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Co-Founders are Speaking at Wedding MBA and Jamaica Bridal Expo

Tracey Manailescu-Danielle Andrews Sunkel-WPIC

WPIC Co-Founders, Danielle Andrews Sunkel and Tracey Manailescu are looking forward to a busy, yet exciting time for the next two weeks.

www.wpic.ca

We are heading out to Las Vegas for a WPIC Get-Together Vegas-style on Monday, September 15th, 2014 with approximately twenty WPIC Alumni. Then we will be speaking at Wedding MBA on Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 on “International Wedding Trends” at 9am. Make sure you come by and say hello to us at our double booth!

www.wpic.ca

Then, we are heading off to Montego Bay, Jamaica to speak at the Jamaica Bridal Expo Conference, where we will also have a booth for the two days afterwards at the Jamaica Bridal Expo to promote WPIC!

www.wpic.ca

We are thrilled to be heading off to Negril afterwards to experience Couples Resorts with site visits and of course, an irie time ;)

We will be taking a ton of photos and experiencing it to the fullest, so we can share it all with you upon our return.

 


Body Language for Initial Client Meetings

Photo by Avenue-Photo.com

Photo by Avenue-Photo.com

by Danielle Andrews Sunkel

Here are some tips to use Body Language to your advantage during Intial Meetings with potential clients.

Give a Confident Handshake

A handshake can give the impression of a strong, confident and capable person or a meek, nervous one.  You of course, want to give the impression of confidence and competence.  A finger shake or wimpy, weak handshake doesn’t cut it in professional situations.

wedding planner meeting couple

Strong eye contact, warm smile, firm handshake

Look the client in the eye, and put the web between your thumb and forefinger into the web of their thumb and forefinger.  Your palms should be pressed together.  Smile nicely and apply as much pressure as they do.

Warm Smile

Smile too big and you could look creepy, disingenuous and mistrustful, no smile and you are unfriendly.

smiles

Strike a balance in between with curved lips, little to no teeth and as Tyra would say “Smize!”  Make sure your smile reaches your eyes.

Keep Your Body Open

Crossing your arms makes you look closed off, guarded, and even disinterested.  Keeping your arms open makes you seem more approachable and open to their ideas.

confident young professional

This planner looks friendly, confident and approachable

Another tip is to keep your hands at waist level, straight at your sides can make you look disinterested and if you put your hands too high, you seem way too intense.

How You Sit

Sitting directly across from the couple, is a power situation and could subconsciously turn the couple off.

wedding planner sitting across from couple

The Wedding Planner seems more reserved and formal.

Instead, try angling your body to the side, that subtle shift says, we are a team, I am on your side.

wedding planner having coffee with couple

The wedding planner seems much more at ease and approachable.

Don’t check your phone

It is like broadcasting, “You are not the most important client to me!”

looking at phone

Hide that phone!

Give potential clients your full attention so that they know you will be attentive to you when they are your client.


Would a Bride Sue her Uncle?

couple suing

By Guest Blogger, Andy Ebon, of The Wedding Marketing Blog

DIY brides are well-intentioned. I truly believe that. Money is a limitation for everyone; however, within a couple’s available funds, the bigger challenges are priorities an decision-making.
I confess that my patience with pretzel logic varies widely from day-to-day. Formal sales education taught me it was an important and noble process. A skill to help prospects move toward a good decision, benefitting them.

That perspective has served me well, over time. The key, for me, was to qualify a prospect and understand their needs. If I believed I provided a service that was a good fit for them, then I made every effort to close the sale for our mutual benefit. Conversely, it’s OK to disqualify a prospect.

Entrepreneur’s Disease

One strain of Entrepreneur’s Disease is the belief that every prospect should become a client. If you’re in business long enough, you know that feeling in the pit of your stomach that says

“I’ve got an opening on the calendar, but I might regret taking this client.”

What one does next indicates whether we have learned from prior experiences.

Going For Broke

In moments and days of impatience with brides, who were all over the map, I would sometimes use Andy’s Go For Broke negotiation strategy.

Long before the term DIY, littered the landscape, brides showed much similar irrational judgment. To me (and I stress that this is my personal and considered opinion) brides have some amount of money to spend, but they rarely have a plan about budget priorities. And THAT is the key.

