Keys to Creating an Unforgettable First Impression
If you want to get your business on a better path to success, then it’s time to become a business leader. You can do your passion, and yes, you can make money, but if you don’t know how to run a business, then you might as well either a) learn or b) stop. Becoming a business leader includes many things, but one of the things you can do starts in the moment you first interact with someone. Yes, today we’re talking about first impressions!
Our guest is Meryl Snow, owner of an amazing catering company, and she’s an awesome speaker and coach too. Today, Meryl is teaching us a few keys for nailing that perfect first impression. Why does a first impression matter? You’ve heard the expression “Talk the talk, walk the walk,” right? Well it’s true! How you act, how you talk tells a person if they should work with you or not. Obviously, bad first impressions happen. I know I’ve definitely had a few. It is possible, though difficult, to recover from a bad first impression. Be nice, be transparent, be open, no matter how people treat you. Realize, however, that it is much easier for you to recover personally from a bad first impression than it is for your company to recover.
In your first moments of interacting with someone, you want to leave them with a feeling or idea that is unforgettable. Being yourself is key because you are a unique individual and you have so much to offer. Make an effort to have genuine interest in people and to create rapport. This is where your personal brand comes into play. You are your brand. Just be yourself. Your brand will then be clear. So many people don’t consider themselves “sales people.” Well guess what: every time you try to persuade someone you are selling them something. When you first meet someone, you are selling yourself. It doesn’t hurt to know a little bit about proper salesmanship when it is something you’re doing everyday, consciously or not. Join our little chit-chat to learn more about first impressions by listening in to the podcast!
How to create a positive first impression
How to recover from a bad first impression
How to be unforgettable
How to use persuasion in your initial interactions
You have got to learn to delegate. The only way a company can grow is when the leader can delegate and follow up on it.
If we know ourselves, we’re going to give a good first impression.
The greatest way to articulate your experience, your skills, your knowledge, and your worth in today’s competitive market is to create and nurture your brand.
MORE ABOUT OUR GUEST
With 30 years of experience owning event planning, high-end catering, and design and décor companies, Meryl Snow is on a mission to help businesses get on their own path to success. As a Senior Consultant & Sales Trainer for SnowStorm Solutions, Meryl travels throughout North America training clients in the areas of sales, marketing, design, and branding. As a valued member of the Wedding Industry Speakers, she speaks with groups from the heart with warmth and knowledge, and covers the funny side of life and business.
- Check out Meryl's Courses & Books HERE!
I'm back for another episode of business unveiled. And I'm so so excited for our guest today, because I have known her for years and years and years. We both were in the creative community together, she had an amazing, amazing business. And she was an awesome speaker. And so every time that I would go to any type of conference, usually I would be speaking but even if I was attending, I always went to her sessions and learned all kinds of awesome things.Continue Reading
And so she's got 30 years, probably over 30 years. Yeah, no, we're not saying 30. I think I backed it up to 28. Okay, so I've 28 years.
To me, I'm like, I love getting more experienced because we have more life and business experience. And then people actually start to like, listen and implement. I don't mind the experience part. It's the age like, Oh, he's old.
You are experienced. You were beautiful on the outside and the inside and age.
But you have a nice introduction. But I must say, I'm so excited to see what you've been doing. So this is good. You know, we're gonna have fun chit chatting today. We are. But I love what you have done. Because a few years ago, you really pivoted. And you really wanted to help businesses like get on a better path. And like when I say a better path to success, it's not just more events and more luxury, and how many more high end clients can we work with? It was more about being a business leader, which I'm constantly preaching to people that you can do your passion, and yes, you can make money. There's nothing wrong with that. But if you don't know how to run a business, like you might as well either a learn or be stop.
That's what you know what the best advice I ever had was from my father. And he had said to me, I think we were about
four, four or five years into the business. And he said, Merrill, I want you to always remember that you're running a business first. And then an event planning catering company. Yep, you're running a business first. And that stuck with me? Because, yeah, there to run a business, you need to think about profits, and you need to think about expenses. And you need to think about the 401, K's and everything else. And and I think that so many people in our business, they have a passion for what they do. And they're really, really good at it. But they either push off the business side because they're too busy. Or they're giving it to somebody else that really doesn't know what to do. So I think that every business owner and team member needs to learn about the business. Yep. But I know you know that. Yeah, well for the first 10 years of business, I didn't know it because I was just like yeah, this is like oh my god, I have no money money's in the bank, but like not the right kind of profit. So we're going to talk a little bit about that today. But before we jump in, for our listeners that don't know where you came from, don't know where you started. Don't know about your company. Now. Take us back to where you were. Did you grow up? Where I mean, y'all Miro own this amazing catering company. And now she owns snow. We still have this company, but you're not working on? I'm not and I've been stopped about last start from beginning. I'm from delfy I can tell from my northeast accent. Yes. And I'm not saying
Y'all, but I think by the time we're finished, I will be saying y'all.
