Why You Aren't Attracting New Clients (And How to Fix It)

Sometimes it can seem like the clients are flooding in, whereas other times, you’re convinced your empty inbox is due to a faulty email account. Worry not—while it can feel discouraging, a dip in prospects can be overcome and is a timely sign to step up your business to its full potential.

Rest assured that, with the help of these solutions, you’ll be on your way to welcoming more clients to your business.

Define your dream client

Who is your perfect client? Are you marketing to them in the right ways? The more your brand speaks to the work you want to do, the more prospects you’ll begin to attract. Ask yourself what kinds of qualities your favorite clients have had in the past, whether it’s a communication style or shared design ideas. Chances are those characteristics make up your dream client.

Evaluate your brand

More often than not, prospects will find you online—is your brand turning them away? Dig into your digital presence to evaluate whether your brand really captures your style of work. How does it fit into that ideal client profile? Carve out time regularly to update your site and social media with new portfolio additions and keep your blog and press pages up to date.

Focus on creative partnerships

As you surely know, referrals are worth their weight in gold. With that in mind, place special consideration in building strong relationships with industry peers. In addition to being a team player and effective communicator throughout an event, think about ways to go above and beyond expectations with fellow event professionals. Staying on top of mind can be as simple as showing up at networking events or sending out a regular newsletter, but it can also be a chance to get creative. Create touch points to check in with others and let them know what your company is up to.

Try something new

If you’re not getting as many clients as you’d like, don’t be afraid to switch things up. Evaluate what is and isn’t working in your company and work with your team to discover new ways to generate leads. Avoid jumping into a full overhaul, though; instead, focus on one tactic at a time to see if anything works. Successful business owners often have a healthy dose of humility, so don’t get stuck in the trap of assuming you’re perfect. Recognize that you have room for improvement and take the time to figure out how you can take your business to the next level.

It’s worth noting that none of these strategies will help if your company is not delivering on its promises. New clients are exciting, but returning clients are the ultimate goal—retaining your new clients can only be achieved through quality customer service and a mindset of exceeding expectations. Let your work ethic speak for your company and your success will sell your services for you.

Kevin Dennis is the editor of WeddingIQ and the owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services, a full-service event company based in Livermore, California. Dennis is the past president for Silicon Valley NACE, and national vice president for WIPA.

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Collaborating Virtually with Vendors

All great events have at least one common factor – superior teamwork. In order to create magical guest experiences, many pieces have to fall into place, and that can only happen when a group of professionals work together with a common goal. Collaboration is key to the success of any event, but in this digital era it has taken on a virtual dimension that is revolutionizing our industry. 

  Virtual Reality and the Events Industry

The events industry was born to ultimately go virtual! We have long faced the challenges of working not only with clients, who often plan from a distance, but with each other effectively. We have an innate need not only to keep everyone on the same page, but to communicate a common big picture made up of many smaller parts, then come together for a matter of hours to make the impossible seem effortless. Virtual collaboration connects the dots that used to take extreme levels of organization, man hours and frankly, luck, to accomplish. 

  

The Benefits of Virtual Collaboration

Collaborative planning tools allow us to work together without the restrictions of geography. Apps, programs and software make it easy to maintain a database for each event, open to all who are involved, updated in real time. In-person meetings can now be held digitally, and with VR tech the experience is as valuable, if not more so, than costly on-site travel and unnecessary extra in-person meetings. Vendors can share new ideas, confirm specs, finalize pricing, and attain approvals virtually, then all of it can be uploaded, updated, signed digitally, sealed and ultimately delivered. 

  Virtual collaboration not only increases efficiency and convenience, it promotes accuracy and better end products. Instead of tracking down the information you need to confirm an event-day detail, the ability to use virtual project management software gives you everything you need at your fingertips on practically any device. 

  Inevitable Pushback

As with every introduction of new technology, there will inevitably be pushback among some towards virtual collaboration as people can be resistant to change. However, it is no longer something forecasted for the future. It’s here. There are apps, software and hardware in the marketplace, being adapted and adopted every day. Our clients expect live access that allows them to see the fruits of our mutual efforts, track our progress and both evaluate and share their opinion of our work virtually themselves. Those who don’t accept this as the reality of our industry will be left behind. 