There are certain critical services which just don’t lend themselves to DIY.

Sometimes after completing a booking, a new client might ask me for a vendor referral. A photographer… in this example.

A short version of the conversation might sound like:

“My uncle has offered to do the wedding photography, and I’m seriously thinking about accepting his offer. I had budgeted $1000 for a photographer, and just thought I’d ask you for a referral, just in case you knew of someone who would do it for that amount of money?”

My response might go something like this:

“Is your uncle a professional?”

(bride says ‘no’)

“May I ask you a tough question?”

(bride says ‘sure’)

“In a worst-case scenario, if the photos don’t come out, would you sue your uncle?”

(usually, seconds of silence, then ‘why would you ask me that?)

“Well, when the reception is over and the music is finished, the food is eaten, and the guests are gone, all you have is memories… the documentation of those memories is everything. Professional photographers have all the technical and creative training, AND they have the appropriate professional gear, backup gear, and backups for backup.  I can refer you to a couple of solid photographers and they will cost more than $1000. They will be worth it. And, how would your relationship be with your uncle, going forward, if the photos didn’t come out? Do you really want to take that chance?”

At that point, after the bride got over the shock of the logic, the usual response was something like…

“I never looked at it that way, but you make a fair point. It’s a bigger risk in more than one way. Besides, Uncle Harry is my favorite Uncle. I’d rather have him as a guest, and not be distracted by what might go wrong.”

From time to time, selling involves FUD – Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt…. And that’s OK, as long as it is the truth. It isn’t a technique that I employed often, but it worked more than not, because it’s an eye-opening challenge.

More important, it kept a number of brides from making some incredibly bad decisions.

When the situation dictates, don’t be scared to take a risk. You might surprise yourself.

 

andy-ebonAndy Ebon is an in-demand public speaker at conferences and local meetings.  Now in its second decade, Andy and EBS Virtual Communications have refocused squarely on wedding marketing and small business consultation, with the launch of The Wedding Marketing Network and its affiliated companies. With industry experience of 2000 weddings, and almost four decades of hospitality and wedding marketing, The Wedding Marketing Network promises to be yet another exciting direction for Andy Ebon.

 


Love & Sunshine Conference October 26-29, 2014

The Love & Sunshine Conference is all about adding tips and tricks for working Destination Weddings. October 26-29, 2014 Westin Beach Resort & Spa, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  WPIC Co-founders, Danielle and Tracey will be there. .. Who else is coming?                                                                                                                      

BOGO Sale ends tonight at midnight!

Love & Sunshine Alumni

General Information:

Sunday – Wednesday. Oct. 26 – 29, 2014 Love & Sunshine Destination Wedding Conference & Expo is the premier training resource for wedding professionals in the luxury market to network with industry leaders, keep up with the latest trends and learn effective business strategies to grow in the destination wedding industry.

This one-of-a-kind learning experience is where you’ll gain a new perspective about the Destination Wedding Industry, network with like-minded industry professionals, the Conference is designed for you. The conference provides an opportunity to learn valuable tools and skillsets to plan a successful destination wedding. Attend hands on workshops and interactive lectures with experts in the field of business, social media, photography, gay and lesbian weddings, marketing, travel and tourism.

Registration includes:

 Pink Gala on Sunday night to benefit Breast Cancer awareness

 Two-days of inspiring, educational workshops and lectures from experts in the international luxury wedding & event industries

 Breakfast and Lunch on Monday and Tuesday

 Closing reception on Tuesday night

 Signature gifting and swag bags

 Opportunity to be included in Post FAM Trip to Curacao  Option of LGBT certification course*.

Speakers include: Keynote Speaker: World renowned celebrity Floral designer and wedding planner. Preston Bailey; Joy Agness; Mar Jennings; Alan Berg, Marilyn Cairo, Simon T. Bailey, Robert Schenk, Bernadette C. Smith; Richard & Julia Markel; Jacqueline Johnson; Manolo Doreste; Bill Hansen; Carmen Mesa; Jannette Alix; Shri Lildharrie


Consider a Destination Wedding in Canada: Mont Tremblant, Quebec

www.wpic.ca

Photo:
www.avenue-photo.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By: Tracey Manailescu

Born and raised in Canada, it always amazes me what our big and beautiful country has to offer.