So from Philadelphia, and
I was in college and I met my husband. Well, yeah, he was my husband wasn't that and but I met my husband. And we were always going to after college, we were going to start a
bunch of gourmet delis. Now, before at that time, this is in the late 80s. There was no such thing as gourmet delis, right. So we thought, Okay, this is going to be great. Well, we'll start with this one. And then we'll just keep adding on, because he his passion was in the restaurant business. And we thought, well, the deli is a great thing if we can really build up this artisan type thing. So we found a deli. And it was maybe 20 minutes from our house, we borrowed we put every set we had, and then we borrowed some money from our parents. And we were going to do this and it was great. And we were already and then the owner of the deli changed his mind. And he said, Well, the price has changed because of capital gains. And he raised at $25,000. And oh my god, oh my god, we don't have that kind of money. And we were devastated. And this is what I really learned things happen for a reason. Because as devastated as we were, we turned it around and said, Okay, what other type of businesses in this field that we can reconnu and then at that time, catering businesses were weren't really as they are now. I mean, they were like steam table food. It was like, you know, I think caterers were the redheaded stepchild of the hospitality industry. So we decided we were going to do that. So we did our due diligence, we did research on everything. And we opened up our first catering, but our catering company is limited in Philadelphia. So about a year or two, maybe three years into it.
We were doing an event. And I met with this client and we were doing this unbelievable. tablescape it was we call it a buffet. But
then now we call tablescapes. But it was really, really just amazing. And I was all excited. We're at the event. I set the whole thing up. I'm stand back a little bit to take it all in. And then this florist comes in and she plops this god awful centerpiece right in this center. I have my beautiful table. Oh, colors, everything I say, Oh, no, no, that doesn't go there. And the florist is where the bride ordered it. And I'm like, What? And I said, but it doesn't really match. He says I don't care. It's staying here because she paid for it. And then it's like, Oh, I didn't at that point. That's when I said, Okay, we have got to do a design company. Yeah. And then we opened up a design company within the year called offshoots. So we we didn't want anybody to have control of our events like that. And that to me was like, it was the worst thing in the world that could have happened. So we started with the design, and then we went into the personals. And then you know, we built into lighting. We didn't get into rentals, though.
And then maybe four or five years after that. We were dealing with some event planners. Now, event planners in those days. Were these blue haired old ladies that really did not do anything. They didn't. And they were sad Japan. Yes. So we said, okay, we have to have complete control, because we would do timelines, we would work all this out, and then it would just go you know, how you know how Canavan can go? Yeah, totally. And that's how we decided to start the event planning company. Then, in 2008, when the market crashed, and it crashed, and it devastated we, you know, I thought the 2008 was bad. I mean, COVID really topped us, but it are it is never happened. That market crashing in my lifetime in business. And that was really, really devastating. And we knew that we had to, I mean, I mean, you know, half of our business closed its doors, and they couldn't have events. I mean, they were firing people and laying people off. And it you know, from and this was in October 2008. And all those holiday parties cancelled. It was just pretty devastating. Yeah, that's when and you talk about the word pivot, which I hate the word pivot
Now, but we pivoted our careers pivoting. Yeah. And that's when we called up some catering companies, one in Boston, one in in Denver, Atlanta, and we we had this conference call. You were called conference calls that you know.
So we said, you know, all right, you guys, what are we going to do? We've got to preempt this, we've got to stay alive. And that's when the Philadelphia's picnic company was born. And Boston's picnic company and Denver's picnic company. And then we sold, we sold it to each different cities, there's Atlanta, there's New Jersey, there's Dallas. And we sold all that we said, Look, you guys, we've done all the work, here's all the websites, we just have to change it to your name here is all the paperwork, here's all the menus, here's everything and you're ready to roll. So they can turn a picnic company like that. So that is my story in a nutshell. Wow. So so in 2020, when some things hit, you're like, I got this because we've already had to pivot and right, we've got a harder pivot, and I can't say we got it.
But now I don't, I pulled out of the company, the day to day, my husband runs the company, but I pulled out maybe about eight or 10 years ago, because I loved teaching. And you know, I love watching companies grow and you know it, and when they get excited about it, and when they put their mind to it. And I think the biggest thing that I've learned and I'm trying to teach my clients is that you can't be a hands on. Like, if you're a designer, you cannot be actually on site design. And you've got to learn to delegate, and I and that's the only way a company is going to grow is when the leader can delegate and then follow up on it. Yep. And I think that when people do understand that they can watch their business grow and have a quality of life. That's huge quality of life. It does exist in our business, we just have to be you know, you have to think of weekends are a little different. Yep, yep, totally. Right. So how did you choose snow storm solutions when you stepped out of the day to day? And you said, I'm going to teach I'm going to do this consulting thing. And really, because you have I mean, you really, because I've watched you like, jump all in and grow and get help so many creative companies and do the data and do all the things. But did you know when you start out the day to day like, this is why I'm going to call it snow storm solution? Well, you know, I the name, it was I was always thinking it would just be my name. And then I thought, well, eventually my husband's going to be coming along with me. He's not going to be doing this forever. And he's got so much to add. So I said, Oh my gosh, Andy, we would be a dynamic duo. And he goes, Yeah, the storm. And I'm like, yeah, snowstorm. And that's how that happened. Yeah, but and I'm just waiting for my husband to come and join me. But he's still having fun. Why don't know. Yeah. But he was still having fun. Yeah. No, I mean, that's awesome. So let's talk about like, what you is one of the things that you really, really, I've watched you teach people is all about closing sales, and how the first impression matters. And so why is it so important to make sure on the first impression, that do people decide like, I yes, I'm gonna work with this person, or like, I'm not sure about this person. Like, why are first impressions so important? You know, and I think this is human nature, because the moment you engage with someone, you know, they're judging you.
