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?

hang in there, folks…

I talk/chat/tweet up event professionals across the world … and hear the (get real) scoop on what is going on with their business.

Wish I could report that everything is puppies and rainbows, but it is still tough out there. Phones are too quiet. Websites are collecting cobwebs. Many of us are working, but struggling as rising personal/business expenses meet reduced revenue.

More clients are booking their vendors at the last possible moment. Which means a higher anxiety for us professionals.

I don’t have the magic answer. I wish I did. Just know that you are not alone.

Here’s a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Be on your game. Clients are booking closer to their wedding date, have your game together to be able to serve them quickly. Every client is a possible referral, you may have to change your game strategy on the output of work.
  2. Don’t give up. I know some event professionals are looking to participate in other revenue streams to make ends meet until things pick up. There is no shame in that.
  3. Don’t work for free. Discounting your services will not help you meet your bottom line and will burn you out faster than a Molotov cocktail. The rebound of doing this will be astronomically difficult.
  4. Keep the faith/positivity. I don’t think talking about real issues and difficulties is being negative. Addressing the issue, and moving forward is the only to deal with anxiety. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed with worry. We all do it. But it hurts our bodies, spirit and ultimately, our productivity. I know. I’m a professional worrier.
Happy Selling!

it SUCKS if you GROSSLY under charge

I spoke on cultivating and setting your pricing at Eventology 2010. It was a difficult subject for me to tackle, mostly because I strongly feel that others shouldn’t be setting your goals or telling you what to charge.

You know what I’m talking about. You’re at an industry event, feeling pretty good about your last event and someone asks you, “How much is your xyz service?” Gleefully you answer to only be met with a scowl on a person’s face or worse, a snicker.

So with that in mind, I will still launch into my diatribe. If you are serious about your event business; whether it is photography, wedding planning, invitations, or cake designing, I’m taking a stand and letting you know that you are hurting yourself and your industry by grossly under charging your services. Actually you would probably be better off donating your time and gifting your services for free, at least the expectations would be equally matched.

In case you feel the opposite, let me tell you why you are totally wrong (I told you, I’m taking a stand):

  1. You undervalue your service/work. Just starting out and you need to gain experience? So you feel like the only way to get jobs is to charge a Day of Coordination for $300. It’s an easy sell for you. However you have now communicated to your “client” that your value is mere pennies. If you do a good job, then your client will tell someone, and they’ll tell someone else, “Hey, I used a coordinator and she was CHEAP.” Is that what you want your business tag line to be? Hire me, I’m cheap ™
  2. You will surely tick off other vendors. Oh sure, it’s not a big deal at first. You won! You grossly undercut the competition and got the job. Open up the cheap champagne! However, my little newbie, you should know that event vendors are a tight knit community. We talk. A lot. About you and others. You’ll need help or assistance one day and some may not feel like extending a hand. Since it takes a TEAM to pull off an event, you’ll be sorry you alienated others.
  3. Have you figured out what you are really making? Track your time and divide it by the teeny amount you charged your client. That’s your hourly rate. Now wait. It may not look so bad at first glance. Be sure to take out a percentage for self-employment tax, federal and state. Now deduct all your expenses you incurred from the event; gas, supplies, food. Now be sure to deduct your overhead expenses. Take another look. What did you make? You might as well of worked for free. And you call this a business?
  4. It’s a hard climb to higher ground. When you set your goals so very, very low, it takes a tremendous amount of time, effort and work to bring yourself up to the playing field of earning a profit and maintaining a successful business. Do not be short sighted. Have courage!
  5. Quit having pity. Don’t feel sorry for brides and grooms who are on a budget. We are all on a budget in one way or another. If we don’t charge what we are worth, then we won’t be profitable. Never be sorry or make excuses to others about running a profitable business. Otherwise, we would all be OUT of business. And where would our clients be then?

Happy Selling!

Reader Question: “Selling to Clients that CAN AFFORD You?”

Q. How do you end an introductory meeting with a prospective high-end client after you’ve listened to their wedding vision and provided information and shown a portfolio on your business?  How do you close the sale when you know they can afford your services?

A. Let’s first do a little happy-dance that you have delivered a presentation to a client that can afford your services. You HAVE to love those consults.

Let’s dispel the myth; just because clients have money doesn’t mean they want to SPEND money. The more net-worth my client has, the more they will analyze every line item. They didn’t build their wealth by spending frivolously and more importantly, they know they have a bulls-eye on their back because they have acquired a certain wealth. So they will move cautiously forward.

An introductory meeting is simply that. It’s when you get to have an in-depth consult that will allow you to get a glimpse into their ideas and showcase yours. That is why I {heart} custom proposals. You never know what you are walking into and when you use “pre-set packages”, it’s SUPER challenging to add on the incidentals.

None of us like to be taken advantage of; even more importantly none of us like to be “nickeled and dimed” to death. Sometimes add-on’s to service packages, feel just like that.

Your challenge is to show/prove your abilities and/or products. How are you different from your peer vendors? What is your unique selling point? Can you prove your experience and ability, clearly and effectively in your higher-end proposals? What do your proposals look like? All of these points are important to review for your business.

At the end of the consult, I treat ALL my prospective client the same. They are given clear timeline of what will happen next (when they will receive their proposal) and a deadline for their response. YES! A DEADLINE.

This feels like a another blog post; so I’ll continue the subject of “ending the consult” on another post. Stay tuned…..and thanks for the great question!

Happy Selling!

PS: Have a question? Email me: sh@saundrahadley{dot}com. We’ll be answering reader’s questions about Overcoming Objections … you’ll want to come back for more Q & A to come! Or just read this blog in your RSS feed.