Rather than resist, why not embrace virtual technology and find new and wonderful ways to apply it! What benefits the entire events community will ultimately benefit you. The future is now, so get onboard and start collaborating! 

With over 20 years of experience in the international events industry, Sandy Hammer is the co-founder and CMO of AllSeated, a collaborative network for planning events that offers tools including floorplans, 3D view, Guest List, RSVP, Seating, Timelines, Mobile Check-In and more. 

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Nama-Stay Calm: Tips for Unwinding at Home When Work is Crazy

I have to admit that busy season keeps me a little more attached to my office than usual. Between speaking engagements, weddings, and networking events, I find it hard to tear myself away from my work or put my phone down and leave it alone. We’re all guilty of it, but understand that burn-out in the event industry is a very harsh reality, and it can affect your productivity and your business tactics in the long run. Taking small steps to be present in your life outside of the office will save you monumental stress and maybe even some wrinkles.

Unwinding after COB

My number one tip for unwinding at home after a long work day is simply this: turn your email off on your phone. At some point, you have to leave work at work, and if your phone is constantly dinging with emails after-hours, you can never truly unwind. This is a lifesaver for me and cuts out any distractions, even if it’s just for those few hours before bed. Until you hit busy season, you don’t realize how important that downtime is.

Setting boundaries

It’s crucial to sit down and have ‘the talk’ with yourself – meaning when you’re willing to work and when you’re not. Many of us are business owners, and we sometimes take that to mean we need to work 24/7, but that’s not realistic. Try time-blocking out your day and then whatever you don’t get done will get plugged into the next day. Carrying a project into the next work day doesn’t mean failure or poor time management, it just means that it’s crucial to step away and turn off your work brain at some point.

Prioritizing

When you’re juggling ten different things all at once, it’s easy to feel as if organizing your priorities outside of work is out of the question. But at the end of the day, family time definitely needs to be a priority, as does time for yourself. If you’re finding it impossible to carve out time, schedule it into your day. I’ve become conditioned to live by my calendar, so if something isn’t on task for my day, it doesn’t get done.

Separating your home from your home office

If you’re someone that works primarily from home, I’m not the first to tell you that it can be difficult to step away from your work setup. Here’s where those boundaries come into play – you need to set limits for yourself, and what I like to call a ‘hard stop.' Whether that’s sticking to 9 to 5 work hours or mapping out your day with a strict to-do list, make sure that you’re not overexerting yourself. It’s more than okay to overwork as you would in a normal office if you’re pressed to meet deadlines, but blocking your time is going to help prevent you from needing to stay up all night.

A great way to maximize productivity and get your mind ready for the work day is to physically get ready. If you’re working from bed in your pajamas instead of following a routine to get up and work from an in-house office or even a kitchen table, it’s easier to blur those lines because work doesn’t quite feel like work if you’re lounging.

No matter where you are in your career or how big your goals for yourself are, everyone deserves a break. Manually plugging downtime into your calendar is still downtime, and you’ll be grateful for the self-care and the extra stamina!

Kevin Dennis is the editor of WeddingIQ and the owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services, a full-service event company based in Livermore, California. Dennis is the past president for Silicon Valley NACE, and national vice president for WIPA.

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Scaling Your Business with Technology

A common small business goal is expansion. This could mean adding additional staff members, increasing the number or complexity of bookings you are able to take, or diversifying your products or services to maximize revenue streams. Growth involves taking what you do well now and scaling it up to achieve new personal and professional goals. It can be challenging, for sure, but thankfully, there is so much technology to assist that the process can seem almost easy these days!    

Are You Ready to Add New Tech? 

While technology can revolutionize your business, there are a few key things to keep in mind to make it a smooth transition. When you are researching new programs be sure to note that is taking care of the majority of your pain points. Be sure to reach out to your team as well to see if they think it would be helpful to their workflow. Then evaluate not only your personal ability to adapt to new products or procedures, but that of your team members as well. Make sure that you support your team with training, and regularly evaluate and share data measuring your ROI.  

