Tuesday, April 20, 2010

When asking questions.. please note!

A good friend of mine, who is also an avid MBS blog follower recently, told me that I was spilling out too much information about my vendors and other wedding resources. My response, “That’s exactly what I want to do!” There may be some wedding professionals in the industry who like to keep all their resources to themselves- but I’m going to have to disagree with this approach to business for many reasons. Btw, here are some helpful tips to increase your blog readership.

1) Readers come back for content. The more information (not just inspirations) and practical tips you provide, most likely they will bookmark the site and come back to see if you have new posts. (I'm feeling a bit guilty since I haven't been blogging much lately. ;)

2) Readers want to know who you are working with and networking with.

3) We (MBS) update our blog with the hopes that our insight and experience will help brides, whether they hire us or not.

4) Information is meant to be shared. The more you share, the more feedback you get and become that much closer in being an expert at what you do.

5) Giving out vendor referrals is not our main job. Wedding planners are not just hired databases with list of vendors.

6) Surprisingly enough, readers are interested in your personal life.


Ok, now on the flip-side. Yes, I do love giving out information (I really do!), please also note that there are some fine lines that should not be crossed. For instance, I get constant e-mails/phone calls/ FB messages asking for some tips/recommendations for possible venues and churches- to the brides out there: Honestly without knowing your style, budget, size, and location preference, it is really hard to recommend venues/churches. I don’t mind telling you where my favorite locations are and the vendors that I love working with but I don't have 100+ locations on top of my head to give you answers right off the bat.
Now that the blog world is so open to sharing resources, some brides think that we can answer all their questions without hiring us for our services. FYI, I do charge hourly for consultations for those who may need some ideas/recommendations during the planning process. Yes, you can pick my brain, but please be courteous. I try to respond to each email I receive within 24 hours, but it would be nice to email me back to at least say thank you or honestly let me know your updates. Below, is an example of e-mails that I get from brides that throw me off a bit….

"Dear Esther,

Although I would love to hire you as our planner, we're on a very tight budget. But do you mind giving me some vendor referrals & possible venue options?"

Ummm….This is a perfect example of the line that shouldn’t be crossed. Or some brides write me the sweetest emails and express how much they would have loved to hire me as their planner if budget wasn't an issue. Let's be frank: You appreciate my tips & knowledge but not enough to 'pay' for my services.


All of my clients are on a tight budget but nonetheless, they hire us because they want us to deliver a one of a kind and unique wedding that is planned to their specific needs. We're so honored and thankful because our clients squeeze us into their tight budget with the confidence that we will provide industry knowledge, experience, and collaborate with the best vendors. So, it really wouldn’t be right to share ALL the information with random brides, when our clients are paying for these services. And it really wouldn't be right to come to the rescue and offer 'unlimited' help when our clients are paying for these services.

Of course, brides can do research and find vendors on their own, but planners collaborate with the couple to hand select the vendors whose services will bring the ideas and wedding details alive the day of the ceremony. Our experience in the industry sets us apart from the newbie brides who are trying to throw a wedding together even if they have been dreaming & planning their wedding since 5 years old.


On behalf of other wedding planners/designers/florists and other creative business owners out there, I think it is safe to say, please do not take advantage of us and our industry knowledge. Yes, we are here to help but I hope you would value our time & talent. Please respect our boundaries before calling or filling our inboxes with your questions. We love our job so much that we don’t mind sharing, but don’t take our experience and expertise for granted.


Sincerely,

Esther

7 comments:

{lauryl} said...

WOW. This is so well said, Esther!!! Thanks for putting it out there. Here, here!

nancy {So Happi Together} said...

I totally agree. Well put!!

carter & cook event co. said...

great post esther!

lo+no said...

i've been a designer in the wedding industry for over 10 years and i couldn't have said it more accurately and gracefully as you did in this post. great job!

♥Mommy C♥ said...

I just came across your blog about a month ago and I swear I was on it for hours! I absolutely love it! Keep up the good work! I never, ever leave comments on anything...but I just thought I would show some appreciation! By the way sharing is "Good Karma!"
<3 Crystal

shopgirl said...

I just stopped by and have discovered how much I like your blog and this post you have written is so true. It's the same for other types of consultation businesses where people want to pick your brain but not pay for the knowledge.

I look forward to reading more.

Cheers!

Rambles with Reese

Esther said...

I was a bit hesitant to post this entry but so glad I got it off my chest! :) thanks for all your support & love!