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I just finished reading The Education of Millionaires: It’s Not What You Think and It’s Not Too Late by Michael Ellsberg. It shook up my thinking about what it takes to succeed, and there is one point that’s particularly relevant for wedding vendors.

The Lie We Buy

We believe that if we study really hard at what we do, get really good at it, and then start a business, brides and grooms will come flocking to our door. That simply isn’t true.

The #1 mistake wedding vendors make in their businesses is believing that simply being excellent at what they do is enough to succeed.

It’s not enough to be the best at what you do. It’s not enough that you have your certification and can deliver cutting edge, top notch service.Being the best doesn’t book weddings.

Let me give you an example…

Let’s say you have the recipe for the world’s most delicious hot dog. It’s 100% organic, contains no chemicals or preservatives, and tastes like an edible orgasm. Everyone who tries one eats at least two, and they never look at hot dogs the same way again.

The response is so good that you decide to sell these hot dogs out of your house. You hang a sign, “World’s Best Hot Dogs” over your door and wait for the crowd to show up.

And wait. And wait. And wait.

But you have the best hot dogs in the world! Why aren’t people buying them? Whine.

You may indeed have the most delectable hot dogs in the world, but if no one knows about them, you won’t sell a single one.

Tale of the DJ Who Wasn’t

I’m going to tell you the story about a successful DJ team who managed to do it without being DJs at all: Stephanie & Jeff Padovani.

It’s true. When we started our DJ business, we had ZERO actual DJ skills. We couldn’t beat mix or scratch. We didn’t even have a huge music collection.

It was all slam mixing and talkovers. We didn’t even know which buttons to push on our CD player!

Despite our DJ deficiency, we quickly became highly requested and highly paid entertainers. Wanna know how we pulled it off?

We’re really, really good marketers.

Of course, we had to improve our actual DJ skills in order to secure our reputation and get continued referrals. Delivering sub-par products and services is a fast way to destroy any business.

You can’t rely on your skill as a wedding professional to book the weddings for you. You need to be equally skilled at marketing and sales if you want to succeed.

How Wedding Vendors are Like Hot Dog Salesmen

Most wedding vendors study their craft: planning, photography, video, floristry, entertainment, invitations, etc. Then they hang a sign over their door step and wait for the business to arrive.

When it doesn’t come, they complain about the economy, the media and uneducated brides who just don’t know a good thing when they see it.

Nothing happens in business until someone buys.

If you don’t know how to communicate a clear, compelling message in your marketing and compel those leads to buy, you won’t be in business for long.

To quote Michael Ellsberg in The Education of Millionaires:

“…success has it’s own skill. There’s the skill of the craft. Then there’s the skill of success…it takes about the same amount of effort to learn the skill of success as it does to learn the skill of the craft itself.”

You NEED to learn how to market and sell your services. Period. Otherwise, you will never reach the level of success you want in business.

You must become a student of marketing and sales if you want to have a successful business, and place just as much emphasis on learning those skills as you do in perfecting what you do.

The only way around it is to pay someone else to market and sell your business for you. Yeah, it’s expensive. Sales is the highest paid profession in the world.

The good news is that your competitors are horrible at marketing and sales, too. Even learning A LITTLE will put you light years ahead of them.

What have you done to build your marketing and sales skills lately?

If you’re not learning, you’re losing. Are you going to complain about the fact that you don’t have any leads, or are you going to do something about it?

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