was also suppose to be in Berlin during the same time period with another group. I wasn’t sure of her travel schedule and had no way of contacting her to find out where she was staying (long before everyone had a cell phone).

So at my flat, I decided to make some calls around to local Youth Groups thinking that I may catch a break and find her. No such luck. Feeling a tad lonely, I concentrated on finding my friend. I even remember saying out loud, “Janet, if you are here in Berlin….FIND ME!”. I laughed at myself, of course. Seriously not making this up.

The next day, I was doing the tourist thing and visiting museums (I believe it was the Reichstag). There I was looking at historical photographs and suddenly…in a quiet crowd of people, I hear, “Saaaaaaundraaaaa!” There was Janet (in this instance, I did not feel shame for squealing and being the loud “American”). She was touring museums with her group and we literally bumped into each other at the same time, the same place. Power of Positive thinking? You betcha.

What does this mean for you? Well stop and concentrate on only positive thoughts about selling your services. Take a moment and pull out the Thank You cards you received from clients and re-read them. You are awesome. People love you. You are worth it; to charge what you charge to stay in business.

Visualize a great year.

Visualize knocking out challenges or problems that come your way like you would a baseball, right out of the park (and out of your life).

Visualize good health and energy.

Visualize standing tall and strong and not be discouraged by competitors.

And when you start to feel down, then come back and read this post. Or anything else that gives you a kick in the rear.

Now get out there and DO IT! Let’s make 2011 one to remember….

Happy Selling!

photo: The Zen of Open Data Where ELSE would I get a photo like this?