SPECIAL TO THE BLOG! "I've Been Lately Bothered!"
Wedding Professionals Advised to Charge, in-full, up-front, by Site
Moments ago I posted a link to an article that I found marginally disturbing out of hand. It is entitled, "Payment is Due Before I Do’s" and it got my hackles raised, just a bit, rather in an instant!
My post (in its entirety):
"I just saw this blogpost via Wedding "MBA": "Payment is Due Before I Do’s"
I, immediately, tagged my good friend (of nearly a decade), and wedding enforcer/expert/guru, Paul Pannone, of e-Wed Newz into my post. His opinion(s), as I expected, were direct, pragmatic, and--- more to the point: accurate, and important.
Having reigned as the formal wear guru of New York for eons... he is not only a, hugely-respected, "Tux Guy", but one of the most-successful entrepreneurs in the formalwear industry. He, presently, advises three of the largest men's fashion houses in the world, on their formals line. BIG names! SERIOUSLY!
So, of COURSE, i sought the opinion of a consummate, successful, straight-shooting, businessman, marketing-mensch, and investigative journalist whose beat has been, almost exclusively, the wedding beat.
I wasn't disappointed in the slightest, in his responses (more on that later).
"Common sense applies: pay in advance, throw your leverage in case of dissatisfaction out the window."
So... Why the Ruckus?
I'm concerned because this post by that industry company, might well be leading entrepreneurs down a slippery slope to their own demise. There is a fine line between managing the fiscal needs of a business, while maintaining, and fostering, business decorum, professionalism, client expectation, reputation, and--- all-the-while--- minimizing any conceivable ill-perceptions about one's operation.
I, enthusiastically, concur with Mr. Pannone in the following:
Reputable companies will have no problem waiting till after the services are delivered for payment. -Paul Pannone
In my opinion, I'm not sure that I would advise my counselees to demand, hardball, PIF from their clientele!
- Firstly: Because, among the best personal service providers, it just isn't done.
- Secondly, It is my opinion that it makes a company appear desperate.
- Thirdly, it can be an, almost immediate, red-flag to savvy consumers, accustomed to standard payment arrangements in this, and other industries.
Again, tough times, call for tough measures... to a degree. In my companies, I insist on protocol above most-everything else. So my team, advisor and I, developed plans to protect our interests, while maintaining unflappable client ease, comfort, convenience, and trust. For example, we collect various "back-up" MOPs from clients, which are attached to their accounts for the life of their contract(s) with us. It is certainly for our protection, but also, legitimately, for client convenience. And, contractually, our clients know that, at no time, will ANY charge be applied to any method of payment, without their full, and advanced permission and approval. This is part of that trust aspect of business relationships I mentioned above.
We have clients with methods of payment on file with their account for YEARS--- ranging from: routing numbers, bank account numbers, financing arrangements, credit/debit cards--- EVEN THEIR MOTHER'S MOBILE NUMBER!! And they KNOW that they are all protected from misuse, and are protected to their greatest advantage. That SAID, I WILL call a mommy if I have to! We have earned their trust.
- Mess up once, and you're finished. No word travels faster than a BAD one, about your mistake, and in the digital world, it will take 17 nanoseconds for word of your SNAFU to reach London, Vienna, Paris, Hamburg--- well you get the idea.
- Your reputation is ALL you really own. And NOBODY is going to fight to protect it, as hard as yourself.
- Don't play hard-ball when you're desperate, or worn-down, or fearful. Maintain! "Hold it together, until you GET it together!
- LEARN HOW TO SELL! Or you will STARVE! READ my Book on Selling.
- Business is risky. Among clients, AND vendor partners. Take measures to assure contingencies are in place to blunt to impact of sour encounters.
- Play scenarios every single DAY! "What-if", and "How about if" are beneficial exercises for forecasting, and anticipating pitfalls.
- NEVER violate a client's trust. Don't do it. EVER (you've been warned)!
- "Failure is not an option."
- There is no shame in retooling your vision, re-plotting your goals, and path, OR choosing an entirely DIFFERENT one! Just do it with professionalism, planning, vision, and forethought.
- Do not allow desperate need, to usurp common sense, pragmatism, focus, and diligence. In times of hard-tack, to lose THESE tools is deadly.
- Is demanding payment in full the right move?
- What does it say about your business?
- How greatly is your liability, and legal susceptibility increased when you are paid in fool, and an event goes, DIRECTLY, into the crapper? Even for reasons beyond your control? Are you insured for this possibility?
- Are you aware that there are crappy, shady people in every client base on the planet? As in life!
- Are you aware that the, vast, majority are great, fantastic people who need you to present your most professional, capable, confidence-inspiring self?
GET OUT THERE AND SUCCEED! Just take pains to do it wisely!
The Last Word:
"Again, it could not be more simple: pay in advance, give up all your leverage."
"NO pay before the play.... Mr. Lincoln!"