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FLASHBACK ARTICLE FROM OCTOBER 2009
As a DJ/Mobile Entertainer since 1986, I sometimes fall into the same trap many of us do. We get a little jaded or dare I say, even lazy about what we do. After years of wedding receptions and dances we might start to think we are so good we don’t need to change or improve. This is why I want to share the experience of the planning process of MY wedding with you. My goal is to help you become better by putting you in the shoes of the client, in this case, the bride and groom. Sometimes we can learn a lot about ourselves by taking a look… From The Other Side.
Last month I talked about first impressions in the sales process, and how that first contact can make or break a sale. Today I want to move to the next step, details, details, and details.
I was really amazed by how many vendors (not just DJs), failed to pay attention to the details. Not just the details of my wedding reception, dance, or meal, but eh – details of the sales process of getting my business. The details of any wedding are the little things most brides like to freak out about. Details can be as simple as how the party favors are placed on the table, to how the bride and groom are introduced. Details are the little things that set the high-dollar professionals apart from the weekend warriors. When all the details are perfect, they might seem almost unnoticed, but when the details are not perfect problems could arise.
The details that make us professionals are not just the little things we do to make each event special and unique. They start at the first contact. When our good friend, who owns one of the bridal shops in town highly recommended a decorator we were excited and called right away, however, when the decorator failed to return two voice-mail messages, we looked for someone else. It doesn’t matter how many referrals you get or what kind of praise a vendor might give you, if you don’t follow through you don’t get the gig. In sales, we are always told that people buy on emotion, don’t let that excitement fizzle. If you can’t be available for every incoming phone call or e-mail, it is imperative you return the call the same day. I was also blown away when it would take a week or more to receive promised info by mail, or in some cases by e-mail. Following through is a detail.
When you meet with a client, whether it’s to present your service or to plan the event remember the details. I was most impressed with the vendors that asked a lot of questions about us and our wedding, BEFORE telling us what they could do or offer. This always showed me that they were genuinely interested in our day and us. When asking questions always listen and adjust accordingly. Even though we had no less than 3 meetings with our hotel catering staff, when we had our last meeting the week of the wedding, the hotel still had our bar in the hall outside the reception room. This is a perfect example of a detail we expressed to the hotel on 2 or 3 occasions and they were still planning their standard cookie-cutter set-up, they were not listening to our wants and needs.
The key to getting all the details right is communication. How much communication do you have with your clients? Are you taking the time to sit down with them and cover all the details? Even at my wedding, after we sat down for dinner, we realized that we needed to cut the cake, so we got up grabbed the photographer, and quickly did it. Who should have taken care of this detail? The photographer, the DJ, the catering staff at the hotel… doesn’t matter didn’t get done, because no one discussed this (pretty important) detail with us. I am always sure to cover this detail with brides and grooms when we plan their event, to avoid the same fate, and then when I follow through by coordinating the photographer and the catering staff around the cake cutting the bride and groom are thrilled that someone is in taking charge.
If you take the time to ask the right questions and listen to the wants, needs, and wishes of your clients the whole process will go smoother, from start to finish. Who knows… you might even get a tip.
Jake Palmer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.