WedTech Summit SF15

Loren Petrowskiask LorenLeave a Comment

I rarely win anything, so I was so excited to win a ticket to WedTech Summit SF15 via Evolve Your Wedding Business podcast giveaway. Forgive me if this recap is a bit muddled.  I jumped on a red eye and arrived just as David Adler of BizBash was giving the keynote speech with a lot of great insights including how all events have a commonality with weddings, how events are now averaging 25% of marketing budgets and how event planners are the new tastemakers. I then sat in on a panel “Run your Business Better: Solutions for Simplifying and Success.”  The speakers consisted of: Kurt Kunselman of AccountingSuite, Shadiah Sigala of HoneyBook, Yaron Lipshiz of AllSeated.com and Karen Martell of Square, moderated by Marley Majcher, The Party Goddess. This was a great panel because people didn’t just focus on their companies, but interacted with the crowd and gave suggestions as well.  Marley also did a great job moderating and keeping the panel focused and on-topic. I also feel like I learned a lot about these companies that I never would’ve otherwise.  Did you know that Square also does loans and so far has given $100 million in loans? Who knew? I want to mention that there were generally two panels going on at the same time, and sometimes it was difficult to choose which panel to go to.  I’m hoping that we will be able to see videos of the panels that we weren’t able to attend. Next up I was at Fashion … Read More

Always Do the Basics

Loren Petrowskiask Loren, industry tipsLeave a Comment

Recently a wedding planner had a couple tell her a few days before the wedding that they were disappointed with her services and regretted hiring her.  They had been difficult clients leading up to this point and she was already doing everything she could to make them happy.  After getting their feedback, she went into overdrive to try to make it the best wedding ever, even bringing in an extra staff member on the day. But, you know how sometimes negative feedback can just make you unravel and not think straight?  This is exactly what happened.  Things that happen like clockwork didn’t happen that night and one part of the coordination was left out at the wedding.  To some couples it would not be a big thing, but to this couple, it would probably be a huge point of contention as they had already complained prior to the event. What did this planner do?  The next morning when she realized her mistake, she decided to refund her entire coordination fee plus whatever it would cost to fix the error of that last part left out.  She felt that she would not be able to move on had she not done this. Needless to say she was out thousands of dollars from her own fee, paying out her staff as well as rectifying the last portion. I asked her if she has a standard checklist that she uses for events to ensure things won’t fall through the cracks and mistakes like the … Read More

Don’t Mess with Money

Loren Petrowskiask Loren, industry tipsLeave a Comment

Two things that I believe are very serious are your word and money.   Your word costs nothing but the value is truly priceless.  Money on the other hand is what keeps the bills paid, keeps the electricity on and food on the table. This business can be quite seasonal and you will have to get quite good at budgeting your money.  Or depending on how you take your payments, you will need to be good with your money that way too.  Any way you look at it, money is an important thing and not only do you need to be mindful of your own money, but you need to be extremely mindful of any payments you have going out to any vendors. If you are a planner, for example and one of your duties is tracking payments for your couple, these vendors count on you as a partner that you will help keep the couple on track with their payments.  If every time a certain couple works with you, payments or contracts come in late how do you think the vendor will feel about working with you?  If one planner can always get in payments on time but another always has problems, you will start to get a reputation as not being able to manage your clients, which is not a good thing. If vendors are not getting paid, they may start to worry and worrying on the job, especially money worries is not a good thing to have … Read More

Showing Up and Matching Tempos

Loren Petrowskiask LorenLeave a Comment

There’s that famous Woody Allen quote “80% of success is showing up.” I have found this to be true, if you are consistent and open when you do show up.  I’ve been successful in a particular way in following up with emails that I will share with you. I tend to respond to new inquiries first over anything else.  Whether the event date is in two months or two years, the client has the same level of enthusiasm and want to hear back from someone right away.  In general, they will be impressed by a quick response and will set the tone for future communication. Next, I will scan my in-box for anything more pressing and go there next.  Then, I will go through the emails one by one and respond.  Every so often there will be a particular client that will email several times a day or maybe once a day for a spurt of time and I do respond, engaging as best as I can with this person as usually is just that, a spurt. Also keep in mind that most of this information will be very new to your clients and it will be up to you to educate them as best as you can. They may be under a time crunch to make a decision on a particular vendor, or maybe they have a limited time to communicate because they are on a break from school, whatever it may be they may have just a limited … Read More

For Second Shooters, Assistants and Others Branching Out

Loren Petrowskiask LorenLeave a Comment

I was recently asked by a second shooter about how to get on a vendor list and it made me really think for a moment and then second it made me think that I needed to update my free guide. I first thought about the criteria that is used for vendors and what would make this group of people different.  I think a big one would be if you were branching out with the blessing of your former boss or if you snuck off in the night, stealing clients in the process.  I’ve seen both scenarios and trust me, if you are planning your exit, the first plan works out much better.  In the cases I’ve been familiar with, there have been a lot of hurt feelings and the bosses would’ve rather have been told of the plan so they could help them leave on the right foot rather than be blind-sighted by it. Because the venue’s relationship is probably a long-standing one with your current (or former) employer, it would help if your departure was smooth and one that they helped transition you into. Another factor would be if you could get your own clients and make sales.  Part of what venues look for is if you can bring clients to the venue.  How quickly you can build up your own clients would be a big plus. An additional advantage for you would be to be unique and different from others in the market.  Of course it would be … Read More

