Let's Talk About the Wedding Biz with Alan Berg

WEDDING BIZ SPEAKER Alan Berg

Alan Berg
Alan Berg 2

WEDDING BUSINESS SPEAKER Let's talk weddings!

Alan Berg—Wedding Guru

Alan has been a friend of mine for a long time. He’s a top notch speaker and consultant in the wedding industry.

He’s been in the business a long time and started out in the advertising and copywriting end of things, selling ads and creating industry publications. He realized right off, as many do, that even though you have a dream of being in a certain occupation, like cake decorating, or florist, or wedding dress designing, there’s so much more to it than just what’s in your log line. Saying to yourself, “I want to be a florist” conjures images of happily designing beautiful flower arrangements for weddings and brides, but it leaves out all the nitty-gritty sales and accounting and other details that goes along with that business. So he saw a need and he filled it.

That’s one take-away I get from so many of the people that I have on my podcast: they identify needs and then they go in and fix them. Alan’s a perfect example of that. He didn’t wait around for someone else to figure out that a lot of these wedding industry professionals needed business coaching and expertise. He decided to create the job and started speaking and mentoring to those who needed that extra education on how to get their business to the next level. And what do you know? He was a hit.

Alan says that sales is not a dirty word. It’s a necessary part of any job that’s out there.  Jobs begin with someone seeing a need, having an idea, then creating a service or a product, and then selling that idea. Selling is a key piece of the process and we should not be ashamed or shy of selling. Really, it’s about being personal with the customer.  Treat them the way you’d want to be treated. Don’t try to make a sale. Try to make a positive personal relationship. Look people in the eye. Pay attention to what they’re saying. Don’t talk so much. You can’t learn if you’re doing all the talking. So ask questions, find out what the customer wants, not what you want them to want.

Another thing Alan mentioned that I thought was interesting was that he joined NSA (the National Speakers Association) to learn about speaking and how it could take his business to the next level. NSA taught him that by narrowing the niche market you serve, you elevate your expertise. He already had expertise in the wedding planning and production business. But he wasn’t a speaker. But he could be, he realized. By focusing on that narrow business (which does not mean small, by the way—the wedding industry is a multi-billion dollar one), he then became an expert such that he could share his wisdom and make money doing that. And NSA opened the door for him to realize that.

After talking to Alan, I realized one other thing: people are crazy. And the crazy comes through in their approach to weddings. A wedding these days is, and really always has been, so much more than standing up and declaring in front of someone your commitment to a certain person and your promise to walk through life together.  Weddings, of course, are also expressions of the people who are throwing them. Alan has seen it all—weddings on roller coasters, weddings at a Taco Bell in Vegas, four day elaborate Indian weddings at special venues, weddings at Stumpy’s Hatchet House.

Weddings that are over the top or excessive almost always are because the wedding couple (or their parents) lose sight of the fact that the wedding is not just about them, Alan says, but is about their guests too.  If the bride and her mother (okay that was a snarky dig at mothers of brides who have reputations as control freaks—not my mother in law, I have to put in) focus on only their needs and forget the guests have needs too, you will get an over the top wedding. Really it’s all about focusing on who’s important and what the wedding is trying to symbolize. Focusing on impressing people with your wealth or prestige? Over the top wedding.  Focusing on saying promises in front of your best friends and family, and making sure they’re having a good time? Nice wedding.  Just sayin’. (Ok, that last bit was me.)

The last thing I always ask my guests is what gives them hope in this crazy, messed up, stressful world of ours. And Alan, of course, has an awesome, thoughtful answer, because he’s actually thought about this before. He said what gives him hope is people.  And more than that, it’s people who have a positive attitude. (Wow, is he speaking to the choir!) People who are nice, who think of others and not always of themselves, people who are generous, kind and considerate, people who step up to help and support others, they are who give him hope.

People like Alan Berg is what I say. Thank you Alan, for taking the time to be with me here today and sharing your wisdom both in the business of sales and leadership, and in the business of life and living well. I’m glad we’re friends.

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Biography of a Motivational Speaker

Bio of a Motivational Speaker

Funny Motivational Keynote Speaker Brad Montgomery is an award-winning speaker.   He speaks to audiences across the globe (and across the USA), and is based in Denver, Colorado.

Although he speaks to audiences in nearly every industry, he is known as a funny health care speaker, a education speaker for teachers, a real estate speaker, and a sales speaker.   He got his start as a magician & comedian, but now is known almost exclusively as keynote speaker.

He speaks both at live, in-person events, as well as online and virtually as a zoom speaker. No matter what you’re trying to accomplish with your audience, if you’re ready to invest in your people, give us a call now.

I’ve learned that some people REALLY love to read the transcripts of my videos.  Who knew?  Ok…for you readers, here is the AI-generated transcript.  Translation:  that means this transcript is imperfect.