First, and then they're judging what they're buying, and then they're judging the company. Right? So, it's true that and, and I think we, we all do it, subconsciously, we are judging the person, whether, regardless who it is, I mean, you know,
we've also said, you know, talk the talk, walk the walk, you know, I know it's an old expression, but it has a current concept. Hmm, think about it. You're at the grocery store and you notice expired dates and produce looks sparse and shriveled and, and the staff is nowhere to be found. Your internal alarm should be buzzing like crazy, like Get out, get out, get out. You know, it's the same concept is for your environment where you meet
clients and stuff like that is they want to make sure it's clean and organized, but they're subconsciously if they're coming into it. So that's a first impression. Ever, there's so many first impressions, not just with the person, but it's with, it's with everything that we do. And every and you know, they always say you can't, you know, change your first impression. Well, you kind of can. But it's it's much harder. But that's the obvious. It's, I think people need to understand that they are the brand, the person is the brand, the company will come along with it. But it's, it's there the brand that that will, you know, the greatest way is to articulate is your experience and your skills and your knowledge, and your overall worth in today's competitive market is to create and nurture your brand, your own personal brand and how that stands out. Absolutely. And, you know, people buy from people they like and that they trust. And it is all about relationships, especially in emotional money spending. Yes. Industry. Yep. So you learn how to make people typically, like we always want to make people feel comfortable. And like my mom always says, like, some she's like, Angela, You sure do talk a lot sometimes. And, and it's entertaining, but like, I just don't understand you sometimes. And she's like, but I mean, she's like, I think I should put this on my grade. People don't remember what you say. But they always remember how you make them feel. And and you know, what, can I interject there? Yeah, you do talk a lot. And I remember and I know, but it's not a bad way because I left your session. And I was like, Oh my god, she's so wonderful. She's so passionate. You it's contagious. And even if I got half of what you said, it was good, no. So I get that your mother's right.
But I'm like, I talk a lot because you toggle. And, but, but I had to learn and I had to like hire coaches and people to help me like, as a business person, like come up with this strategy and have a framework and you know, it's fun to be entertaining and like, tell and share the craziest story sometimes. But it's like, I want people to walk away with something that they can actually take, take and say, Oh, my God, I learned this from this girl. And like it's fun of it. Or remember Monday, I don't care. I just want them to remember one thing, that something happened to me that changed my trajectory and my future and my bank account and my team. And like, how can you know you do it too. And so my next question for you is like, what so somebody that's listening, and they are recovering from like a knot, which this is funny, so not so great impressions are, this is like me now because especially when in 2020 happen. And we like literally live in our pajamas and like yoga pet like I'll do zooms with yoga pants, and like a nice shirt on or whatever. And I've got my dogs my lap. And so, you know, I don't dress up that much anymore. I mean, I think it's just like, well, I gotta be honest with you. You don't. Because whenever I saw you before, you were just like, like, heavy makeup, the hair was done. And you know what I'm saying? You know what? She's beautiful either way. Yeah, so But you're right about that. But go ahead. I'm sorry. No, I was just gonna say like, sometimes it's funny to me, because I'll run into people like literally, I'm in yoga pants and a GSD shirt. Like, that's kind of my everyday thing. It's comfortable. I do laundry, you know, it's clean, I take a shower, but I don't feel the need to like dress up and put on makeup every single day anymore. You at least put a bra on. Sometimes.
Every sports bra like I've gotten more into, because I'll go workout I'll workout in the morning and I might just stay in my sports bra all day. Right? Like, it's not about like, always, because I do think people look to this sometimes like is women and they would look at us and judge us. And they would base our success off of like how we looked or what we wore in like, y'all, that's I've never been that girl ever. And so it's funny, because if I, you know, go run into somebody somewhere and I'm not expecting to like see a client or prospect or anything. And they look at me and they're like, Oh, this short, little blonde, like what can she add? But it's so funny because recently, I was talking, I ran into somebody, they're like, Oh, this is Angela and blah, blah, blah. And the person was like, you know, Hi, nice to meet you. And then something was wrong with their phone. And so I don't remember exactly what it was like something was there. Their iPhone was running slow or something and so the girl was like, Oh my god, Angela is a wizard technology like she can probably think
fix it. And I'm like, so what's the problem? And you know that he said, you know, whatever, blah, blah, blah, blah. And I'm like, Oh, well, first, like, let's turn it off and turn it back on. And he kind of rolled his eyes at me. And then I'm like, go to your settings, check this and do this. I mean, literally, in 60 seconds, I like fix the problem. But I mean, I am a tech geek. And then the whole thing changed. And he's like, well, what exactly do you do? And then all of a sudden, he was interested. But it's like, he looked down on me, because probably, I look like, just hold on, right, which I probably did. But if you never say like, you shouldn't treat people you shouldn't, just the way it is, look, that's right. And that is though human nature. So there is always when you're going to SP a bet you have to recover from I mean, that that you totally recovered from it. Because it and I think that the best advice is to be totally yourself. Don't try to, you know, just be open and really transparent. Because we're all the same. And we all have these insecurities. And we all have this and just be really open about it. Mm hmm. So, there, so I do believe there's definitely, you know, I think there's recovering for a personal first impression, but it's very difficult to do a business first impression
to recover from because if they're experiencing bad service, or experiencing that, that's more of an uphill, you can do it. But it's more uphill, you know, it's,
it's, it's, it's two different ways. It's like, if you plan all your meetings at a coffee shop, as opposed to greeting your clients on site with a glass of wine, neither is better or worse, they're just simply different approaches to the client experience. And I think we all need to evaluate what our client experiences. Because, you
know, I'm just laughing like, the other thing I was gonna say, you know, as, as a person versus a business.
