Getting Down to Business

Read Your Site – What Does it Say About You?

I was looking at the site of an event planner today, someone who had contacted me about working together on weddings. On their site was an “About Us” page. Yay! I could read and learn a bit about her.

Or not. Other than the opening sentence, which was launched with a typo as well, it only included their names and nothing more. That isn’t “About Us” – that is “About our company”.

In the Internet age, people want to know about YOU. And what is really amazing is that while 10 years ago, I used to point out to clients that the awesome thing about the web was that you could make your business seem as large as you wanted, now people want to connect with the people they are working with. All around, you can see huge corporations wanting to act as if they are small mom & pop shops. They want to be personable. They want you to connect with them. To embrace their brand as your own. They want you to be loyal to them and only them.

So go look at your about page. Does it tell your reader about you? Really about you? Is it full of a lot of “we” puff up text where you try to make your business sound like there are many employees when it is really just you? Big brands are envious of the advantage you’ve got. Stop trying to be something that you’re not. Be yourself. Be real. People want to work with people they like – and that “About Us” page? It is the door to them liking you. Give people that chance.

Getting Down to Business

{Get Real} Sales Workshop – Coming to Houston!

I’m so excited to share this with you!

You’ve read the funny tweets and wedding wisdom of @planningforever; we’ve looked forward to the {Sales 411} of @saundrahadley – now get both personas together and improve your sales practices for your small business. A Regal Affair presents:

Saundra Hadley’s {GET REAL} Sales Workshop – Tuesday, March 16, 2010 in Houston, Texas!

Get Real Sales Workshop - Saundra Hadley

What’s in it for You:
This one-day workshop will be chock full of applicable sales techniques that will let you leave the door and immediately implement positive changes. It is comprehensive, fast-paced, blunt, collaborative, profound, humorous and will take you to the next level of Closing the Sale with your prospective clients.

You ALREADY know that selling your services to clients is getting more challenging than ever before. An increase of competition compelled with a decrease of consumer spending and a difficult economy has left all of our small businesses in an unsettled state of mind. It’s time to analyze what we can do to be more effective and closing more sales is a definite step in the right direction.

Who should attend?
Photographers, wedding planners, stationers, bakers, hotel coordinators, videographers, newbie’s to the industry, and more. Check out for more details. If you are in the wedding industry and a professional who is selling to the consumer; this workshop will help you.

What’s so different about this workshop?
To be sure that the topics covered are geared towards “you” and “your needs”, a questionnaire will be sent out prior to the workshop date for you to fill out. From the feedback, your concerns and challenges will be incorporated and addressed in the workshop curriculum.

CAUTION: Only concrete principles and specific examples of sales tactics will be taught to increase your sales closure rate. Fluffy talk, abstract theories that only nuclear engineers can apply or empty promises of you increasing your revenue by hundreds of thousands of dollars will NOT happen. But what will happen is for you to hit the ground running and make some serious changes that will affect your bottom line.

Another workshop for our industry? Really?
There are only about a hundred new workshops for our industry, right? At first glance it appears to be a little saturated. But take a closer look. Years ago you would have to wait for a monthly professional meeting or worse, a once a year, large event conference that would cover every topic from A to Z. Small workshops that focus specifically on an area of business that you need assistance with is a much better use of your time and investment dollars.

9 – 10am Networking (continental breakfast)
10 – 12pm Workshop with Breakout Sessions
12 – 1pm Lunch (provided)
1 – 3pm Workshop with Breakout Sessions

Face the Fear
The Process of the Sale
Getting the Inquiry to Consult
Marketing “Sales Words”
Top Sales Mistakes
Overcoming Objections
Never, Ever ….
The Consult Magic
Winning Proposals
Closing the Sale
Tracking your Sales Cycle
Selling in a Recession (Sucks)

Limited seating available. Hosted at the Christine Tremoulet studio, the future home of the Delight Wedding Collective.

AND!!! Join us Monday evening, March 15th, for networking fun at the Get Real Sales Tweetup!

So? Who is in???

Getting Down to Business

You Need a Friend or Two… Emergency Planning for Wedding Vendors


If you follow me over on Twitter, you may have seen my post earlier today about the fact that it is the two year anniversary of me having major – nearly life-saving – emergency surgery today. Some of you may know the back story already. For those of you that don’t, feel free to check out the November 2007 archives. Oh, and that photo above? It is from 2007. Not today. I’m all healthy now!

As a wedding vendor, you have to take care of yourself. It is absolutely essential. Most of us are running a one person show, and if we’re not we’re still in a position where our client booked us and expect us to be there. You don’t really have an out. Especially as the photographer.

Have you spent some time thinking about what you will do if something happens and you can’t be there?

The fall of 2007, I was sick. I knew I was anemic, I had no idea how badly. I was seeing a doctor, but in hindsight he was doing a horrible job of taking care of me. When you’re sick and you’re scared, and super anemic on top of that, you might not be thinking so clearly, so I didn’t fire him and seek out other care when I should have. By the way, if you’ve never been anemic, the best way I can describe it is 1 margarita drunk. You can function, but things are a little swirly and just not right with the world. It isn’t that fun though – I don’t recommend it.

So here I am, super sick, and the only way to fix it was to give me three blood transfusions and do emergency surgery. The emergency surgery had a 6-8 week recovery time; I wasn’t even allowed to drive for 4 weeks. And I had a wedding scheduled for exactly ONE week after the surgery.

Fortunately, I used to work with the IT department of one of the big three law firms in Houston, and I also worked for two web design companies. For places like this, disaster recovery is essential, and worrying about the “what ifs” has always been a part of my business plan.

When I got sick, I already had a network of other photographers in Houston. I only had to make two calls, and I had found a replacement. I was also fortunate because I had a clause already in place in my contract that in the case of extreme medical emergency and if time allowed, would allow them the opportunity to approve the replacement, and if they did not, I would give them a complete refund of all monies paid. (Obviously this won’t work if it hours before a wedding and you need someone to step in for you, but I had a week.)

Going in to surgery knowing that all of my shoots were covered was a HUGE load of weight lifted off of me. My clients still were taken care of. Something like this can be business killer if you don’t have a plan in place to take care of your clients.

ShootQ is also now a big part of my business because of my “what if” planning. If something was to ever happen to me on the day of a wedding – lets say I was in an accident( I almost called lawyers from, seriously) and in a coma – my husband could log in to ShootQ and find out all the information needed about the wedding. He has a phone list of other Houston photographers to call. He could get on Twitter and start posting on my behalf. He could do whatever was needed to make sure the wedding was covered. Of course I would want him to rush to my side, but I would want to know that those calls were made first. Elaine & Brittany have this power as well.

An emergency like this can – and often will – happen to ANY of us. Matter of fact, I’ve stepped in two times as the primary photographer and two times as the second photographer in an emergency situation to help out other people. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

What is your emergency plan? Do you have a list of people who could step in in your place and take care of your clients if anything happened to you? Do you have an emergency clause in your contracts with your clients in case you ever found yourself in a bind?