Take Your Time

Don’t change everything all at once. Introduce one new program, piece of equipment or procedure at a time and collect a reasonable amount of data before you determine what will work for you, what is better left out of the equation and what you should consider changing next. Use collaborative apps, tools or software to keep your entire staff on task and to share the results of your efforts with opportunities for everyone to reflect. 

Free or Fee? 

Not all apps and software are free, so you will likely have to invest some money in the tech you need. Before you shop, be certain your business can bear both the initial investment and any subscription that might be required. Evaluate free options versus paid ones and decide if the difference in value is worth the investment. Track your ROI so you can determine from year to year whether paid services should continue. 

Don’t Neglect the Human Touch

No matter how efficient and effective your tech integration is, never neglect the personal touch. Our world is rapidly becoming one of isolation and illusion. Clients want human contact and the ease of getting important answers to burning questions. Demonstrate to your clients that there are humans behind your technology and that their experience is your primary concern. Respond promptly to inquiries, emails and social media comments and provide top quality experiences 

  Technology has the potential to take you and your business to levels beyond your imagination. Seize the moment! 

With over 20 years of experience in the international events industry, Sandy Hammer is the co-founder and CMO of AllSeated, a collaborative network for planning events that offers tools including floorplans, 3D view, Guest List, RSVP, Seating, Timelines, Mobile Check-In and more. 

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Top Apps of 2018

I don’t know how a business today could possibly run effectively without employing some time-saving, economical, efficiency-boosting apps. Wedding clients expect faster and more accurate responsiveness from service-providers, customized to make them feel valuable, along with unprecedented access to account details, event plans and easy billing methods. If any one of these things is even a little “off,” couples are acutely aware.

Thankfully, great apps exist in free and inexpensive, user-friendly forms to help every events business meet this new level of demand. Some of the apps that you might find most useful for 2018 include:

Square Point of Sale

Square is one of the best apps to happen to small businesses, ever. This point of sale system is free to install and charges a small percentage of each transaction that you process. It allows you to accept electronic payments via your phone or device and receive those payments quickly (in some cases, instantly) in your bank account.

TripIt

When you travel frequently for business, you know how much time you can waste trying to track down itinerary information. TripIt stores everything you need in one place, making it easy to stay on top of all of the critical details without worrying about carrying around a stack of printed reservations or searching through your email every time you need a confirmation number.

Doodle

I’m really not sure how we survived before Doodle. This meeting scheduler allows you to crowdsource availability and interest when you plan important appointments and walk-throughs. Using links, each participant can check the possible options, input conflicts or preferences, and ultimately contribute to the selection of the perfect date and time for your most important get-togethers.

Adobe Document Cloud E-sign Services

Contracts are a necessary part of doing business, but they can be a total pain. Obtaining signatures, issuing copies, retrieving details when needed. E-sign services like Adobe allow you to create and verify electronic signatures that hold up in legal proceedings. It simplifies the process of sending, revising, signing and sharing contracts which accelerates your ability to start serving your clients as soon as they are ready to book.

Later.com

Instagram has become the gold standard for wedding business social media. Couples find service providers and share information with them on “Insta” making it an important source of leads for many businesses. It can be incredibly time consuming to post on a regular basis to keep your content updated while managing the operations of your business. Later allows you to pre-schedule your posts so your feed stays current and relevant at all times.

Dropbox

In the wedding industry, we uniquely have the need to share large files like photos frequently. They can drain our available memory on devices and various programs quickly. Dropbox offers cloud storage that is affordable and easily accessible from practically any device. It has numerous applications for PR, marketing, file management and more.

These are only a few of the thousands of apps available to address the needs of your wedding business. Evaluate your unique opportunities and match them with the apps that best address them, and your business could soon be operating with increased efficiency and even profitability!

Kevin Dennis is the editor of WeddingIQ and the owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services, a full-service event company based in Livermore, California. Dennis is the past president for Silicon Valley NACE, and national vice president for WIPA.

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