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FLASHBACK ARTICLE FROM SEPTEMBER 2009
As a longtime professional mobile entertainer, I have seen more than my fair share of weddings, but recently I got the opportunity to be the groom, and take a long hard look at our industry from the other side.
In July, I was lucky enough to get married to the longtime love of my life. So I thought it would be a great experience to pay extra-close attention to the way certain vendors and professionals handled MY wedding day. What did they do that I loved, what did they do that I don’t care for, or just didn’t feel comfortable with.
Over the course of the next few articles, I want to take you inside the planning and preparation process of my wedding. I hope I can share my thoughts; concerns and experiences with you so that we can all strive to be better, and make a more memorable event for our clients. Most of this information will relate directly to weddings, but I hope you will find it useful in every aspect of your business.
I found it very interesting that, the day after my wedding three DJ friends of mine called me and immediately wanted to know what it was like to be the Groom rather than the DJ. What did I learn, what can I tell them to help them in their own sales process, what did I like or dislike. This is one of the reasons this industry is so amazing. Mobile Entertainment continues to grow and evolve, and the people in the industry are always willing to share and grow together as an industry.
As professional mobile entertainers, it goes without saying that we have all seen our fair share of weddings and other events, but what separates us from them? Have you ever stopped to think about that simple statement? What do clients think of you? Are you a constant professional? The fun guy, who’s cheap? Were you just the company that happened to be available?
We have all heard the saying a million times, but it’s true. First impressions are everything. The first contact you have with your client is the most important. This is where most sales are made or lost. There is an old saying that “people buy from people they like.” This is true for cars, couches, and speakers, why wouldn’t it be true for the most important day of your life? One of the flower vendors my fiancé and I had our first appointment with, met us at a coffee shop at 6:30 pm on a Sunday wearing jeans and a sweatshirt. She was obviously exhausted from working the same all-day bridal show I had just worked, and we are meeting when we should be home eating. Needless to say, she didn’t make a great impression, and I don’t remember her flowers.
Choose your first impression wisely. If your first contact is on the phone, as most are, I would suggest scheduling a personal consultation. If you do not have a professional office and need to meet in a public location, make it a good one. I once watched a photographer attempt to pitch $3000 and $4000 wedding packages to a bride and groom at a Mcdonald's with one of those indoor playgrounds. How’s that for a lasting impression? Choose a location that is quiet enough to talk comfortably, but not look out of place if you use a computer or other visual aids in your presentation. Always invite them to a location close to their home, avoid fast food joints and if you can help it avoid super busy places with distractions, I’m not sure you will get much done at an Ichiban or Manny’s Steakhouse. I like a nice coffee shop or Panera-type place. I am not a fan of the TGIF or Applebee’s type places they get too busy and focused on getting guests in and out.
Always arrive first and BE PREPARED! Know the bride and groom's names, if they have mailed or e-mailed you info, have it with you and be familiar with it. Brides and grooms want to feel special, and re-assured. I truly felt like some vendors I met with could not have cared less about our ideas or thoughts, and in some cases, they didn’t have any ideas for us. Remember YOU are the professional who does this for a living, have a plan for the meeting, have a plan for your client's event, and take charge. Let your client know that they are in good hands, and you will be there with them every step of the way.
Look good, remember, if this is the first meeting they will most likely make a decision in the first 5-10 minutes about you (maybe sooner). A suit and tie may not be necessary, but jeans and an AC/DC t-shirt are a bad idea. Avoid alcohol, and be upbeat and fun, think about what you would want the person in charge of the entertainment at YOUR wedding to look like, act like, be like… and be it.
Remember, first impressions are everything, I have a long list of vendors who did not get the gig because they seemed uninterested, unprepared, and unprofessional.
Jake Palmer can be reached at jakepalmer@discjockeynews.com.


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