Let’s Talk About The Wedding Business With Alan Berg

Speaker 1

We’re back. People I’ve missed you. How are you looking? Good. Who am I kidding? I can’t see you. I’m so glad you’re here. My name is Brad Montgomery. Welcome to successful, interesting and awesome. It’s the podcast where you interviewed people who are, you know, at least one of those things, but today it will not surprise you. We have the hat trick. This is a guy I have known for some time through my connections in the speaking world, but not only is he really interesting?

Not only does he have this super unique niche in my world, but he’s just one of the nicest guys in the world and he’s one of those guys that I’ve gone to for advice about everything from uh like how to write a headline to what’s the website and we’ve been friends forever. And when I said Allen, would you join me and talk about your world? He was so uh so quick to say yes and I’m so glad for you to meet him. Please say hi from your computer screen. We’ve got Alan berg, CSP.

Speaker 2

Hey brad. Thanks for inviting

Speaker 1

me. Well dude, thanks for saying yes, so we have to tell them about you. I’m gonna tell you, tell them a little bit about what I know, but I’m gonna ask you what in the world you do, okay? You’re a wedding guru. People who are in the wedding industry know about you because you teach them how to be better at the wedding industry and I think Alan, this means you’re, we’re talking to people who make cakes or sell cakes and rent venues and do dresses and have limos, right?

I think you’re the expert for everybody and everyone needs to know how to do business better, but they especially want in their niche and if I have you right, they come to you to learn how to do their bit better clothes.

Speaker 2

Exactly why I don’t do weddings. I’ve never done weddings. I was practically a guest at my own

Speaker 1

wedding. You know

Speaker 2

the guy on top of the cake, you know the top of the cake, the bride and groom, I was the groom show up here you go

Speaker 1

over here and then

Speaker 2

fast forward. I sold wedding advertising, published wedding magazines. I was vice president of sales at the not the largest wedding website in the world and I help people have a better business because as is true, not just inside the wedding industry, a lot of businesses, it’s really to get easy to get into because the barrier to entry is low.

You know, if you don’t need a big infrastructure of a factory or whatever, but that doesn’t qualify you to be good in business. And so many people fail in their businesses because they’re good at the creative

Speaker 1

whatever

Speaker 2

that is, but they’re not good at the business

Speaker 1

part. And

Speaker 2

when I was selling wedding ads and publishing wedding magazines, I realized that of my clients, these photographers, these deejays florists and invitation people and selfishly I started helping them be better at their business. So they wouldn’t cancel their ads with me, you know, Uh but it really did help. It helped them because when they realized, Hey, I can convert more leads, I can make more sales that help them be better at their business, which actually helped their

lives. And I’ve been doing that now. It kind of fell into that part of it. And I’ve been doing that now for over 20 years. And that’s how we met with National Speakers Association because I got off stage one day in Montreal and somebody said, hey, you’re a great speaker. You remember the National Speakers Association? I said, what’s that? Because I didn’t have an identity as a speaker.

I had an identity as this business person, as the vice president of sales and what I do. And what I’ve been privileged to do in 14 countries around the world is just find really, really great creative people who need help on the business side. And I remember being in the U. K. One time and I was sitting around with 10 DJs all day, just around the conference

Speaker 1

table and

Speaker 2

we’re walking out at the end of the day and one of the DJ said to me, So alan, how long have you been a DJ? And I said, I’ve never been a DJ? He said, I don’t understand what do you mean?

Speaker 1

I don’t know how

Speaker 2

I don’t how to say those words. I’ve never been a DJ. I said he said, but you understand my business better than I do. I said, yeah, I

Speaker 1

do. I

Speaker 2

can’t be a DJ. That’s a totally different thing. It’s just like the speaking business is not the speaking.

Speaker 1

Well, I picture myself as new in my business. So I was I started out as a magician and trying to figure that out until the transition speaking. And I picture someone just like me who’s a photographer or a DJ lost and then they suddenly find you and you’re like, it’s not that hard.

Listen, here’s you do this and then you do that and then you got to do this and you got to think differently. I would think you would be such a relief if like if I’m a new photographer, good at my craft, but not great at getting clients, you would be like a gift.

Speaker 2

I was just on a zoom call recently. So through one of my clients, they have this thing called Fellowship for change, which is people 1-3 years in business with a kind of a mentoring program and on this call and this photographer just said, I love photography, I hate sales. And I started thinking, well, I was working on a new sales book. My most popular book is called Shut up and sell more weddings and events, which really could be shut up and sell more anything because you don’t learn

anything when you’re talking. You only learn when you’re listening. And I started writing a new book, which was going to be kind of a book for people who hate sales. But I said, no, that’s kind of too limiting. But it was because of him, because of what he said, that sparked me to say, what else do I need to put into this book? You know, sales is not a dirty word.

