Every time I do a speaking engagement, I get really nervous right before I go on. But as soon as I step onstage, my nervousness disappears. And then I get to just enjoy myself! I especially enjoy speaking to my peers in the wedding and event industry, because I always learn just as much from them as I hope they learn from me.
There are a few questions that come up again and again whenever I give a presentation to other event industry folks, and I’d like to share a few of them today and tomorrow. One question a lot of people ask is how to manage their clients’ expectations. It’s frustrating for planners, designers, florists, bakers — all of us — when our clients want way more than they are willing to pay for.
With this question, I always tell folks that before you can be a successful artist, you must first and foremost become a great salesperson. The event industry is no different than any other industry, and sales is a huge part of what we do. And our clients, like most of us, want to get the best value for the least amount of money. At least, I know I certainly do! The question you should be asking yourself is: What can I do to make my clients eager to pay for my services?
When I’m speaking to a live audience, I always try to answer with three specific suggestions:
1. Provide quality service. We are in the service business, after all. Always give the best service you possibly can. Your clients will be so much more willing to pay your fees if you treat them like superstars.
2. Don’t be a copycat! Many of us are so eager to follow every new trend that we forget to develop our own styles and trends. Never forget that you are an artist, which means you must develop your own look and feel. Set yourself apart. Be original.
3. Value yourself. Be able to tell clients that you’ll give them your very best but, consequently, will also have to charge them accordingly. (It is true, however, that when you’re just starting out you might need to lower your prices to gain more experience. But, even then, that decision should be on your terms. Call it an investment in your growth.)
Take comfort in the fact that both beginners and seasoned pros are in this sales battle. There is no escaping it. Even today, sales is one of the biggest challenges I face as a business man.
Dear Readers, please tell me, what do you do that is uniquely yours to keep your clients happy? What’s your signature? Have you ever created a trend that others went on to copy? Please share that, too! And have you ever gotten new clients by lowering your prices?