“Take PRIDE in your JOURNEY, and be PROUD of every STEP you TAKE, towards your DESTINATION”
Forty years ago, I recall my very first job being a “wake up call” of figuring it out rather than expecting anyone else to adequately train me. My twin sister and I would learn at a very young age to train ourselves. We were fifteen years old.
Our first job was what we thought going to be lucrative working as waitresses and earning tips. This wouldn’t work out and the details will have ya all shaking your heads just as much as I was shaking my fists back then alongside my twin sister in our uniform issued Pizza Hut shirts, black no slip shoes that were bought at our own expense and hideous black polyester pants we bought from Kmart.
At least we didn’t have to buy our own shirts but, stay tuned because “those shirts” will come up again later in this scenario.
Getting trained to waitress wasn’t ever going to happen because our manager had stuck us in the kitchen washing dishes after both dishwashers quit. Rather than putting us on the floor, this manager decided to replace the two dishwashers with the twins he had hired for one position but put to work in another position.
How many times in anyone’s life have they been asked to do something outside of the scope of what they had been hired to do? It’s not uncommon. In fact, throughout my career as well as my sisters, we’ve made ourselves indispensable by doing far more than what was expected of us. That first job taught us plenty I can assure you. It also taught us when to say “take this job and shove it.”
Our manager had gained twin dishwashers that he was subsequently paying waitress wages which are far below industry standards to wash dishes. Dishwashers are paid minimum wage. He was covering his “bottom line” at our expense. Hired to waitress but washing dishes instead? True story. Cindy and I had been brought up not to question authority. However, during the days and weeks that followed, we were also becoming infuriated at consistent excuses regarding why we were in the kitchen rather than on the floor.
We were young and dumb but not dumb enough to fail to realize that waitresses made tips and a far lower hourly rate solely because they made tips. Dishwashers were supposed to be paid minimum wage. No one tips the dishwashers which is why they are paid minimum wages.
After two weeks of consistently asking our manager “when we would be put on the floor,” we also quit Pizza Hut. It was a Friday night with a full house. The waitresses were making great tips and Wendy had enough. I told my sister “this is ridiculous and he’s deliberately keeping us in this kitchen doing manual labor. The cook told me that dishwashers should be making more than $2 an hour because waitress get tips. We are walking. I’m lit we spent money on these ugly shoes and hideous pants and you should be too.” Cindy agreed.
When we decided to quit that night. the manager also “wanted his shirts back.” Cindy and I took them off while Cocaine played on the juke box. We walked out in our bras, hideous black non slip shoes and polyester pants. The crowded restaurant turned around to watch us leave right through the dining room.
I’m hoping that manager was forced to wash dishes on a busy Friday night himself. Arrogance. I’ve encountered it over and over again throughout my career from managers. I no longer work for whip crackers and haven’t in many years. Neither has Cindy. I’ve also not been afraid to leave a job that was taking advantage of my stellar work ethics or loyalty.
This twin team learned all those years ago that we were never going to get on the sales floor working in the kitchen after two weeks. We also learned that we were being paid waitress wages to wash dishes from the cook. Cindy and I had learned the hard way that managers lie. We also learned that managers will cut your throat to enhance their bottom line.
How many of us throughout our careers have had a carrot waved in our faces by a sales manager? How many of us have been told by a manager “you are making too much money so I’m going to cut your commission.”
Over forty years of my career, I’ve met reckless managers who think nothing of sending their best salespeople to pick up their dry cleaning or to clean the public toilet on the sales floor. They put their best people in the position of sucking it up because they think they can. Commission cuts or restructuring to your sales staffs earnings is a sure fire way to lose the best people you have but, I’ve met a few managers who think the best way to build their numbers is at their sales staffs expense.
In business, managers have consistently squeezed every nickel out of their sales staff and then wondered why their best sellers left? They left because you forced them into leaving.
Cutting a salespersons commission because they are selling is the single stupidest thing I have ever encountered. But… I have encountered it throughout my career and I’ve left my employers. Greed loses valuable employees. Reckless managers that use their position to punish the strongest sellers are a businesses worst enemy.
EXPERIENCE MATTERS. Whether your experience took years to learn or months, you learned. We learned too. We learned that to succeed in life we would need to succeed in business. If you don’t honor your promises and commitments to your clients, you won’t have clients for long.
“FAITH is the FISHERMAN, who CAST his LURE into the WATER, with the BELIEF he WILL be FED from PERSEVERANCE” (without FAITH, there is no HOPE).
If you are in sales, you are expected to sell. You are expected to know your product. After the sale, your client expects you to take their call. If you don’t, I can assure you that your client won’t be buying from you again.
When Cindy decided to climb on board with me at Texas Twins Events, our concept was to give others the events we had never had. We became the people we had never met. We encountered surprises on location and we provided solutions. We listened to our clients needs and built a relationship with them. You cannot mail order a successful endeavor. No one can. You build a business. You create a brand. You also put the work in to get the results out of it.