We have mountains, oceans, beaches, fine dining, celebrity chefs, night clubs, theatre, summer sports, winter sports, etc. Every province and territory has something unique and special to offer. For wedding couples, the possibilities are endless.

I’ve just come back from a fabulous family week’s vacation in Mont Tremblant, Quebec, and we are already planning to go back for our winter vacation. (Eeek!  The cold, winter sports and I just don’t mix. However, I am willing to give it a go.) We stayed at the Fairmont Tremblant, and  I would happily stay there again, in fact I am quite certain that we will…

I took the opportunity to request a wedding site visit (of course) with Frederic Jean, who is the Manager, Catering & Conference Services. Let’s just say, he is awesome! You cannot go wrong with the location, or the staff. It is set up, and styled, like a ski lodge. Take a look at some of the photos to see for yourself!

Frederic Jean, Manager, Catering & Conference Services

Frederic Jean, Manager, Catering & Conference Services

fairmont tremblant water view

Photo: Courtesy of Fairmont Tremblant

Photo: Courtesy of Fairmont Tremblant

MT Fairmont in activity section

Photo courtesy of Fairmont Tremblant

Photo courtesy of Fairmont Tremblant

Gorgeous place for a ceremony and/or cocktails, don't you think?

Gorgeous place for a ceremony and/or cocktails, don’t you think?

I seriously would love to work with a couple for a wedding during the winter time here, or a WPIC event.

PhotocCourtesy of Fairmont Tremblant

Photo courtesy of Fairmont Tremblant

This entire Village is beyond perfect for a wedding weekend with friends and family. It is entirely family-friendly and actually geared towards a family experience. Picture it with a hot toddy station, maple syrup on a stick, outdoor heaters and s’mores, etc.

Did I mention that the chefs are extremely creative and willing to work with most ideas that you throw at them?

Some examples of specialty items on the menus are: Abitabi Pearl Caviar, Laurentian Cheese Platter, Maple Crumble, Guinea Fowl, Deer Tataki with Horseradish & Basil, Fresh Trout Tartare with Strawberries & Black Tobiko.

Fairmont Tremblant "Chic Shack" set up on the patio

Photo courtesy of: Fairmont Tremblant -Winter “Chic Shack” set up

Want an amazing example of customer service going above and beyond?  This hand-drawn card was left in my room from Frederic. Love, love, love it!

Hand drawn note after site visit from Frederic

Hand drawn note after site visit from Frederic

Not hooked yet? Well let me show you some other things we feel in love with in Mont Tremblant. Go on and picture it with loved ones for a wedding celebration, Quebec style. There is a Catholic Church right in the Village (a 2 minute walk).

Chapelle Saint-Bernard right in the Mont Tremblant Village

Chapelle Saint-Bernard right in the Mont Tremblant Village

Chapelle Saint-Bernard right in the Mont Tremblant Village

Chapelle Saint-Bernard right in the Mont Tremblant Village

We booked some day trips directly through the Mont Tremblant website. We did the mountain luge 6 times, went hiking, swimming, rafting, horseback riding, rented a boat and went fishing on three different occasions. There is so much to do!

Imagine doing some of these things with a wedding group?

For those who want a grown-up experience, there is the Casino close by, as well as a night club and a bar, conveniently located in the Village along with pubs and fine dining. MT Collage rafting Rafting falling

We explored nearby Saint Jovite since it was the Jazz Festival. In Saint Jovite we fell in love with a restaurant called, “Antipasto“, and went to it 3 times. Heck, we tried almost everything in the Village too, between lunches and dinners.  (Next time we might get a room with a kitchenette…No, we probably won’t, but it is an option.)

MT Restaurants with patios 2

MT Restaurants with patios

MT More restaurant with fountain

Spag & Co in the Village

Spag & Co in the Village

Whether it is summer or winter, the activities and breath-taking scenery will make for amazing wedding photos and video.