You think about everything that’s around us in your where you are and where I am, your glasses. My glasses, sales were involved, right? But an idea had to happen first. So somebody who says, I have an idea for red glass is great, but if you don’t sell them, that’s a hobby. And that’s why this is what I talk about could easily be to the plumbers, to the dog walkers, to the, you know, anybody, I just happened to choose this niche because I was in it.

And what I learned through the speaking world is by narrowing that niche. I elevate my expertise. So there’s other people who could say exactly what I say, but they don’t have my lingo, they don’t know the words to say. So if I’m at a bridal shop and I’m talking about, you know, it’s not about the bodice or the décolletage. Those are phrases I shouldn’t know, but what I

Speaker 1

do. And

Speaker 2

then if I go to the videographers, I’m talking about nonlinear editing and I shouldn’t know that either. But I’ve been doing this so long that I do, and that’s I’m

Speaker 1

I’m sorry, were you talking? I just heard the word bodice and décolletage. I just and then everything just right after that

Speaker 2

noise, just noise after that.

Speaker 1

Well, can we just backtrack a little bit and talk about the wedding industry? I think all of us know a little bit about the wedding industry, because we’ve been to weddings just like we know what school teachers do because we’ve been in class. But uh, it’s massive, right? And you know, is there some way you can give us a hint about what we’re what you’re dealing with because this isn’t a little tiny. Oh, we’re throwing a party thing.

Speaker 2

No. And you know, when you mentioned the school teacher thing, we know what we see that a school teacher does. We don’t know what we don’t see, we don’t see the lesson plans and we don’t see all the work they do outside of it. So think about this the last time you went to a wedding, you showed up at a venue and the tables were set, Right? There was glassware, there was silverware, there were salt and pepper shakers, there were, there was lighting going on, there was music happening,

there were flowers on the tables, people were wearing clothing. All of that had to happen, which meant all of that had to happen before the average wedding in the US has 12 to 14 different services. So if you think about it. The photographers, the service, the videographer, the music, the flowers, the jewelry, right? All this stuff in different services.

Some of them take an inordinate amount of time before the event happens to make it happen. So the florist doesn’t wake up that morning and say huh I wonder what I should make for today’s wedding. They had to plan it, order it. Well that the chef had to plan and order it prep and all that kind of stuff in the U. S. Actually in the world there is no law that says you need to throw a party when you get married.

There’s no law. There’s a law that says you need to have a license. Someone who can legally perform that ceremony, file the license. There you go. Do you want to get married? Go to Vegas. Right, just go drive through. You don’t even have to get out of your car

Speaker 1

drive, …

Speaker 2

right? You can get married. Getting married is the easy part right? The reception is now saying and I heard this from a celebrity wedding planner. He actually is the guy Colin Cowie who did J. Lo and Ben Affleck’s latest reception. He did seinfelds. And I heard him say 20 years ago that the party is your first chance as a married couple to host a party for your friends and family because we don’t have to do that part.

Right? There’s no law that says you have to do that. But we spent 50 to $60 billion a year just in the United States on about 2.2 million. Winning’s not this year. This is unusual year because all the backup with with Covid, it’s about 2.6 million. And the reason that we do that is people who are getting married. Don’t say, hey, this wedding is gonna be good. But wait till my next, that one’s gonna be better. Right?

Speaker 1

Well, if they are saying that, that’s a bad sign, that’s

Speaker 2

a bad sign. It’s a bad sign. Uh My parents were married one months. I have 65 years. When my mom passed. Uh my in law is 63 years. When my father in law passed, my wife and I 39 years. We didn’t go into this saying, well, you know, if this one doesn’t work out, we’ll do it better next time. So The reason you throw a party is because you don’t think you’re ever gonna do this again.

You think this is one and done and please come and celebrate our marriage. That’s what you’re trying to do. And those 12 to 14 services are based on priorities. Just like anything else in life, right? It’s based on priorities. You have your glasses. I have my glasses. We have many places we can go for glasses. We choose where to go based on whatever our priorities are, style quality. You know, we like the people there, whatever it is. So with a wedding that’s the same thing.

The average wedding in the US is about $30,000. Now. Not in New York City that’s way more but not in Alabama, it’s way less. Right? So but that’s average and I’ve told people if you want average results that doesn’t mean bad. Just average results, it would be nice. It’s about $30,000 if you want above average results you’re gonna choose your priorities. Is it the shoes you want christian louboutin shoes for $1000. Do you want a vera wang dress for 8000

Speaker 1

30 Grand is average.

Speaker 2

Again an average being just that if you take the 2.2 million weddings in the United States, 30 grand is an average which means some people are spending five and 10, right? And some people are spending way more in New york city. The average is probably 80,000 or more. Um And there’s many weddings happening for six and seven figures. And there’s weddings happening, you know for

Speaker 1

Elvis

Speaker 2

the Taco Bell in las Vegas. Pre covid had expanded their building because they had done 60 something weddings. The taco bell,

Speaker 1

wait, wait wait they created a space to get married in Taco Bell.