This entrepreneur organization that I'm in, we had an It was a virtual event, but they had sent out these little packages from a new company that we were trying to support support local. And, you know, nobody asked me because I'm not really in the party planning space anymore. They give me a more like call Angel for technology, which is great, so exactly what I want. But then when we send out these packages to 243 members to be exact, and then I get a package in the mail, and I'm like, mmm, it's missing a few things. Like, what about the salt? And what about this, and there was no recipe card or you know, whatever. So, but, but I told the executive director, and they like, sent an email out, like, recovered, and then we made it funny. It's like, haha, we can't sin, you know, the alcohol and this and that, well, I was gonna go because I wanted to do a little social post on it and a shout out. And so but like, I didn't have any tequila or any of that at home, I don't really drink on a regular basis. And so I'm like, I the only time I could go to the liquor store was at like nine o'clock in the morning. And it was the morning that once a week, I douse my hair and like coconut oil. Super, super greasy and clean. But it's very healthy for my hair. Yeah, to shower cap on and that I throw away. And so and so then I put a hat on. Okay, so I like have coconut my hair this? Well, I mean, just gross, right? But I'm like, Who the hell am I gonna say nine o'clock in the morning. So I'm literally there's like two cars in the parking lot. And so I go into the loop. Now I know the owner because of all the events we used today. And so when I walked in, I was like, hey, Paul, how are you? And he just looked at me? Like, Who the hell are you? Like, you I kind of did look like a homeless person. And so, like, I went, and I got what I needed. And I went to check out and he just kind of looked at me really funny. And he's like, Did you find everything that you need? And I'm like, Yeah, I did. And he like, hesitated to, like, tell me the price as I pulled up my credit card, because I know I was getting some like, very, very expensive tequila on purpose because I like as well and
and if I'm gonna drink, it's gonna be good. And so I'm, I'm like you I said, I was like, You didn't think you'd be seeing me in the liquor store at nine o'clock in the morning. And he goes, Oh, my God, Angela. And I was like, yeah, it's me. And he's like, I knew you from your voice because I listened to your podcast. Like, do you want a shower? I'm like I do Paul. I'm like, Listen, I got coconut on my hair. And he's like, I'm not gonna lie to you. I'm like, I know what you were thinking. Like, there was some homeless girl coming in to like get some cargo and then I saw check. I was like, the most expensive to kill. I get it. It's funny. But he's like, oh my god. I recognized your role.
And he's like, I haven't seen you in years. And, you know, then we laughed about it. But it's almost again, like, that's another story where it's I mean, I was kind of embarrassed. I don't think I go out with a shower cap anymore. I have this great visual of you doing that, though. But it's just like, if you can, again, he he was kind of judging me. But then it's like he knew He's like, Oh my god, I just listen to your podcast all about finances, and blah, blah, blah. And then the doctor in scrubs behind me who was also like, looking me up and down. Like what?
Again, but you never but my thing is, like, always try to add value. And be nice to people. Like, even though they may treat you wrong, like just be nice to be done. Like, make it right. Yeah. And so like, that's my whole big thing is, if something goes wrong, or something goes bad, and you need to recover from it, like, you don't need to, like waddle in sorrow and pain, like say you're sorry, try to make it right and see what you can do to make it better. And people are still going to be assholes. And they're insatiable. And you cannot make everybody happy. That's right. So, you know, when when people ask me, like, Oh, my God, how do I get over this? And I'm like, you learn something from it. Right? Right. So you can always learn from it move on, but like, shit ain't ever gonna be perfect people's, like, Get over yourself, get over yourself. It's true. How can someone make sure that you're absolutely unforgettable? after someone meets them from like, the very first time?
You know, it's,
it's kind of hard it But no, it's not really hard, you just have to gain the clients trust. I mean, that's it and gaining the trust is you have to know who you are. And you have to because a client can certainly tell if you are nervous, or you're being misleading, or if you're you just have to be
yourself. And people like to work with people they trust, right? I mean, you gain trust by showing genuine interest in them and building a rapport. You know, I think too often in our businesses, that we we think that we know what the client wants, because we do our jobs, and we do it well. And if you're having a wedding, we know that you're gonna have this and this and this and this and, you know, whatnot, and we may change somewhat, but are we really speaking, and really building a report to the client, because everybody's needs are different. So, you know, I think it's important to have these conversations and it's all about the relationship as it's all about the relationship and everything that we do, not just sales or business, I mean, everyday life is is about a relationship. And our clients need to trust us and in trust that we will fulfill their needs, and you need to be friendly. And you know, and I'm not talking about like punching the client playfully, or stroking their hair, right. I'm talking about like, creating, right, creating a real report, understanding them and remembering, you know, your research and becoming a reflection of what they desire. You know, it's something like that. But But I think though, an easy tip, I think is
it's a little exercise that I like to do, it's what their personal brand statement is. So if if I was to say to you, okay, Angela, your brand statement is I want you to answer this I am a blank who blanks for blank. Right? Okay, so I am a GST leader who gets shit done so people can so I can be present is did you Oh my god, you did it perfectly.
