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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?


Instagram can be Instagood for Your Business

By: Tracey Manailescu

www.wpic.ca

Photo:
www.avenue-photo.com

What is Instagram?

Instagram is an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, apply digital filters to them, and share them on a variety of social networking services, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr.” Wikipedia

How to create an account: It’s easy. Really. Download the Instagram app on your phone. Enter your email and choose a password.  When you have signed up for your Instagram account, edit your profile and add your company name, a photo of you or your company logo, and your url. You can also add a small blurb about you and your company. Find people to follow and get followers right away by clicking on the button to add your Facebook friends that have Instagram accounts. They should follow you back.

Do you have a personal and a professional Instagram account, or do you lump it into one? I just have one. There are so many debates about this but I try to keep it related to my world which consists of weddings, conferences, travel, eye candy and some random family & pet photos. It sounds a bit eclectic, but that kind of fits my personality.

How often should you be updating your Instagram?  Update it when you have something interesting & wedding/design worthy to share. Over posting is going to turn people off. (Unfortunately, there isn’t an option to hide someone’s posts yet like on Facebook, but you can block someone from seeing your posts. Go to their account, it’ll still show that they are following you, but they won’t be able to see your posts. Go to that person’s page. Click on the button in the top right corner, beside their username.  “Block User” button in RED will come up,  click on it, and they will no longer see your photos or get notifications from you.

What photos should you share on your Instagram? Show your followers work that you have done, shows photos of couples & their weddings that you have worked with/on, shares a glimpse into your wedding company & you (and your team) on site visits, planning meetings with vendors, cake tastings, catering tastings, share what inspires you, what you are capable of, share when you attend conferences and courses, share your magazine ads or wedding show booth, show your office, desk, files, any badges you have received for getting in publications, any products that you offer, etc. Consider this a free way of advertising yourself to potential clients. This being said your followers should be able to see a little bit of you in your posts, too.

Contests can get you get more clients, likes and comments on your Instagram Hold contests for your local followers or potential clients. Who doesn’t like free stuff, right? Some ideas are to add a wedding related photo and have followers guess what the photo is, where it is, have followers provide captions for your post, etc. for a prize. (A prize could be movie passes, a gift card for a date night to a local restaurant, etc.) Have a contest for couples to share their engagement photos with you to win one of your services

Example: #Lovebirds, share your engagement photo with us to win a 2 hour Consultation with ****** Prize valued at $200. Add photo and tag #WPICwearengaged When you like or comment on peoples posts, they are much more likely to reciprocate.

What is the deal with #Hashtags? Hashtags are key words. When you add a hashtag that is relevant to your Instagram post and someone is searching for something specific, your photo and account will “pop up”. This is a chance for those people who checked you out to “follow” you (this translates into  increasing your followers).  Examples: #romance #GTAweddingplanner #WPICcertified #weddingcake etc. Try to not over use the #’s though. It is recommended to use 1-3 #hashtags with each post.

Add video: Share some exiting moments or highlights of a wedding or event, or a “how-to” segment in a short video, so your followers can feel more connected to you. Click here to see Instagram’s tips about adding videos.   www.wpic.ca

 

Some Instagram Statistics:

Instagram launched in 2010 and currently has  7.3 million daily users worldwide

Most posts happen on a Thursday, but Sunday is the most effective

Instagram is available in 10 languages

55% of users are women, 45% are men according to Social Times

34% of users are aged 25-44 according to Social Times

www.wpic.ca

Some Groovy Apps for iphone and Androids:

If you want to add some “awesome-sauce” to your photos, why not try some of these apps to increase the look and feel of your photos? (Some are free and some are a small fee.)