Speaker 2

Yeah because they were doing so many weddings, you know the stratosphere. You know the tower in Vegas, they have the rides up there one year when I was with the not we were doing a scavenger hunt and had to go to all these different places and there was somebody with a deck of cards. You take a car and you make your hand when you get back. So we get up to the stratosphere, we get our card and two of our people wanted to go on one of the rides And the ride is eight seats, that’s 44 sets of two

facing each other. It goes off the building on this claw and it spins around. Okay, 800. Yeah. And we’re waiting like why can’t, why can’t we go what’s what’s happening? Why aren’t they going? The ride operator was marrying a couple. We had to wait for them to perform the ceremony so that they could get on the ride and then do that. So that the ride operator in Vegas, I mean what did that cost? Right, it costs you know 100 bucks or whatever it is.

Speaker 1

A picture of them handing a note card to some high school kid going, Yeah

Speaker 2

and it that’s there’s Vegas for you. So the part about getting married is actually I’ll give you a good one. I have a client, you know the ax throwing places, you know, throw hatchets. So I was

Speaker 1

surprisingly difficult just saying.

Speaker 2

Absolutely, absolutely. So we had gone once with our friends near them and then a place opened up franchise of the same same company by us. So we decided to go over here. I’m checking in and the guy looks at my name thing and he goes, are you the alan berg from the wedding industry? I said yeah, how do you know?

He said, well I saw a webinar you did the other day, I was like I said why you’re an extra in place, why I said, oh you must do bachelor parties, bachelorette parties, that would make sense, right, because it because it’s actually B y O B at the ax throwing place

Speaker 1

and here’s an ax and

Speaker 2

here’s an ax. But they actually started doing weddings, like actual full weddings at the ax throwing place. He said we moved the furniture away, here’s the isle, I said I now pronounce you, man and wife, you may now throw the ax, I mean is that how it goes? He said, kind of, but they had a back room which I didn’t see and there’s more room there, I just spoke for the franchisees of stumpy is hatchet house about selling more events because why not?

And that, you know what, you want a non traditional space to get married, You want your friends to remember your wedding, yep, we went to stump ease hatchet house and got married.

Speaker 1

All right, let me ask you a question, not about the business of weddings, but just the alan berg take on what is and here’s the back story, I went to two weddings this summer um and they were both, I think we can say over the top. I mean just every detail, was there. Very expensive clearly, it was sort of um as a 56 year old guy who’s been married for 30 years, it was like, oh my God, did you, what, … what do you ever, at what point is it too much?

Because it seems like the wedding industry has gone crazy. You mentioned you don’t have to throw a party to get married. Why what’s going on? Is this like trying to outdo the joneses or like why is it so fancy? Well

Speaker 2

there’s there’s a little bit of that. So some people do it because they can write, they

Speaker 1

just make sense if you’re right.

Speaker 2

But at the same point, there are people that have a lot of money that say, you know what, that’s not that important. This is not a thing to do. So it depends on who’s paying, right? That depends on the age of the couple. The average couple is about 30 years old in this country, so there’s a chance that they’re paying for it or paying for part of it. There are still people getting married younger and still people having their parents help.

When my best friend’s sons got married, their sons were both probably around 30 or you know, maybe early 30s and he said we want to help. So I said good write him a check. because he asked me, he said, should I say I’ll pay a third. I said uh that’s a, that’s a blank check. We don’t write blank checks.

Speaker 1

Yeah. My

Speaker 2

advice to people always, when they come to me and said pick a number that feels comfortable, write them a check and say they can do whatever they want with it, put it a down payment on a house, put it towards the wedding, go on vacation. Doesn’t matter. Here’s our gift. There you go. And that

Speaker 1

way you’ve

Speaker 2

controlled the amount there or you’ll pay for certain services. My parents did that at our wedding. They paid for the flowers and the band that was their contribution they got to say and what those were because they were paying for them. So there’s the other side of that. Um So the wedding’s that are over the top. And again, this is a perspective thing because you having been to other weddings or imagining what a wedding is and we also watch movies and we see weddings and we see stuff

like that. And when you say over the top, what you’re saying is that there were things there that didn’t need to be there. They were a little excessive, It was too much distraction from whatever it is you’re supposed to be focusing on. That’s what over the top to mean means you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make it over the top.

You can just do it really poorly. You can also not understand that this was not about you, the couple. This was about your guests and that over the top now means the guests are saying, huh? What is all this stuff for when the couples like, oh my gosh, look at all this and everybody’s like, yeah, why?