Perfectly because number one, alright. I live first tell you what most people say I then planner who works with weddings for such as such a company, okay. And I say no, no, no, that's what you do. That's not what who you are now what you said I write off loved you from the beginning. Because that shit done. Yeah. So that to me, and what was your last thing that you said? Because I got excited about it. So well. My thing is like, people are like, Why are you so psycho about like, GSD and get shit done. And I'm like, when I get shit done. I can be present in my everyday life. And so when I like when I'm doing podcast, I'm 100% here, right? And then when I'm with my family and my sister's kids, and I'm doing and stuff and gymnastic stuff, it's like I don't worry about my phone. Like, I am not worried about answering clients emails and answering text message and because we really try to schedule the business out and so that to me, is
Calendar blocking time blocking potty training your clients like how valuable the time is together. And so when people are like, Well, what does that mean? I'm like GST gets shut down. But the payoff is so you can be present and like enjoy your life and not worry about all the distractions when you're doing something that is on your calendar time that you have taken and chosen to do something with that time.
payback, right? That's right. Oh, my God, I did it. Right. Yeah, totally did it right. I mean, you saved you say, 15 minutes off the podcast.
I think that we have to know who we are, we have to know what our skill set is what we can offer a client and that nobody else can, I think that we need to step back and think of all these things that you're good at, and, and what and that is not just what you do for a living, there's certain things that everybody is really good at. And we've got to portray that out. Because once you identify your strengths and your weaknesses, because we all have those two
areas that that you need to improve. So I'm all about like, everybody says, like this first impressions, and, and they think it's just how do I look? How do I talk? You know, that's important, too. But that first impression, that's what that is. But first impressions go into second, and third. And fourth. And this is the personal brand statement. And not just for the business, the business has its own identity. So you have a brand for the company, which is the personality of the company and the brand for the individual, which is the personality of that individual. And they they're not always necessarily the same. Yeah, that's so true. Well, and also to I think that as a teenager, like my, I saw my dad work for the same company forever. And when he retired, I realized like, oh, my god, that was your identity. Yeah. And who you are. Yeah. And then I think our generation felt like that, or this, especially this, this new generation coming in is not like that, which I love. I think you're absolutely right about the Father. Because I think and I think these millennials have got it right. Everybody says, You can't get him to work. And that's not true. It's not true. And I think what they have, but my generation did not have because I think
these millennials looked at my generation. And like, just like your father, that was his identity, he went to work at the same company. He did the same basic thing, you know, that that and they and the kids saw how hard you saw how hard your father worked. And that was his identity. And I think the millennials are saying, Yeah, that's not happening in my life. I want more balance. I want more family life, I want more me time. And I think there's nothing wrong with that. And I love seeing how these companies have shifted like Google kniga all these these companies have totally shifted with giving people more personal time work from home time. And this is prior to COVID Yeah, and I think that the the companies have listened to the millennials and i think that you know, I you know, United States and Japan are the only ones are like our Workaholics. Everybody else like you go to Europe. I couldn't believe I was like traveling in Europe and and every place was closed at lunchtime. Yo, I was like what you know, that's why I want to shut both know they're on break. I mean, they take these lunch, like hours.
And I sit with it. You know, they have something there. They you know, if you want something from me, you will do it when I'm available. Yep. And did I go back to that story? Yes, I did. Yep.
They still don't lose the business. They don't so so we could take a lot of good things from them. Yep, it's still gonna be there. And that's another thing that I learned really the hard way from a coach who said, You don't understand like when you start to put boundaries and parameters around your time and forcing people to think to be thoughtful, that you know, some people say like, Tom is money when my dad was sick. He's like, Thomas precious. Like, you can always work more you can make more money, but I'm not going to be here forever. So put your GT phone down when we're at dinner. Like that's Yeah, yeah. And sometimes I would listen, but I still wasn't there. Like I was still thinking about what I needed to be doing because I didn't know how to turn it off. Right? But then you lose somebody's love and you're like shit, yeah, listen, like cracks when shit starts to become real. Yeah. So I tell people like don't wait for a tragedy to like, be proactive and like learn these tactics. And so the true No, but right before my Father. He was never said
But he died. But I'm sorry that that came out anyway. No. I know three weeks before he died. He had called me up. And he kept calling me and comment. And finally answerphone say, Dad, I'm really busy. What do you want? And he said, I just want you to know that there's more life out there than work. Hmm. I want you to I want you to take cruises. I want you to do this. He was going through this list. Yeah, yeah. Okay. Okay. Okay. And then weeks later, he died asleep. It's almost like he knew because he had this conversation with each of my sisters different, but a conversation that was this kind of life altering type thing. And it's like, jeez, I wish I heard that before, you know, because it but would have made any difference? I don't know at that. I mean, it certainly made a difference after he died. And that was a big deal. So you're right about these things. And I think that's all and I know, this is about person impressions and stuff like that. But I think if we know ourselves, we're going to give a good first impression. Right? We just are. Yeah. So I want to ask you to like some people, you know, they're like, Oh, I'm not in sale. I used to be that girl. I'm not in sales. And now it's like, hell yeah. And sale. You are everybody. Oh, yeah. Convert. And yes, like, but when you're passionate. But also there's this this word persuasion that some people could say is manipulative. However, how do you think persuasion plays into first impressions? Yeah. And how can people like be aware of it and practice it more? Well, it's actually really, really simple. Because you're right. I don't like the way persuasion too, because it sounds like you're trying to get a sound car salesman, doesn't it? Right. And it's not at all, in my, in my mind of persuasion is always just assuming that you have the job. If you go into a meeting with the client. And you're, you're not saying if for if you book or if you do this, it's just like, it's when it's when we'll have this here. And then we could do this, and it's a putting you're inserting yourself into the event or whatever they're doing. And once you do that, that's just human nature. Because, you know, here's, here's a perfect example of a good persuasion.