*This blog is written solely on my experience in Mont Tremblant, and was not endorsed or paid in any way by the Fairmont Trembant.


How to #Hashtag for Your Wedding and Event Business

hashtag

by Danielle Andrews Sunkel

What is a Hashtag?

“(on social-networking websites) A word or phrase preceded by a hash mark (#), used within a message to identify a keyword or topic of interest and facilitate a search for it.” Source: Dictionary.com

When used well, Hashtags can elevate your Social Media posts from average to great and can even cause your post to go Viral!

viral sign

Hashtags are used as a way to sort your photos on Instagram or posts on Twitter so that people can enter a Hashtag and find like posts.

Hashtags are a  great tool when attending an event, so that others at the event can engage with eachother, or those who are not able to attend the event can still see photos and hear quotes from the event.

If you are sharing photos from an event you planned or attended, it is a great way to steer potential followers toward your posts (example: #wedding #WPICtrends).

Here are some tips when using hashtags:

  • DO give props- If you are talking about a vendor, hashtag their company. #WPIC #awesomesauce
  • DON’T make your hashtag too long- People will ignore your hashtag if they can’t quickly decipher it.#areallylonghastagconfuses
  • DO use capitalization- Using captials for each new word can help the reader distinguish your point. #WhatsYourPoint
  • DO keep it related- Make sure your hashtag relates to what you are talking about or showing. #frankenstein
  • DO be clever-A clever hashtag that entertains the reader is more likely to cause them to retweet it or become a follower. #IveGotNothing
  • DON’T overuse hashtags- Nothing drives me more crazy than having to scroll past 50 hashtags after a photo on Instagram.  It will turn off any potential followers too. 3-5 hashtags should be your maximum. #Too #many#Hashtags #drives #me #nuts #Follow #WPIC #we #will #not #do #this #Really #we #will #not #This #is #just #an #example #See #how #it #detracts #from #my #message #and #gets #really #annoying

 


Join us in September for the Jamaica Wedding Conference!

Jamaica Wedding Conference
WPIC Co-Founders, Danielle Andrews Sunkel and Tracey Manailescu will be speaking at this conference taking place on September 19, 2014 in Montego Bay, Jamaica!

The 2014 Jamaica Bridal Wedding Conference will be held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, in Montego Bay Jamaica. This one day conference combines elements and resources for planning and executing a successful Jamaican destination wedding experience. The Jamaica Wedding Conference will incorporate sessions with guest speakers. This will allow an opportunity for both networking as well as an educational platform for those who want to learn, thrive and to be at the top of this industry.

The Jamaica Bridal Expo Wedding conference includes a range of guests and those who attend will have an opportunity to meet and greet from the ordinary to the extraordinary in one of the worlds most sought after destination wedding locations.

Come for the Conference and stay for:
Jamaica Bridal Expo


Get Inspired! 5 Blog Posts to Write After A Wedding

by Guest Blogger, Kathy DalPra, of Bride Appeal

1. Venue Review
Provide a review of the venue where the wedding was held and give your readers insight into the kind of experience they can expect there.

2. Trend Ideas
Did this weekend’s wedding feature a new trend you’ve been seeing pop up? Talk about it on the blog and give your audience new ideas to consider.

3. List Post
Have you had a few other weddings like this one that shared a similar theme, style, tradition, trend or other special element? Write a list post about it, such as “How Today’s Bride is Approaching the Wedding Cake” or “The New Father-Daughter Dance That’s Got Everyone Talking” or “Backyard Weddings Gone Luxury”. Provide a link to each real wedding post that applies to this topic with a brief summary of how each relates back to the list topic.

4. Vendor Interviews
When you’re at the event, be sure to introduce yourself to the other vendors and exchange cards. Then, follow up afterward and ask to briefly interview them about their business. Then, use these interviews to create a handful of blog posts, which could keep your blog filled with great content in between every event. Remember to keep it interesting. Brides relate to stories and inspiration so you’ll want to make sure your interview has both.