Speaker 1

Yeah. And

Speaker 2

that’s what it comes down to. I was at a wedding of someone who founded one of the biggest wedding websites in the world and it was four days because he’s of indian descent and his wife is not and I thought, you know, this is going to be over the top and it wasn’t, it was tastefully done. It was a nice details. It wasn’t excessive and I was really impressed with someone who could have easily gone crazy with this.

That oh, that was a nice touch. Like was in Charlottesville Virginia. So, wine country down there. So your name card was a wine cork with your name card stuck into it. That was a nice little touch. It wasn’t some big fancy thing that somebody bought. If you understand that if you were throwing a party for your friends, you would serve the food.

They like to eat the drinks, they like to drink and play the music they like to hear. So start there. Right, just start there. Um, I’ve been to the over the top weddings. I’ve been to simple, the not funniest one that really surprised me as I went to the wedding of a wedding DJ and there were seven or eight other DJs there and I was expecting this to be a DJ party, right? Crazy DJ party. The most laid back chill wedding I’ve ever been to.

It was crazy. And in a good way crazy because I got to, you know, like the wedding couple would come by. Hi brad your wife, thank you so much for coming right at the envelope bloom, you go, my wife and I talked to this wedding couple four or five times that night, but I mean, talk to them, not like, hi, how you doing to get out of here? We actually had conversations with them. Never do that at a wedding

Speaker 1

at a wedding. Yeah, yeah,

Speaker 2

and it was really all about, it represented them very well. And the DJ who was deejaying, he said, you know, I would have had the dance floor filled with sweaty people an hour already, but they don’t want it. They wanted it to be laid back. They brought in a guy who was like, Michael, Buble Tony Bennett, kind of a singer. He was phenomenal. It’s actually funny because I said to the DJ said that guy is really good. He goes, yeah, he’s a jerk. I said, oh, he knows he’s really good.

So, so he’s a jerk, but that’s what they wanted. They live in pennsylvania, but they love new york city. Any chance to go in. So it was this new york city theme and it’s so represented them and this was not an expensive wedding and probably one of the most enjoyable weddings I’ve ever been to because it really, really represented them and it was very comfortable. It wasn’t about, hey, everybody get out of here on the dance floor. That’s not what they wanted

Speaker 1

When we got married 30 years ago ISH, almost 30. It was for, I think by today’s standards, not so big, but it felt kind of big then and afterwards, after the dust settled, our priorities change. We realized, oh, what was really important was standing up in front of people, you know, and saying, I picked this person like I’m serious and then having some booze that was really fun, having something to dance to.

That was really fun. Food was good, but it could have been a potluck really. It just didn’t matter right? It was the, it was that being together and saying I’m picking this person publicly. I’m, I’m, I’m just saying it out loud. That’s

Speaker 2

the point that gets missed. And I had an opportunity for the first time ever to speak at a bridal fair, like a wedding fair bridal show and I spoke to the couples for the first time and I told them, I said there’s two parts to your day and the first part of the day is you’re getting married.

Pay attention to that, write your own vows. Have everybody focused on you for that point. We didn’t have that. We had a rabbi and a minister, the minister made us come to his office and talk to him. The rabbi said, you know, what day and time do you want me to

Speaker 1

show

Speaker 2

up? And and and it was kind of a standard. You know, they went back and forth what was kind of a standard? You know, do you do you love honor, cherish whatever? And it wasn’t looking back on it, it wasn’t anything personal and I was 23 years old. You know, we didn’t know what we know now. Um I just interviewed somebody on my podcast, the wedding business solutions podcast whose business he was a political speech writer, but now he writes vows and speeches.

That’s actually his company named vows and speeches. So he helps the people that are giving speeches like best men and fathers and mothers and stuff like that to give a better speech. So you don’t get a disaster. And he also helps the couple’s write vows, but he also helps people who ask their friend to officiate because that’s pretty big these days.

Had it actually officiate a ceremony and how to write a personalized ceremony because they’re gonna be speaking for a while there and you don’t want them just winging it. So it’s an interesting business because that is

Speaker 1

such a focus

Speaker 2

right now. And I love the idea that there’s somebody who’s coaching these people because they really need that help. We’ve all been to places where the wedding speeches have gone just off the rails. …

Speaker 1

You know, and that’s where, that’s

Speaker 2

where the open bar comes in. The open bar helps helps. I do have a lot of friends in the, in Salt Lake City and they have both dry weddings and not. And you know when you have some of the dry weddings and there’s a lot of speeches going on, it can just drag on and on and on because you know, it’s just another speech and another speech and another speech.