I have a list of different qualifying questions that I we give to our social clients. And everybody says to me, Well, what do you say for the corporate client? And I said, Oh, my gosh, you never asked those qualifying questions for the social client that you would you don't ask those to a corporate client, or they just hang up on you. And they said, What do you ask them? And I say, ask them two questions. And so a corporate event planner calls up and she'll say, you know, we're having an open house for 100 people. And then my first reaction was great. have you planned this event before? So then she was say, either, yeah, you know, I could do this in my sleep. I've been doing this same event for 10 years, or and then that if she says that to me, then I know I'm dealing with a seasoned event planner. Right? So then I'm going to say, after I get that information, I'm going to say, Okay, great. What role would you like me to take in this process? And they usually say, What do you mean? Well, we can order your rentals, we can do your design, we can do the ballet, we can do the musicians editor. Oh, okay, great. Why don't you do the rentals? I'll take care of the musicians. He had to book the valet for me. Do you see what's happening here? I've got the job. Yeah, totally. You know what I mean? So it's just by that's persuasion, it's not anything tricky. It's just I'm not, I'm saying. And the other thing is, I did some major upsells. Because if I didn't say, what role would you like me to take? She wouldn't know exactly what we can do. Exactly. And I think that is the big persuasion here. Yes. And, and so it's really not rocket science. And everybody says, you know, how can I be? You know, I think people stress too much on on sales. Because when I, I spoke at TSA a couple years ago, and in the group of people there had to be, I don't know.
I don't remember maybe 300. Attendees. Yeah. And then I asked them to raise your hand if there are any sales people in the audience, and maybe 25 people raise your hands.
That's funny. Yeah. Have you ever tried to persuade or convince
or influence someone? You know, everyone is selling something, right? Yeah. And and that's just like you if you're a mother, and you know, you're trying to get your kid into pre K, that's selling and that's persuading. I mean, we are all selling, you're selling yourself on a first date. You know, right. I mean, so we're all in sales. It's just just because they're not actually talking directly to the client. We're all still in sales. Everybody is selling something. Hmm. It's so funny because I am so into Apple products for the outcome, which is it helps me be way more productive as a creative. Yeah. And so many people when I I'm just very passionate about my Apple products. We only teach on Apple products. Not that I can't do PC. I mean, I did PC for years. Mr.
world, so yeah, yeah. But you know, like, when you make that change, it's like dry, it's like literally riding a bike. And taking the training was totally different. Yep. But this lady that I was talking to most of our clients, they're over 55, they know they need to change, they have all they have the iPhone, they have the iPad, and they have a PC. And most of them, they just don't know, because no one has ever shown them or explained to them. The whole reason of why Apple products are created for creatives, right? And so she was interviewing me for something, and to do like a productivity day for her team. And she's like, well, all the young ones, like they all have this apple stuff. And, and I'm like, and she goes, you know, they're just constantly on that technique that that and I'm like, but you have to have a strategy. They know how to play on the phone, they don't know how to make money on the phone, you still have to teach them as a leader. And then I said something and she's like, Why don't Mac people say that? Why did they say in fact, I did a few videos about it. Just yesterday, about why did they say they need to look at another desktop? Like what does that mean? For you? Because we zoom. And so you know, my four fingers up, and I she was like, Oh my god, you may not gonna have all that. And I was like, yep, and you're gonna have all these different desktops. And this is like my podcast days, I'm going to talk to 10 people, I have 10 desktops. Every desktop has the person's picture. It has their all their profile stuff like every desktop. And so for me, it's a productivity thing. Or it's not that I'm a cool Apple girl in the cult of Apple, right? Like, and no Apple doesn't pay me. They don't sponsor people. Like, it doesn't work like that. I love the products because of the tools that it allows me to help so many people. And so after the call, she's like, I guess I just need to go get a Mac right before like doing this whole session. I'm like, yeah, yeah. Yeah, you know, but it's like, I'm persuading them to go Apple because I'm showing them the benefits that PCs just weren't built to do. Now they weren't. And that's okay. Like, there's nothing wrong with it. But every day someone's like, Are you trying to persuade me to get an Apple product? I'm like, Yes, I am. Because it'll change your life. That's right, because it changed mine. So I'm like, take it or leave it. I don't care. But yeah, really, really good for you. Yeah. I mean, it's so that's just a form of persuasion. It's like, I don't care. Like you're probably gonna hire me regardless. Because your team needs the help.
You're not you're gonna get more out of it. If you actually have the tools that we have data around that it works for crazy just works.