Relationships are built on trust. Our clients can trust that we will always address and resolve their problems.
“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” – Milton Berle
Managers want sales and they don’t care who suffers trying to learn the trade in order to obtain them. They cut commissions on their most successful sellers. They force their sales team to sell more, more, more without comprehending that addressing concerns of previous sales is essential to the life of a salesperson.
Selling isn’t a numbers game. If you don’t take care of your client after the sale, you aren’t an exceptional salesperson. You will also never earn repeat business. That’s right I said EARN.
This is sage advice from someone who has spent most of their life in the sales industry. I learned every aspect of any industry I worked in for solid reasons. If you don’t know the product, you can’t effectively sell it.
I have worked throughout my life with lazy salespeople who put very little effort into their job but expected big results. How so? Well, lets use an example that anyone within the sales industry can comprehend.
When you work commission sales and take a day off after spending hours pitching a product to a client only to have the client “walk in on your day off and buy from someone else,” you learn to go to the expense of having business cards made with your days off listed in bold print and put your phone number on them.
My lazy coworkers watched me spend hours with clients but, snatched them on my off days. Wheh you swim with sharks, you learn quickly how to keep your head above water.
In the “old days” there weren’t cell phones. Back then, I advised my clients “I work on commission so please don’t come in on my days off to buy.”
“Wendy what are you getting at?” Have patience my friends. Wendy learned the hard way that perseverance is the plow that pushes dreams into reality.
There aren’t any shortcuts in life or especially in business. If you don’t put the work or the effort in, you are never going to get the results out of sales or success.
“It’s NOT considered BUILDING a BRIDGE with the NEIGHBOR, if YOU are ONLY going to USE it, to BORROW the HORSE and MILK his COW.”
Last night, an email sent to me read “this is a strange request but here it goes.” The request? Someone was contacting me during my office hours to tell them how to do my job. Hilarious isn’t it?
Someone had noticed that I had created a niche and became successful in a field after years of dedicating myself to exceeding client expectations and earning a stellar reputation within the events and customer service industry.
Someone wanted me to drop everything I was doing to address my clients needs and educate THEM at MY expense?
Someone thought that “asking for an apple and expecting a pie” was a normal request. It isn’t.
You want me to teach you how to succeed in a business I created to help others not other salespeople but other people coming to me for help. People referred to me by happy clients. People who came to me not you. WOW. Call Coke and ask for their formula. Call other successful entrepreneurs and ask them to take time from their clients to train you. Interrupt their day because you feel entitled to do so.
Who are these people? Lazy and entitled individuals that think their outrageous idea of climbing on your back isn’t an unusual or even arrogant idea that’s who.
“Why would I create competition that doesn’t exist? I learned every aspect of this industry and earned my success the hard way through determination, perseverance and hard work. Others want a short cut. They want someone else to do all of the work and then find a short cut. There are no short cuts in the customer service industry. Dedication and determination are required as well as education pertaining to the product or service you are selling or promoting.”
I was being interviewed on the radio few months ago with my twin sister by someone who like many others couldn’t understand how I made being different in this industry work.
Upon learning more background and what it took to make this endeavor work, the interviewer had asked me to share my success so that others could find a new way to create a business based on my hard fought and won success.
There has never been an “easy button” to success. Ask anyone who is successful how “easy it was for them to achieve success” and you will quickly find out that it wasn’t easy.
But, don’t ask me to teach you what I’ve learned and create competition that doesn’t exist for me at my expense. Ask someone else. Interrupt THEIR DAY at THEIR EXPENSE to teach YOU how to do THEIR JOB. Let me know how it works out for you.
This morning an email on LinkedIn asked me to help a new connection “get 50k followers.” This connection had 167 followers. What the?
Let’s review how social media works for anyone assuming that I have over 20k followers thinking I just woke up one day with a successful social media. I didn’t.
Social media is tit for tat. If you don’t put the effort in- you will never get the results back. Social media requires interaction. It takes hours of your time to promote your connections in order for them to promote you.
Cindy and I have spent years promoting our connections. YEARS. We didn’t ask anyone for an apple and expect a pie. Instead, we planted a tree and watered it. Eventually that tree provided shade.
This is common sense but, for everyone and anyone thinking or assuming that everyone else is going to promote you “just because” you need a wake up call.
Our social media connections aren’t based on numbers. There are based on relationships. Quality versus quantity.
How often do you “like” or “share” someone else’s social media? How often do you promote your own connections? If you do none of these things I can assure you that finding 50k followers is as unlikely as winning the lottery.
The truth is that I’ve spent nearly twelve years on social media PROMOTING MY CONNECTIONS. That’s right. Cindy has too. We’ve spent hours for years promoting others. In turn, we have a dedicated and loyal following.
Cindy and I weren’t “gifted” a strong following. We instead earned our social media standing the hard way. Surprised? Don’t be.
In 2012, I decided to start a people over profit based business. I wanted to make event services affordable to anyone.