So the, the ceremony really is the important part and the other part. And I told him, I said the second part is not about you. The second part is make sure these people who came to watch the first part have a great time. And that’s why we’re spending the money. My best friend’s son called to say they were engaged, He lives in Brooklyn new york and he said, how much does it cost to get married?

And I said in Brooklyn, I guess about 100 bucks. He said $100 a person. I said no, about 100 bucks. Take Uber to City hall, get your license, get married. You might have money for a slice of pizza left over when you’re done. That’s about 100 bucks. You’re married. That’s it. People do it all the time. People, people fly well, you know, I call it BC before Covid, people flew in from all over the world to get married in new york city, right?

And then they want to go to the Empire State building or you know, that’s what they want to do and they’re married, they’re married, no party, right? Going to Times Square, pick a restaurant, go to dinner, right. You’re good. That’s what it takes. But what’s really interesting about discretionary spending in this country, right? There’s a lot of things that people spend money on that they don’t have to spend money on weddings are one of those things.

But it’s because you feel, again, that it’s this, hopefully, you know, once in a lifetime or if it’s not your first time, it’s the last time that you’re gonna do this. Uh, that’s what we did, you know, is again, 39 years ago. And uh, I didn’t put a lot of thought into it really because it wasn’t my wedding. I

Speaker 1

know if I, If, if only we knew it’s just impossible. It’s impossible because you can’t be as smart as a grown up and be getting married at 22 or whatever.

Speaker 2

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. But the people getting married now at 30 have probably been to a lot of weddings have experienced some things and one of the, when I’m teaching sales, I always say, ask them what they’ve experienced, what have you seen at other weddings that you really like they want to do with yours and what have you seen that you don’t like? And that’s a basic, you know, sales thing, What experience does your customer have, buying?

Whatever it is that you sell whatever it is you sell. Right. How many people would come for consulting services? Have never hired a consultant before. How many people who are going to a chiropractor have never been to a chiropractor before. Right. Do you know what to ask? Right, Probably not.

Speaker 1

Yeah, they don’t

Speaker 2

they don’t they don’t and it’s up to the provider, the salesperson, whoever it is because, you know, doctors in some cases or sales people to to be asking better questions because people, you know, aren’t always forthcoming. I’m unusually frank with my doctors. It surprises them sometimes that I will say that because you can’t help me if you don’t know.

So I want, this is what’s going on there. And sometimes they’re like, oh, that is very straightforward. Thank you for telling me that instead of me having to pull teeth, you know, unless it’s the dentist, they don’t do

Speaker 1

that. Let me stop you. That’s uh, you and I are identical twins that way. Where I am super. I’m super open with doctors and I’m I don’t you don’t need to warm me up. I want to get to it because I feel like I’m trying to get something out of them and my kids who are now grown just kill me because they they’ve got this thing. And I said, well, what did they say about this? I didn’t ask him, but that’s why you went this is it’s hard to be a grown up. Well

Speaker 2

you know it’s also you know we we birth these people and in some ways they’re very much like us in some ways they’re not like us. I have two sons, once a financial analyst, once a graphic designer. I mean talk about two brains that just don’t function the same way when they’re buying cars.

My younger son graphic designer four times now he’s found a car someplace online, we go see it, drive it, come home with it. And then his older brother, the analyst, you know, it’s four months from when he first decides until he gets a car because he asked to analyze

Speaker 1

everything when he was a

Speaker 2

boy. Well when he was a boy we called him a procrastinator. And then he grew up to be an analyst which is a professional procrastinator. So

Speaker 1

he’s a, he

Speaker 2

my wife bought him one of those little pieces of wood with a sign on it and it said wait a minute while I overthink this. Yeah, that that’s him,

Speaker 1

I wanna change, I wanna pivot. Isn’t that the word we learned three years

Speaker 2

ago? I’m gonna pivot.

Speaker 1

Um you have a really interesting job path, right? So you said you were working for you, you work for a magazine or you ran the magazine. Well

Speaker 2

um so if we go back, I graduated college with a degree in marketing and accounting because I was going to be an accountant. Like my dad and decided I don’t want to do that. You got it.

Speaker 1

You would be horrible at that

Speaker 2

dude. I’m really good at math. But I would, it’s funny because I’m such a wordsmith now. But I realized that my dad who was an accountant, he’s 92 is still kicking 92. He was, he was always the guy helping with words even though he was an accountant and a math guy. But if I look back, you know, cover letters, I needed to write essays and stuff. My mom helped.

My dad was really good with words, but I always thought of him as a math guy. Well, I went into advertising, got a job with young and Rubicam largest ad agency in the country hated it because I didn’t learn anything about advertising because when you’re new, as I remember in the basement, chained to a desk with windowless room, you know, making minimum wage left.