Aviary for touch ups, frames, stickers, etc. (Free)

PhotoWonder lets you edit, makes you skinnier, removes acne, add makeup, add cool effects, make collages, and change colour saturation. (Free)

A Beautiful Mess has some filters to change your photos up, but the best part are the fun borders,  text options and hand-drawn doodle overlays. (Cost is .99 cents)

Snapseed red eye filters, saturation, cropping, and anytime you want photos to pop. (Free)

Overgram So many great fonts to add text to your photos (Free)

Facetune corrects small facial imperfections like wrinkles, whitening your teeth, get rid of blemishes, enhance your eyes and lips. (Cost $2.99)

Bubbleframe  Create photo bubbles with your photos (Cost $1.99)

FuzelPro lets you create animated collages.  What?  Yup. Click on the examples from their site to be amazed! (Cost $1.99)

8mm A whole bunch of cool effects for shooting vintage videos, and lets you add dust, scratches, flickering frames, light leaks and more vintage effects to your films(Cost $1.99)   Share some of your favourite apps in the comments section with us!            


Keeping Afloat in the Wedding Industry (When You Feel Like You Are Drowning)

By: Tracey Manailescu

www.wpic.ca

Photo: Avenue-Photo.com

It is hard to stand out  in the wedding industry whether you are a wedding planner, photographer, designer, cake decorator, venue, wedding salon, tuxedo store, makeup artist, DJ, band, etc.

The same can be argued for any industry though. Just think about real estate agents, stock brokers, lawyers, models, doctors, police, nurses, actors, etc.

No matter what field you are in, there is competition and always someone who knows more, has more experience, and has more talent. Stop worrying about what your competitors are doing all of the time, and do what feels right for you.

Networking, attending conferences, attending open houses to see what new products or services vendors have to offer, spending money on targeted ads (print or online), a professionally made website, upgraded business cards, a booth at a wedding show, sponsoring your services, better SEO presence, etc. can all help get you on the right track.  When you invest in yourself and your company, you can’t help but grow as a person, and as a business owner.

However, if you did all of the above you would run out of time, funds and your sanity very quickly. You just can’t do it all!

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What to do?

  • Pick a few things that resonate with you. It needs to be things that are key to making you feel better about yourself, your image, your passion and what your message to the wedding world is clearly all about.
  • Be open to change.
  • Update and upgrade your skills.
  • Be clear and concise with your branding.
  • Target the market that you fit into.
  • Stop feeling guilty.
  • Keep educated and informed.
  • Spend your money wisely.
  • Keep track of your expenses.
  • Attend industry events & conferences that actually relate to what you are in need of learning or reaffirming.
  • Take a step back, and take a deep look into your business from an outside perspective.
  • Survey your couples, industry friends, WPIC alumni, and family. Ask for feedback about what you could have done better, find out what they think that you did (or do well) and make the appropriate changes where you see fit.
  • Keep your personal life and home happy. Stay healthy, join a gym, get walking, eat better. Go shopping for new clothes or shoes, get a new and fresh haircut, play with your kids, go on a weekly or monthly date night with your better half. Learn to do something you have always wanted to do like painting, cooking classes, learn a language, go dancing, etc.  Strive to be happier, and you will be!

www.wpic.ca

On a personal business note:

We, at WPIC have really looked into what our graduates and industry friends are asking for, based on feedback from surveys, and conversations. We  looked long and hard at where our money goes, and where we advertise this year. We have had to say no to some amazing opportunities and experiences, because it just doesn’t fit into our vision. We looked at our Google analytics, read our class surveys,  and made an informed decision about letting some of our staff and ads go that are no longer working for us. Yes, it has left some hard feelings, but in the end, this is what is best for us, and WPIC at this time.

We feel good about our decisions and look forward to seeing some of our ideas take shape and grow.


Get Noticed at Networking Events and Conferences (in a Positive Way)

By: Tracey Manailescu

www.wpic.ca

Photo:
www.avenue-photo.com

Being in the wedding and event industry, you will be attending networking events such as company launches, open houses, WPIC get- together’s, conferences, and upgrading your skills with courses and job specific training on a regular basis. Sometimes attending these things can be intimidating, and make us feel uncomfortable. Reasons for this could be that you don’t want to go alone, not knowing who will be there, not knowing what  to say to attendees or vendors, feeling awkward standing by yourself, wondering if people are judging you, etc. I think we all have gone through this at one time or another. Is that going to stop you? It shouldn’t.