If you are connecting with me to pitch me on a product or generate more sales leads, I am not interested. Why? I don’t have to be. We are booked up to 10 years out based solely on repeat clients and referrals.
One client even rebooked a Vow Renewal twenty years out. What the? Yes because she knew that if Cindy and I were no longer here that our family would take care of her event.
We work as a team at almost all events except prison weddings based on scheduling. If I’m at a Prison and can’t be at a county jail, Cindy handles the jail while I drive to the prison. If I’m in Texas booked out at Prisons, my niece, Leigh Ann handles California while my son handles Oklahoma or Arkansas while Cindy and I drive to Louisiana or Texas Prisons. I have a entire family that can address prison weddings. Why would I create competition that doesn’t exist? This isn’t a business you “break into” its a business you earn your way into.
These “other vendors” screened clients and upcharged them for “being different.” We didn’t. Instead, we gave them the event services they deserved and treated them as family. We earned our reputation the hard way by exceeding our clients expectations. “I want to do what you do.” Hmm. Really? How dedicated are you to doing what I do? Are you willing to spend years running here, there and everywhere to make Dream Events a Reality? Are you willing to learn any and all aspects about this business to be educated when a client wants a Hand Fasting Ceremony? To know marriage law? To fix a brides broken tooth on location? To calm down a drunken guest? To realize that any job on location is YOUR JOB? There isn’t a manager to “hand off” the dirty work to or the problem customers. You are the manager. You are the problem solver if you are operating your own business.
From cleaning up vomit on the dance floor to advising Inlaws and Outlaws to zip it and or leave a venue? Just how dedicated are you to being a success in this business? Cindy and I ARE that dedicated.
Can you afford to “spend years operating in the red to earn your place in this industry?”
Just how much money have you set aside? Planning and preparation in any new business require funding. Do you have it? I did. I wasn’t going into this business to get rich. I went into the event business to help people. I don’t have to work to earn a living. Shocked? Don’t be.
I spent most of my life “having to earn a living.” I worked harder than anyone else. I was thankful to have a job back then. Unlike other salespeople sitting around doing as little as possible for management, I did it all. I could special order. I could handle warranty. I could address an upset client. I knew what to do and how to do it because I spent hours reading manuals.
I knew every aspect of any industry I worked within. Not because I was lucky but because I knew that to sell anything I would need to know every aspect of the product. I was the #1 salesperson at all of my former positions not because I was lucky but instead because I was responsible, resilient and determined.
I’ve met lazy people. I’ve also worked with lazy people and I always outsold the lazy people. Truthfully, I feel sorry for lazy people because they will never succeed. They might get by but they will never be successful.
Several months ago, one of my former TDCJ Clients told me “I want to do what you do. I need to make $5k a month.” I laughed. Someone wants to “go into the Prison wedding industry making thousands of dollars at the expense of single income households?” What’s wrong with people these days?
I expanded Texas Twins Events to include prison weddings to help people not to take advantage of them by trying to get as much money out of them as possible. Listen up “trying to get rich quick” people, we are in the Dream Event business. Our goal and role is to make Events affordable. ANY EVENT, SERVICE OR REQUEST including prison weddings.
What we do might look easy but I can assure you that becoming successful in the Prison wedding business wasn’t easy. Like anything else, I learned every aspect of this industry. I knew the answers to problems my clients faced. I held their hand through a confusing and time consuming process. Being there for my clients is essential to success.
Knowing how to address their concerns and even council a few prospective clients while advising them not to marry might shock you but, I treat each and every client like my own child. I’m honest, reliable and dedicated to helping them make the best decision based on their circumstances.
I don’t “talk people into marrying prisoners.” On a handful of occasions, I’ve actually “talked people out of marrying a Prisoner” when it was in their best interest to reevaluate. Cindy and I will always put our clients best interests first and foremost.
There’s a reason former prison clients rehire us for the Vow Renewal, Photography Bookings, Baptism, Birthday Party and more. What is it? Loyalty. Our clients are far more than clients. They are our friends.
When I began performing prison weddings, many people were offended. When I became successful in this sector, many people were intrigued. How could my efforts benefit them? How could they become successful? It isn’t by emailing me to teach you to be me. I work as a consultant but I do not work for others who think they can do what I do at my expense. Wake up. Figure it out. It looks easy because you haven’t spent years earning a dedicated client base. I have. I don’t advertise. I never have. My reputation is a priceless commodity.
One of my connections consistently comments on my posts “send me your clients.” What the? How about finding your own clients? I didn’t create this business to benefit my competition buddy. Find your own clients. I earned my clients and their loyalty.
If you don’t understand your clients needs and more importantly their income, you are never going to succeed in the Prison wedding industry or any other industry for that matter.
“Get rich quick ideas” are a pipe dream. Reality is and always will be a wake up call….
“GRATITUDE is the DIFFERENCE, between APPRECIATION, and a SENSE of ENTITLEMENT”