Price Undercutting and Your Competition

Loren Petrowskiask LorenLeave a Comment

I often hear a lot of talk about (mostly) newbies and not so new vendors offering super low prices or doing dramatic cuts in their pricing to drive business their way.  If you have experienced this and it is upsetting to you, think about the two different scenarios and why it is frustrating.  First, the newbie: They are new to the business and offering a lower rate.  Ok, when you were new to the business, no doubt you were offering lower rates too. Are they marketing themselves better than you? Are they selling to couples who you think would be your clients? Are they providing good value for their services? First of all, if they are hustling and getting out there and getting clients, good for them.  Clients don’t only book on price, weddings is very strongly a people business and if they don’t connect with you, they will very often, not book.  On the flip side, if the deciding factor for booking is a budget product or service, maybe they were not your target client to begin with?  The final question, “are they providing good value for their services?.”  Now I’ve heard of people saying “oh that vendor is charging $xyz for this and that” but if the clients are happy, then that’s all that matters.  They are serving their niche and you need to serve yours. The next group are the vendors who have been around a bit who, for whatever reason have dropped their rates.  You never know what would … Read More

David Beahm visits Hawaii

Loren Petrowskiask LorenLeave a Comment

I was super excited that a couple of weeks ago David Beahm came to visit Hawaii for “A Day With David Beahm” sponsored by MPI Aloha Chapter.  Even though I admit, it’s pretty awesome to live in Hawaii, we fall short in things like big name concerts, great Mexican food and quality event/wedding education, so this was an amazing thing! The day was separated into three parts–an intimate breakfast, lunch, and happy hour (or what we call pau hana here in the islands).  I was fortunate to have attended the first session. It’s not everyday that you hear first hand from the person that decorates The White House, or One World Trade Center, or pulls off amazing events out of not only already beautiful places, but places that you couldn’t even imagine changing as he does–but truly transforming them into mind-blowing spaces. The part that was particularly endearing about him and his talk was his extreme humbleness and sincerity.  David joked how Forbes ranked event planners as one of the top 10 (8) stressful jobs in 2015 (I think we dropped from last year). Another thing he talked about was how he got started and how he thought that being nice in business was key and how he worked the first three years of his business out of his studio apartment. Other takeaways for me included not apologizing for your pricing – you have to make a living and pay for what you are delivering.  The next was to help your clients … Read More

Are You Using Your Most Productive Time Wisely?

Loren Petrowskiask LorenLeave a Comment

According to Dan Ariely Duke Professor of Behavioral Economics, the most productive time of day is the first two hours after you are fully awake. How are you making that work for you? For some with your current schedule it may seem difficult to manage that (feeding the kids, driving them to school, having a full-time job etc.). How about waking up earlier? If that is already a stretch for you, making those few hours in the morning, or whenever you get up, your GO time. This will be your time to do whatever is most important to you and whatever you need to focus on the most. For example, if it is difficult for you to do your finances, maybe pick one morning every week to get it done. Chances are that you will be more focused and you will do it quicker than if you wait until the afternoon or other times when you are less focused. Same thing would be with other tasks that you may not like so much. Is blogging a chore for you? Start your morning writing. Not a fan of editing? Start there. Now you may be thinking, what about all the other things? The things you like doing, you will figure out times to do them. You always will do those. Do not spend the most productive time of your day on social media. Really, do you want to give the best part of your day to Facebook? To Instagram? Yeah, I didn’t think so. How do you … Read More

The Continuous Vendor Relationship

Loren Petrowskiask Loren, industry tipsLeave a Comment

Over the years, I’ve never been asked more by vendors than “how do I get on your vendor list?” But what a lot of vendors don’t realize is that it truly isn’t a sprint, but a marathon of sorts of a process.  In my free guide I show you not only how to get on the vendor list of your favorite luxury hotel property, but how to stay on as well.  Most lists are cylindrical and change yearly or on a need-be basis. You have to look at each relationship if it is mutually beneficial.  This may seem obvious, but some hotels charge you to be on their lists with an upfront charge or as you get the bookings, must pay some sort of commission.  You must decide if this is worth it to you or would you be able to get these bookings on your own?  Some properties force clients to pick vendors exclusively off of their list, so in these cases, it may be beneficial to be on that list.  You also want to consider how you are treated by a particular property and ease of working there.  If it is difficult for you to do your job due to load in constraints or uncooperative staff as an example, I’ve known vendors that have refused jobs at certain venues because they know they cannot perform at certain areas to the fullest of their capabilities.  When and if this changes, you will need to reevaluate your situation. Once you are … Read More

Power of the Pause

Loren Petrowskiask LorenLeave a Comment

Last week I was helping a friend with her sales calls and I was pretending to be her client. Because she was reading off a script, it didn’t sound natural, there was no inflection in her voice and she sounded rushed, with no pauses.  Two key things that I learned in Toastmasters were vocal variety and the power of the pause.  These two things will help you to sound more natural, and keep your clients engaged when speaking with you. First, imagine how a robot speaks with no change in the tones.  Pretty boring, right?  If people are listening to you speak like this, especially over the phone, they will no doubt lose focus and not think about what you are trying to tell them. Next, think if you are listening to someone who just talks on and on without coming up for air.  For one thing, you won’t have an opportunity to ask any questions (if you had any) and second, you’re not really getting a chance to really digest the information that is being told to you. If you are the seller, you want to engage the client, keep them interested and then give them an opportunity to consider what you are saying.  Sometimes the most powerful moments are when you step back, stay quiet and listen rather than fill up all the empty space with words. I understand wanting to work off a script so that you do not leave anything out, but practice it so it sounds natural … Read More