5. Real Wedding
And, of course, brides can never get enough of those real wedding posts, so remember to share the details of the event in this way too with tons of photos for eye candy.

kathy-dalpra-200

Kathy DalPra

 

Kathy DalPra is a former bridal-preneur who unexpectedly fell in love with web design and SEO. Today she helps other wedding and event professionals use their website to get more traffic, leads and inquiries so they can create a thriving business in any economy. Learn how to turn curious visitors into paying clients on her website: Bride Appeal.


10 Ways to Get More of “Your Type” of Clients

By: Tracey Manailescu

www.wpic.ca

Photo:
www.avenue-photo.com

www.wpic.ca

People tend to look for companies that have similar values, ideas and personalities. It is no different, if not even more important, that you connect with your wedding coordination clients. There is nothing worse (for either of you) then being stuck in a contract for up to a year (or possibly more) with clients that you cannot stand. There is no way that you will have their best interests at heart, and there won’t be a sense of trust between you, either. Respect needs to go both ways. Of course you want to do everything in your power to make this the best wedding ever, but you need to set your boundaries and not be a walking/talking door mat. This means have set working hours, know your limits and be able to express them, you also still be able to live your personal life amidst working with your couples.  This is huge.  Remember to keep some balance in your work and personal life. Your friends and family need you, too. How do you narrow it down, and get your type of client? Everyone has an ideal image of the type of couple that they want to work with, and you also know who you don’t. Everything you do should be geared towards your dream couple.

1. Invest in your Company: Invest in what makes sense to you. Get “weducated”. Most people reading this article are WPIC certified. Bravo!  Within the WPIC Alumni Association and networking events you can pick your alumni’s brains for advice, feedback and ask questions. Ask what they think of your website, logo, ad, etc. Be prepared for honest and blunt responses. Attend conferences & seminars around the globe. Not only will you learn from the speakers, but you will get to network and get out of your comfort zone in hopefully some really great locations (blog, tweet, Instagram and Facebook about your experience while you are there, and when you get back home). Sign up for webinars, attend workshops and courses that have meaning and relevance to what you need to know more about.

2. Believe in Yourself: (Take the Quiz in this section!) Confidence is imperative. No one wants to hire someone who doesn’t have confidence in what they do or can do for their clients. If you are feeling unsure of something, then that is exactly what you need to fine tune, and get cracking in your learning sphere (see topic above). “Get your learning on.” Most of us in the wedding industry are Type A or at least  B+ personalities. That means we like to organize, take on challenges, problem solve and make decisions and we expect it to work out in our favour. See this article to read about 25 Things That People With Type A Personalities Do and then take this quiz to see if you are a Type A or a Type B personality. www.wpic.ca

3. Advertising: Are you doing any? Where?  Are these places that your dream couple would be looking? If not, then why bother?  You should be putting your marketing $ where your dream couple would be looking for you. Example: If you want to be working with more LGBT couples, then get in front of them at the Pride Parade (yes, get on the events committee) . WPIC Alumni get special rates with some amazing companies. Don’t forget to check www.wpicalumni.com before you place an ad somewhere.  Chances are that we might have negotiated a special rate for you ;) www.wpic.ca

4. Giving Back: Is there an organization that touches your heart, or an industry event that you would like to be a part of? Sign up on the volunteer committee and get some more experience, as well as getting to know some new people who may be in need of your services at a later time, or who can give you a great reference down the road. Not only will you feel good about yourself, but you are gaining experience and showing others what you are capable of. It’s a win/win situation. Assist one of your WPIC Alumni in need of help at a wedding.  Chances are those same people will help you out when you need it.

5. Network online: Join meetup groups, Twitter chats, Facebook  groups, forums, and anywhere else your dream clients are  to get yourself noticed. Something that has been proven over and over, is when WPIC Alumni network and keep active within the WPIC Alumni Association many opportunities are born from connecting and helping each other out.