So what what part of
Well, before we before I go into my next question, I do want to bring something up about like data. So before we were recording, we were chatting just about the events industry, which, you know, I feel like now marijuana, we're very much focused on some other things. However, our my client base, and my bread and butter are still creatives, and it's still my heart and soul is still in hospitality. And so you are sharing with me a study on how many people in the event community and catering community and hospitality community, like we you share with how many people took your survey? And then what the results were? Yeah, sure. Sure. Well, this was I called it the state of the event industry. And I ran it. The end of August to September, something it was a two week, two weeks. And I just put it out on social media and into a lot of different groups. But that's all I did. And I was shocked to get 3131 47 so 3147 responses out of people. It was a lot of people in our industry, and the people that
replied were the venues, hotels dmcs meeting planners, wedding planners.
There's event producers, caterers, college campuses, designer florists, lighting, rental companies, photographer, videographer, musicians, performers tech support
freelance independence as suppliers, industry associations, and then some other people. Maybe there's like 50 other people that did not really fit into a category. But anyway, so there, this was a great representation of our industry. Yeah. And out of it. I asked them if they were owner or an employee, and 60% of them were owners and the rest. Were some, there was a small percentage for gig workers and the rest were employees. And the average business had I asked how many years? Has your company been in business? And over 30% was 21 to 40 years. So that's, that's a good bit. Yeah. And actually 12% was over 41 years. That's a no. So we've been in business. Yeah. So then I asked them, are they are you currently working full time working part time laid off? So furloughed? So unfortunately, at this time, 38% were laid off? 20% were furloughed. 19% were determined eight it
3% were working full time. And 20% were working part time said that to me was looking pretty grim at this in this time in August, because I think at that time, we were all thinking that, you know, when we were in March, I mean, we were thinking okay, a couple months this will be but now we're we are in September when wedding seasons happening. And we're all sitting here. So this was there was a little bit grim.
Is there. The next question is, is the business currently operating? 100% 50% less than 25%? Or closed? So 68% was operating less than 25%? And almost 30% was closed? Hmm.
Yep, yeah, approximately what percentage drop and then revenue for the last five months?
I put 100% was at almost 40% and 75 to 90% was almost at 50%. And really, in the comments of that, they were saying were 95% 92%. I mean, you know, so it was a much higher percentage. Hmm. But what out but the reason I want you guys to hear this is because a lot of people are closing their closing, the way I looked at it is closing a chapter taking all that you've learned and all those years of working your ass off in the hospitality industry, right? make other people happy, right? That's what this is. Right? So what can you do to take all that you've learned? Do something else, reinvent yourself, start a new business. But what can you do to draw from that, so that when you move forward into something else, that you can still make that first good impression by sharing something positive? that came out of some? When people say like, 2020 was horrible. It's such a bad thing. Right? Right. And so it's a way for us to reframe, take some time, really think about, you know, I have friends, they're like, you know what, after thinking about this, like this, the money's great. This is it doesn't make me happy, like I'm miserable. Really trying to meet people's needs when they're being unreasonable, which this is what Pinterest brought our industry. Thank you so much. There's some great things, but you know, like, what is what's real? And what is a photo shoot, and it's just some of it is not practical. And then then it opened up this whole DIY thing, which, hey, that's fine for some people. But guess what, as a planner, back then it's like translation, this just kind of fall on my shoulders, right? We're gonna have to charge you double, because I'm gonna have to get five more people at the last minute because you can't finish it and you're pissed off. And so then we met just made a decision. We're never, if anybody says in the first five seconds of us saying, Well, what are you looking for? And they said, the dry word. Nope. It was. It's like we can't even talk to you. And so because we knew the outcome, and the outcome was not good. So I think this gives us a really good insight too, because we know we're all thinking it was like, what's happening with other businesses? What are people doing? And then my mom's like, but it's just terrible. It's so sad that people are closing I'm like, why?
we've, we've closed our doors to things before by choice. Yeah. So that we could focus on doing some, some more impactful work, where we can take the skills and take everything that we've learned over the past 20 years, and do something with it to impact other business owners. Like what's wrong with that? Yeah. And so I want you to think so if you're listening to this, and you are one of those people that have been in business 2030 years, and you're wondering, or even if you're trying to hold on, and you're like, I don't know, if I can hold on, I think about does it make you happy? And are you good at something else? Like you mentioned earlier? Can you showcase your talents in another way? And if you can start thinking about how can you make a good first impression by doing something else that can still help people because you're so you're still able to listen, if you worked in hospitality, and you can make people happy, you can solve a lot of problems out there. That's right. Right. You know, and I, and I think that that we're seeing, I could see it on Facebook, too. And talk to some of my clients that, that I think when this was happening in August, September, this, this really, when this the survey was done, people were still in shock. But now, after talking to people is like, you know what, I'm glad this happened. Because now I'm a realtor, I'm loving what I'm here for now, I'm doing this, and I've always wanted to do this, or I wanted to retire. I just didn't know how and this was great.
So I think that it, there was so many silver linings from this. And I think also a lot of our industry people may have gotten out of what they were doing then, but stayed in the industry doing something else. And which was very, very interesting. I mean, I know some people are writing now books about the industry, which will be wonderful, you know, and, and it will help you know the the do's and don'ts. And so there's a lot of good silver lining that is coming from this and, and I truly believe that our industry will be back. I'm totally salutely Yeah, there's no doubt about it. I mean, especially in weddings, you think these brides aren't gonna have a wedding?