This is how bad you’re getting paid. I left to go into retail as assistant manager when they were interviewing me, they said, why do you want this job? Like you’re a magna cum laude college graduate in marketing. I said honestly, You pay 50% more than I’m making now retail paid 50% more than I was

Speaker 1

making. You know, it was bad. What were you doing in what retail? What what were you selling,

Speaker 2

consumers distributing, catalog, showroom member service merchandise. And so consumers distributing was their competitor where you went in with the catalog and you circle the thing that you wanted. And they hired me as I had never worked in a store like never never never my wife since she could work was working in retail. I had never worked in a store.

So they hired me as assistant manager. Six weeks later. I’m managing this store $3 million dollar a year. Business managing this store had no experience in retail before that. But it was a great lesson because the person that hired me hired me not my resume and I’ve I’ve always tried to pay that forward that she hired the potential in me, not what it said on that piece of paper that I had done because our resumes are just a list of what we’ve been able to do because someone gave us a

chance to do it. So I’ve always tried to pay that forward that what is it in this person that I’m looking for, not what is on the paper. And I’ve hired some people that quite frankly person became my number two sales rep when I was at the knot was selling mattresses when I hired her for advertising sales. But there was something there. And I said, you know what if I had gotten more good resumes in in that pile, you probably never would have gotten the look.

But fortunately for her, we didn’t get that many and I’m going through them going, huh? Mattress sales. That’s not easy. Right? I need somebody who can sell, who’s persistent. But these are the qualities I needed. And she became my number two rep. Also a good friend now, but it became my number two reps. So, so I was doing that and then my friend’s father had a used car dealership ever since I knew him.

And when lee Iacocca was trying to get priced out of the hole, they opened a Chrysler franchise and a year later we’re like 21 years old. My friend calls me up, I met consumers distributing and he said, hey, you know, we’re doing really well, we need another salesman. You want to sell cars. And I was like, cool. Apparently

Speaker 1

that was,

Speaker 2

That was the interview. I always loved cars. Right? And I was hanging out the used car lot. Let’s do it. So I started selling Chrysler cars and short story. I did that for six years. I was one of the top 50 Chrysler salesman in the United States. They had competitions for product knowledge the first year ever. They had the competition, I won the second year, they had it, I won the third year, they had it, I won the fourth year, they had it, I won and then I went into management and a Honda

dealership and hated it, hated it. You know when you buy a car you have to go see the other person afterwards the hammer in the back. I hated, I had no, I felt no integrity, I felt dirty, I had to sell you now I was not helping you buy, I helped you buy a car and now I was selling you things because that was my job is to sell you things and imagine that the Honda accord was the most reliable car in America like every year, every year, every year and I have to sell you the extended warranty and I

have to sell your body side molding and pinstripes and alarms and all this stuff and I was doing really well really well but hating it, my friend called and said I bought this wedding magazine franchise and I want you to come work with me. I don’t want, I don’t want a partner and it’s independent contractor, no salary, no draw, no minimum, no guarantee.

I was making really good money. My wife is pregnant, I have a company car. I had to give back the company car. I had to go by, I actually bought a dodge Aries K car and if you know what that is, it was not high styling. I yeah, I bought it with 24,000 miles. Three years later I had 100 and 17,000 miles on it cause I’m riding around knocking on doors and I was selling wedding advertising and my wife is pregnant and my son just turned three and I’m in this new industry but it was sink or swim, right?

I mean you eat what you catch like fishing and after five years we bought the franchises and published two wedding magazines. And then after five years the franchisor wanted me to come work for them. So we pivoted again, sold the franchise is back and I had a job for the first time in 10 years because I had been self employed for 10 years and I became vice president of sales after a few years there and I was the main speaker, their main sales trainer.

And 11 years later I got downsized and it was the best thing that ever happened to me, you know, instead of walking off and saying, hey, I’m gonna go do something. I got pushed off the cliff is like, I literally brad, I walked outside and I called my wife and I told her and I said if I’m gonna be a business consultant, a sales trainer, if I can’t look in the mirror and tell that guy how to start and run a successful business, then nobody should hire me so treat yourself like a customer And

that’s what I’ve done for the last 11 plus years. I always treat myself like a client. What would I consult myself to do in this particular situation and then take my advice and we’ve been, you know, hugely successful doing that. So you know, I practice what I preach.

Speaker 1

First of all, you’re awesome,

Speaker 2

but

Speaker 1

also, uh, like there’s two things that I heard, one you’re willing to work, you’re, you’re willing to be the guy who knows everything about that car. But also there’s something natural, you, there’s something innate in Alan Berg beyond the techniques and the skills and the intellect.

