Why Consultations Are Similar To “Blind Dates” Building Your Relationship With Clients…
My first contact with a client is generally by phone, email or through my sister website- No Money? No Problem- We Take Trades! The Pawning Planners. Although the gap between Texas Twins Events and The Pawning Planners is based entirely on their ability to pay for services at Texas Twins Events or they have no money and are bartering for services at The Pawning Planners, they all share a desire for a Dream Event that can be a wedding, funeral, Pawning Party, estate sale, birthday party, baby shower, House blessing or even a prom party for folks who never attended their own- we get a few “fairly creative” requests.
Speaking with, emailing or texting a new client mimics a blind date because I know very little about the client and they often know far more about me after visiting my sites and social media. They know I’m committed to changing the wedding and events industry “one family at a time.”
Being willing to go above and beyond whether they have money or a trade and occasionally- when they have nothing to offer by sponsoring their event out of my own pocket takes committment and funds are generated through sales of Pawning Planners Apparel or items sold at Visit My Treasure Chest! Texas Twins Treasures.
When you take trades in exchange for services- you need an outlet to sell them. Often the trades I’ve taken over the years were in less than stellar condition which is why learning to refurbish, stain and repair the items is key for me to save money on the “Flipping Process.”
Many of our clients “borrow” my inventory of floral designs to bring beauty to their event. Creating an inventory is unusual because I have no competition from other vendors who would never “loan” their inventory.
I knew that in order to be successful- I would need to do things my competition didn’t including taking trades and occasionally, working for free. My background and sales experience gave me key insights on client satisfaction and more importantly, how to earn it!
My entire family help make Dream Events a reality for families by assisting me in all phases of an event including set up and tear down, photography, flower girls & ring bearers, wedding officiants and funeral clergy and even bilingual translation.
For families with nothing to offer by “putting some skin in the game” with a trade or payment for services- I Require an Appraisal Appointment in order to verify and validate that you are truly needy. Why? Because over the past 6 years, I’ve been taken advantage of by folks who most certainly could pay for services but pretended to have no money. It’s sad that there are folks out there who want something for nothing but its true.
“Wooing” a new client isn’t easy and earning a referral from clients is even more difficult. Referrals beat out advertising any day of the week! While selling Cadillacs & Hummers, referrals were key to my success. While selling upscale patio furniture for Texas Patios and Yard Art- my sales were in the millions because I was often willing to do things other salespeople were not like going to a customers home with feet that were damaged or lost and addressing issues they had that their warranty didn’t cover. Over my lifetime I’ve consistently gone above and beyond in order to gain repeat customers and referrals.
Building your reputation and client base isn’t easy- it takes dedication on your part and it often involves putting in more than you’re going to take out. Reinvesting your time and talent to retain customers isn’t easy but your clients will remember all the hurdles you jumped through to make them happy.
First dates or client meetings can often be surprising for me by learning what the clients want or expect and what they are willing to do in order to make the deal work. Occasionally, I meet a Demanding Diva” but overcoming an outrageous request lays solely on my shoulders when committing myself or my family to an event.
Examples of such requests will give you a better idea:
Requesting my staff serve food or drinks- we don’t do catering.
Requesting my staff be on site five hours prior to the event starting when you hired a wedding officiant and not a set up or tear down team.
Requesting to borrow my inventory “in your wedding colors.” Loaned inventory is not custom created in your colors- if you want to use colors that I do not have in stock-you must provide your own bouquets and boutenniers.
Requesting a band when you have no money or no trade- if you’re event is sponsored then you aren’t going to have a venue or a band. Sponsored events are at area parks or backyards because I will not go to the expense of paying for a venue or band. Sponsored event clients use the inventory I have on hand and work with my team to budget your event accordingly. From photographers to wedding officiants and coordinators at sponsored events- my family and I are there at our own expense and would appreciate no interference or suggestions from inlaws or outlaws who bother to show up but didn’t bother to do anything else. All of my sites have a Bridezilla/Guestzilla Clause for a reason- we’ve had to deal with problem clients or guests before.
Everyone has dealt with a problem client but if you are working at your own expense and out of the kindness of your heart, you don’t need to be subjected to outlaws complaining that you are in a park rather than a fancy building or want to keep your bouquet “because it’s your wedding.” My team committed their day to giving you a Dream Event and I created an inventory to loan to families not give away because you for some reason wanted to keep it. In fact, if you can find a venue owner willing to let you use their building for free- give me the address and we will meet you there! The truth is that no one is willing to loan a building unless you are lucky enough to borrow a karate studio like I did last year due to rain and flooding for Lisa and Terry Williams.
Knowing how to rebrand or expand or when isn’t easy- it involves risk. But, if you are willing to take a chance and earn someone’s business, you’ve already taken the first step!
Wendy M Wortham