Think again, because that's what I learned this from my first recession. back into that when we weren't recession proof.
Yeah. always gonna fall in love. Yeah, always gonna die. So celebration of life, funerals, weddings, like, they may get smaller, they may not spend as much men money and less people may come. But what we have found is that people that even if they're going to have 40, or 50 people for a really nice dinner, they they instead of spending $250 ahead or like spending six and 700 ahead, because they want in the little details of every single itty bitty little thing that you could think of to make this amazing over the top dinner. It people are doing it now with the details. And so that's where I'm like, if you are still in the game, you've got to put your face, you've got to put your brand, you've got to put your company, you've got to put your message out on social media to let people know I am open. Hey, I'm available. I'm not going anywhere. I'm not going under and if you if you do want to close up, that's fine. But tell somebody, like even my cousin got married and she still got married in October in the middle of a pandemic in Oxford. It looks a little bit different than what she was thinking, right? But her planner was so crazy because her planner. I walked in and it was a younger girl and she's like, are you Angela Proffitt? I'm like, Yes, this is weird. I'm like, Hi, are you crystals planar? She's like, oh my god. I used to work in Nashville. She like worked for, as I guess she saw it as a competitive company. I never. I don't see it that way at all right? We do things very differently. And I'm like, I didn't know that you were my cousin's planner. And she was oh, I wasn't there was an older lady who had been doing it for 30 years. And when COVID hit she it was her way of retiring. She's like, I've got I got like, the wedding's from her. She she's like I took literally took her book of business. And she had just started her a brand new business. But she learned everything in Nashville, and she moved home was Oxford. So she moved back. It was just her story was so cool. And I silver lining on both. It gave me opportunity for somebody to say, Okay, I'm retiring, and then the opportunity for somebody to pick up those 30 events and build her career. So I do believe there. There's the silver linings, and I think sometimes it's hard for people to see it until they look at it. look back on it. Yep, yes. It's so true. Yeah. Well, I can talk to you. I know I could talk to you forever. But I do want to end on one thing because as a creative there are the many
Factors that keep our businesses afloat, right. And then there's our products and services and your social media profiles, your website, your team, you know, and so on, and so on. But each of these contributes to the success or the failure of your company, right? However, if you take a step back, you'll see that there's one thing that encompasses all of these factors. It's you, it's your brand, your brand is what brings together all these pieces in your business plan and creates a cohesive and consistent experience for your for your clients. Absolutely. Yes. So when all things come together, you're left with a brand that is uniquely yours. Yep. And one that sets you apart from your competitors. And that's, that's what we want. Yep. This is awesome. I know. You guys got lots of nuggets. What is the best way for people to connect with you Merrill? If they know? So I'm thinking I think Instagram is the bet Well, first of all, I you can certainly email me Merrill at Merrill snow calm, but Instagram, I'm going to be I learned something from you, Angela. I love your like your stories and stuff like that. So I think that my Instagram needs to be built up. So. So I decided I was gonna do this book giveaway, because I have three books out and sales books. Yes, I do. So I thought, let's do a book giveaway if they follow me, because I'm thinking, you know, 3000, I only have 3000 followers. And I'm thinking that's not enough. I want more. So I want to get my message out. So follow me on Instagram, and I'm giving these books away. And then of course, Facebook, you know, whatnot. But I want to know, if you have any sales questions at all, email me, I could talk sales all day, and I'm not gonna charge you love it. Yeah, it's just we've got to get we've, I want to help people. And we could do this thing. get your message out there. Yes. Well, so we'll put it in the show notes. Be sure to go follow Merrill snow on her Instagram. And like she said, and also to like, y'all ask the questions on Instagram publicly so that Meryl can actually answer your question. Yeah. Because it helps so many other people. And it's funny, because some people that asked me questions, they're like, are you going to put my question on social media? And I'm like, Well, why Why not? Why not? And how everybody else is thinking it too. And but if you want to remain anonymous, like, I don't have to say you asked me that, like, it's okay. But, you know, and so some people, it's just like, I'm not gonna say, I'll say somebody, it doesn't matter who asked it? That's right. Right. It matters that you're helping you got to get rid of like you and what you sound like and what you're thinking, because if you're thinking it, somebody else, and other people are thinking, that's so make sure you ask your questions. And you know, sometimes we all have some private things that we don't want to put on. So
I get it. So that's what the emails for. So you know, just think about how many people you can help when you're asking something for yourself, and how Merrill can help a lot of people in sales. Right? That's great. And we'll also link your books too. So okay, let's see all of those as well on your on on some of your profiles. If you Google your name, like all your books come up. So we'll put that show notes tape, right. Thank you. Yay. And everybody listening. Thank you so much for your time today. And be sure to tune in next week to another episode of business unveiled, y'all. Thank you, Angela. Of course.
That's it for this week's episode of business unveiled. Now that you have all the tools that you need to conquer the world and GSD get shit done. Would you share this with your friends and fellow business leaders? One thing that would really really help us and help new listeners is for you to rate the show, and leave a comment and Apple podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you tune in and listen to business unveiled. You can check out the show notes at Angela proffitt.com slash podcast and link up with us on social media so you can share your biggest insights. And I want to know your aha moments. Until next week, remember, the profitable shifts and structures you're creating in your business, help you be more present in your life. So get out there and GSD