6. Reach out to Friends and Family: Who knows you best? That would be your friends and family. You should have a business Facebook page, but why not post something wedding related on your personal Facebook page once in a blue moon, just to remind people that you have availability and who you are, and what you do.  It’s smart to do this at peak engagement times such as holidays, and again once or twice during wedding season, as they might know someone who is in need of a “Month Of” wedding coordinator. *1:3 Canadian couples get engaged between December and February according to Weddingbells. *65% of weddings happen between June and September (again from Weddingbells) www.wpic.ca

7. Reviews from Past Clients or Vendors: This is your best word of mouth and free advertising. EVER. After you have worked with a couple, or a vendor ask them for a review of your services. You should be doing this anyway, so that you can improve your customer service. Send a survey or questionnaire to them find out ways to improve your business, ask what they wish you had done, what they liked about working with you, the best part of the wedding day, and if they have a testimonial that you can share on your website, or another place that you advertise online. Try to implement changes in your company based on the feedback. *If it is for your website then try to add a photo taken of you with the couple on their wedding day to add to the legitimacy of it. Share the love from your clients. www.wpic.ca

8. Change Can be Good: If you are running ads in magazines or online ads, are they the same ad from a few years ago?  Maybe it’s time to change it up. Do you need a new logo? Is your “About Me” page the same as it was a few years ago? In need of spicing it up a bit? Read this article I wrote a few weeks ago. What about your personal photo? Do you look the same? Is your website in need of an upgrade? There are so many templates that you can purchase for minimal costs and do it yourself, or hire someone to make it everything you envisioned to welcome potential clients to get a first glimpse of you and your company. Go through your website and ask some of your trusted sidekicks to read it over, too. Can you change some of your wording to reflect your message to be more modern and personal?

9. Blog: Do you blog regularly? 1-2 times a week is best. It’s a great way to get your message out to potential couples as well as improve your websites SEO. You choose the content, style and topic. You can’t get more specific then that to reach your dream couple. Give tips, advice and show your expertise and how you would handle certain and specific situations by speaking directly with them. Showcase your specialties and what you can do for them.  Make them see how you will save them time, money and alleviate stress by hiring you. customer service

10. Customer Service: Are you getting back to potential clients and current clients quickly? This means within 24 hrs. Are you listening to what your clients wants and expectations are? Are you showing your knowledge and love of weddings, when you speak with them, or when they read your blog, or even look at your website? Do your clients feel that you care and have their best interests at heart? Your clients want and need to feel that you will implement their ideas and expectations for their wedding. They also want to feel a connection with you. This means communicating with them and keeping them involved in the process (unless it is a couple that really doesn’t want to be involved with decisions). Staying calm & collected, having a sense of humour, showing confidence and problem solving skills will go along way in difficult situations. Always remember that you are a professional. If you are having trouble thinking of how you can do this better, think about a time you were “wowed” by someone’s customer service skills.  What made them stand out?


How to refuse clients gracefully

letterpress sorry

by Danielle Andrews Sunkel

We’ve all been there. You get a phone call from a potential client, you have a great conversation, you’re completely on the same page, you book an Intial Meeting and then you meet the fiance and BAM! you know this client is not for you.

Or maybe they have a completely different sense of style or want a type of wedding you are not comfortable working on. Do you ignore the warning signs or are you brave enough to let these clients go?

There are many reasons you may need to refuse clients. The beauty of owning your own business is that you get to CHOOSE your clients. A bad client can be toxic to your business and your personal life. They drain your time and mental energy. If you see the signs of an energy-sucker or drama queen, it is best to refuse the wedding. Working on a wedding that you wouldn’t be proud to put your name on can hurt your brand, is not worth the paycheck, and you may not give the client the attention to detail they deserve. The wrong clients take you away from other clients and opportunities.

Unfortunately, saying no can be incredibly awkward and uncomfortable.

How to say “No” gracefully:

  • Put it on Yourself-  “This type of wedding is not in my area of expertise.  Someone else would be a better fit to give you the wedding you deserve.”
  • Be Thankful- Thank them for considering you.
  • Express Regret-  “I wish this could have worked.”
  • Be Clear & Concise-  Don’t beat around the bush or waste their time.  If you know you do not want to work with this couple, let them know as soon as possible so they can find someone who is right for them.
  • Be Polite & Professional- People do not like being told no, even if they get rude, stay polite and professional, you don’t want them writing a bad review about your lack of professionalism.
  • Suggest an Alternative- If the clients are not a nightmare, suggest another planner from your network who may be a better fit.
  • Part on Good Terms- Wish them well and the best of luck.

Have you ever refused a client?  How did you handle it?