FILED IN: Behind-the-Scenes, M&G Happenings
Posted By: Jamie Kutchman
Tuesdays Together (Bethesda) was held earlier this week! Twenty-six creative entrepreneurs showed up, ready to share with and learn from one another! As is probably normal for the summer months, we were down a few members due to vacations and one with a summer cold. (Feel better Renee!) One member even opted to go see the T. Swift concert rather than attend #TTBethesda?! I mean, how COULD she!!? Just kidding. But we DID miss you Alyssa! Even with these ladies absent, we had a fantastic, lively, productive, encouraging, and super uplifting meeting, just like last month. The best part? We had several new faces show up, and they jumped right in and added amazing things to the group.
After 40 minutes of mixing, mingling, snacks and wine, we headed out front for our group shot. Please pardon the weeds overgrowing my porch. It took me seeing these images on the camera for me to even notice. Obviously, small business ownership has made me blind to things around the house that are LONG overdue! Perhaps a topic for another month!?
Anyway, you'd think getting the perfect group shot would be easy with so many pro photographers in the group. But, my husband Jeff has come to accept that since all the photographers need to be IN the photo, he's now responsible for getting the perfect shot! Definite brownie points for him. Oh and speaking of photographers, I just noticed that the lovely Bonnie Sen isn't pictured here. She showed up a little late but don't worry, we still love her! Next month, she'll be in the photo for sure and we'll probably make her sit in the front row!
Once back indoors (thank God for air conditioning!), we found our seats in the family room. Some were on couches, others on folding chairs and a few were even on cushions on the floor. There were a lot of us (plus Jeff), but we made it work! We had planners, wedding photographers, a commercial photographer, a florist, maternal/family photographers, a videographer, a web designer/branding expert, a mother/baby concierge, an aspiring health/wellness coach and myself, a gift designer. We had women who have been in business several years, some in their first year of business, and even a few who have yet to take the leap. Regardless of the type of business owners present or the age of their business, this month's topic "Creating the Client Experience" was of huge interest to EVERYONE and the discussion naturally flowed.
We discussed client gifting in detail. Not only WHAT to gift but when exactly the gifts are sent. As an example, some business owners shared that they send them upon booking the client. Others bring the client gifts with them and hand-deliver the gifts so that they can create an experience with the client in their presence. Others gift at a later point, such as a wedding planner presenting a gift to the couple at the rehearsal dinner. While most agreed it's crucial to make the gifts feel personal, others expressed the need for consistency within their gifting. They want to improve the efficiency of the process but also want to seem more even-handed in their generosity. They want to avoid some clients receiving gifts at one price point while others receive completely different gifts at another price point.
The idea of "going the extra mile" for clients also came up. A florist in the group gave an example of how she will occasionally upgrade a bride's bouquet with an extra few peonies or other statement-type flower to make it absolutely breathtaking beyond what the bride actually paid for. Or, a wedding photographer might consider working past their contracted stopping time to make sure they get all the remaining detail shots. A maternal/family photographer shared how she will not only bring a gift for the new baby but also for any older siblings that might have the tendency to feel jealous during a photo session. I just loved hearing all of these ideas and was so inspired by all the way in which the group shows appreciation for their clients and, in essence, their business!
Suddenly, I asked for a time check and realized it was already 9:30 pm! We got up from our seats but that didn't necessarily stop the discussions. I was overjoyed to see that people stayed even longer to network some more. Business cards were exchanged and lots of good, positive energy all around!
A very sincere "thank you" to everyone who showed up, brought goodies (wine, lemonade, homemade cupcakes, gorgeous macarons, Belgian chocolates, healthy veggies, champagne) and shared their experiences with others!