Here are some tips that I have found to be beneficial, and might help you through these difficult moments:

Dress professionally: This will instantly give you confidence. You know you are dressed the part of a professional when wearing a business appropriate outfit. This means no micro-minis, clothes that make you bulge over, running shoes, flip flops, low-cut blouses or pants that are too tight, etc.  Females should have hair and makeup in place, too. Whether you like it or not, first impressions DO matter. A traumatizing experience that I had not so long ago, was with my hair. My hair always looks the same, so I decided to straighten it for a change.  It takes a really, really long time to straighten my hair, especially since I am not used to straightening it. It took even longer than expected, and I had a bus to catch that was going to the event and I only was able to straighten a little more than half of my hair. Really. Humiliating, I know.  So, I had no other option but to grab an elastic and run down to the lobby of the hotel to catch the shuttle bus so I could make it on time.  Luckily, after quite a few laughs from some fellow WPIC’ers they got together and helped me put my hair into a super cute hairstyle, which somehow got me compliments all night long!  LOL! Next time, I will give myself plenty of time for this type of thing.

Wear something that stands out: This is a great conversation starter and something I just do 99% of the time. It could be as simple as a statement necklace, a fun pair of socks, a great tie, a fun hair-clip or mini fascinator, fedora, a great pair of shoes, purse, whatever. It just eases people into a conversation. I know this works first hand, because whenever I see someone with something unique at an event, I most often stop them and tell them I like it, and it most often turns into a short but sweet conversation.

www.wpic.ca

Get out of the corner: Sure it is always easier to stand back and watch, but it’s much more fun and easier to communicate if you get in the middle of where the action is. Take a deep breath, hold your head high, put those shoulders back, and go for it.

Have an elevator speech: Be prepared for people to ask you about your company. Be able to explain what you do, and why you do it in about 30 seconds. Example: “My name is Tracey Manailescu. I am the Co-founder of  WPIC. We train and certify wedding coordinators from all around the world, and we are brought down to resorts to train their wedding departments, as well as run a Wedding Association for our members. Currently, we have upwards of 3900 alumni.”

Ask questions of the people you are speaking with: This is a BIG pet peeve of mine. I can’t count how many events I have been to where someone corners me and talks non-stop about themselves and what they have been up to, about personal problems, etc.  Then they leave, or I excuse myself because I can’t take one more second of it, without having once been asked a single question. This is such a turn-off! Don’t monopolize someone’s time when everyone in attendance is there to make the rounds, meet contacts, make small chit chat, etc.  If you want to have one on one conversations then make an afternoon date for coffee, a drink, or plan a phone call.

www.wpic.ca

Bring business cards: Be prepared to exchange business cards with those you speak with. It helps others to remember your name and company as well as showing them that you are serious about your business. When you take a business card from someone, it is always best to accept it with both hands and look at it so the other person knows you have actually paid attention to them.

Perfect that handshake: Practice on friends and family members. Remember that you should always be shaking with your right hand.  Keep it quick and firm.  If you have a tendency to have sweaty palms, then a good trick is to keep your hands full with a drink, an appetizer, handouts, or something similar.

Focus on the person you are speaking with: This means don’t be looking across the room scanning for your next victim. Pay attention to the person you are with. Live in the moment. Keep eye contact (just not in a creepy way…)

Keep in your own personal space: There is nothing worse than a close talker.  We all fear that  eventually we will get backed into a corner, or flat against a wall with these people. If YOU are the close talker, then prepare yourself, and ensure that you keep at least 2 steps away from the person you are speaking with. Imagine an invisible divider. I am quite certain that close talkers know who they are.  The look of panic and effort to get away from you should be your clues.

