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!

video about upcoming speaking gigs

A little message from me regarding upcoming speaking gigs in September..

upcoming speaking gigs… from GET REAL sales coach on Vimeo.

Interested in hearing me speak, please check out these links below:

project : INNOVATE tickets purchased here

ps. Can you believe how dark and long my hair is?

happy selling!

recap of the 2012 the special events experience

I was honored (doesn’t everyone say that, but seriously, I mean it) to speak at 2012 The Special Events. Whew. I figured not a lot of people would show up, but a girl can hope, right? Well, I was wrong. The energy was super cool in the room too. You know how there are people who want to heckle you at these big conventions? Happy it didn’t happen, and I didn’t have to show my true L.A. colors.

So here’s a quick recap, from a speaker’s point-of-view:

Things I learned speaking at The Special Events:

  1. Being put in a hotel conference room across from the regular convention can be a good thing. I worried that I wouldn’t get any attendees to my session at all. First I competed with lunch time (12:00 pm presentation) and secondly I had fierce competition (Ivy Robinson was speaking and she is pretty awesome). The chairs were more comfortable and we had tables for laptops.
  2. Always lay the ground rules before speaking. I did go through the table of contents (good idea to let everyone know what will be coming up), I forgot to mention not to record or video record my session. Just so everyone knows, since it was brought up to me several times. I didn’t mean to embarrass the attendee, it really caught me off guard. You should know she profusely apologized afterwards, she was new to conferences.
  3. Cover your blouse when you brush your teeth before your presentation. I’m surprised I had any toothpaste left that was washed down the drain. Apparently my high powered battery operated toothbrush sprayed minty foam all over me.
  4. It’s super exciting to see the maintenance workers have to bring in more chairs for people to sit, as there was standing room only. That’s pretty self explanatory.
  5. Only one person left my presentation early. See above.
  6. A wide room is a better room. The layout was a lot more cozy than the rooms at the convention center. Made for a better presentation and connection with attendees.
  7. Don’t flip through slides so fast. Apparently I irritated a few by whizzing through them. Dully noted.
  8. If you are going to quiz your audience then have the answers on a slide. But wasn’t that fun?
  9. Make sure your posse eats before they come to your session. My girls were there to support me. But they looked hungry the whole time I spoke.
  10. Be yourself and don’t worry. People would be SURPRISED to know how many times I wake up at 2am before I give a presentation. It’s not the worry of presenting, it’s the worry that you won’t get anything out of it.

Loved all the feedback from the attendees that would stop me on the trade show floor. You made my heart swell with pride.

Here’s a few video excerpts from some awesome people we met. (Thanks Kelly McWilliams for videotaping these testimonials):

For more fun, check out our 2012 The Special Events Recap … it’s kinda epic. In our own minds….

ps Leave me a note if you were at the TSE session … let me know what you thought!

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!

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!