Two drink maximum: Please don’t be that guy! You know the one who slurs, trips and makes obnoxious comments in the name of alcohol. This is not a night out on the town at your favourite bar or night club. Yes, absolutely have a drink or two to calm those nerves, but there is no need for any more then that at a work related event. I can give you an example of just this…At an event in Mexico last year I was given 2 tequila shots.  I felt relaxed and happy. I fully admit that my alcohol tolerance level is not very high. So when, a group of people from a hotel with a high interest in working with WPIC came to speak with us, and they asked the waiter for another tequila for us to ‘salut’.  Well, I know better, but I did it so as not to insult anyone, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Something humiliating happened to Danielle during the conversation, and I lost it. I couldn’t compose myself, and had tears streaming down my face with laughter. They said their goodbyes, and we have never heard from them since. 100% my fault.

This list should get you off to a great start.  If you have any tips that have worked for you, please share them in the comments section.


WPIC Goes to Beautiful Barbados

Tracey Manailescu

Photo by www.Avenue-Photo.ca

www.wpic.ca

www.wpic.ca

Let me start by saying that if we ever win the lottery, I am buying a vacation villa on the West Coast, specifically in Holetown, Barbados. Danielle is going to buy an apartment at The Crane. There. I said it. It is out there in the universe. Now we can move on…

We were in Barbados from May 1st-5th, 2014. Our main purpose was to speak at, and run a booth for WPIC, at the “Forever I Do Expo 2014″. What we got, was so much more. WPIC instructor, Sue Morris, surprised us at the airport and drove us to our hotel. (She then pretty much gave up her entire schedule for the rest of the week and spent time wowing us 24/7.)

We stayed at the Accra Beach Hotel & Spa, which just so happens to be where our next international certification course will be held on June 19th & 20th (yes, that’s a plug). Did I mention that the Banquets & Conferences Coordinator,Janelle Cheeseman, is WPICC?

www.wpic.ca

Sue then picked us up for dinner and we went to the St. Lawrence Gap, at Apsara Samudra, which features northern Indian & Thai cusine. They can do weddings for up to 100 guests. We had the best table in the house, on it’s own level (one table only) and overlooks the ocean under the stars, and has a chandelier. Thank you so much, Marie for the amazing dinner and your hospitality!

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The next day we met Ms. Cheeseman in our lobby and had a site visit of Accra Beach Hotel & Spa, where I must say, had the best rum punch I have ever tasted (apparently aromatic bitters and cinnamon is the secret).

We were then whisked away on more site visits with Sue Morris to  Sea Breeze Beach Hotel, the Hilton Barbados Resort, The Crane and Bagatelle Great House. (Which all just so happen to have WPIC certified Coordinators on staff). These wedding locations are mind blowing! Each has their own charm and totally different personalities.

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www.weddingpprocourses.com

Sea Breeze Beach Hotel

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Photo: www.totallybarbados.com

On Saturday, we were speakers at the Forever I Do Expo 2014. Our topic was “Planning the Perfect Wedding”. We focused on trends for 2014 and the steps to follow when planning your wedding. Of course, we recommended hiring a WPIC certified wedding planner. We have 38 WPIC Alumni in Barbados ;)

www.wpic.ca

We had a booth to promote the next WPIC certification course, too. Our beautiful booth was designed by Renaissance Designs Inc.

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The most amazing thing we did while in Barbados, was to go zip lining at Aerial Trek. This was exhilarating! We had to zip line across 7 platforms. The staff were very professional. I highly recommend this adventure.

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There was so much that we saw and did, thanks to Sue Morris! We saw from end to end of Barbados. Now I can’t wait to go back and focus on exploring every nook and cranny of it with my family for week or month (or two). I want to swim in the ocean, have drinks on a patio (again), try some more restaurants (we went to some beautiful restaurants all just so happened to overlook the ocean), go to a nightclub and lime (relax.)