It’s just you got something and and that makes me um wonder like how much of sales is a personality like, well for Alan Berg, he kind of had it and how much is it? Something you can train by listening to Alan Berg,

Speaker 2

I think it’s a little of both because if I go back, I was a really shy kid um, which is surprising to a lot of people, you know, the one hanging on your mother’s leg, that was me, um didn’t like confrontation and as I went through life and I realized, um, personality traits, so you ever do one of those personality forms? You know, the the disc profile or any of those kind of things

Speaker 1

I have, but usually I just rolled my eyes in the back of my head and I said, I hate this.

Speaker 2

Yeah, me too. But I had to do one. So when I sold my franchises back, I went to work for the franchisor, they had us do this personality profile and I figured it was the Briggs Myers, whichever one it was and you know, just circling numbers, right? Not words write these words apply to me. These words apply to me and get the thing back and it said, you often find yourself in a position of leadership, but you’re not always sure how you got there.

And I started rewinding my life and now go to elementary school. And if you lined us up alphabetically, I was second. And if you lined us up by size, I was second. Right. So I was always the second shortest kid in the class and second alphabetically in the class. And yet in sixth grade, the teacher made me captain of the crossing guards, Right? The 2nd shortest kid.

Speaker 1

That was the coolest job ever. Yeah.

Speaker 2

And I had the gold badge for the triple A. Not, not the silver badge because I was the captain. And then we had a schoolyard monitor because it was in new york city. So we didn’t have grass. We had blacktop in the schoolyard. And the girl that he gave to be the schoolyard captain decided she didn’t want to do it. And instead of giving it to somebody else, he gave it to me also, right in sixth grade, this little punk, right? Why? I didn’t, I didn’t think about it at the time.

I just did it. And then I go through and thinking whenever there’s a void of leadership, I step in, I have to step in. I can’t stand chaos, that we need to organize this. So that’s just that there’s a personality thing there that I need to bring this in. But then I’ve become a good observer. Um Somebody said to my wife one time, your husband’s such a good listener. My wife is like my

Speaker 1

husband

Speaker 2

can’t be, can’t be my husband. But but I really, I

Speaker 1

do

Speaker 2

you know what we’re talking about here? You know, it’s different. You’re married. You know, it’s different. So I pick up on things, I pick up on accents, I pick up on tone and things like that and by learning what did or didn’t work for me, such as paying it forward with the resumes, right? Being hired for a job I had no skills for. But yet somebody gave me that chance.

Can I pay that forward? Uh I just finished reading a book called why work sucks. And they talk about at best buy how they created this thing called Ro R O W E A results only work environment. And when I was VP of sales, my sales reps had a lot of autonomy because they knew what they had to achieve. And I knew they were different people. And if I said, you have to do it this way, which I hate when somebody does that to me, they would not have succeeded the way they would because they were trying

to do it the way I said, instead of here we go. Um One of my clients asked me one time how many phone calls a day did you require your sales reps to make. I said I didn’t, I required them to make sales, not phone calls. If I required to make phone calls, they make phone calls. If I require to make sales, they make sales. So and I met two of my reps recently people that were, you know, starting like 15, 20 years ago and we were talking about that.

She said, yeah, I love the fact I had three kids and you said, hey, if there’s something to do at school, go right, it’s two in the afternoon go. Yes. I said I supported people because people work for us and people work with people, nobody buys from a company, they buy from people and people work with people and if they knew that I supported them.

Like I always said if I was the general, I was holding the flag in front of the troops and saying come this way and I had 100 people that would grab that flag and say let me hold that for you. There’s a lot of other people like hey the generals out front, let’s stay back here and let him get shot. You

Speaker 1

know? But

Speaker 2

it’s just how did I want to be treated treat people that way? Just you know, support people and it’s learned. Can you teach it? Yes, I have taught many, many people to listen better because one of the biggest things, you know this in any business is the salesperson that just won’t stop talking. Just just give me a chance here and they sell them, they talk through the sale and then the people go away right? They they I always say this if you if you hear a lot wow you’ve given us so much to

think about. We need to go home and process this. You’re gonna hear that occasionally. If you hear it all the time it’s your fault, it’s your fault. Stop talking. I had a salesman one time literally I said to him stop, stop I want to buy now just just stop talking. I literally said that to the salesperson, stop, I’m ready. … He was a little flushed through, he’s

Speaker 1

like

Speaker 2

Okay and then one

Speaker 1

one time I had I

Speaker 2

had to tell a sales, would

Speaker 1

love to have video of that

Speaker 2

in where was it? In O’Hare Airport? It was like one of those, you know you can get your electricity through the third party. One of the things like that right? And I had another one where somebody called up and the guys going through and he’s saying about this and I said yeah I know how that works. I had it at my other house, I said what’s the rate click click click, they’re going into the script, click, click click click click

right here and this is what it is. I said okay do it and he starts going into his pitch again. I said, no, no, no, I want to do it and he’s going to his pitch and I said, I want to buy now.

Speaker 1

There

Speaker 2

was a silence and then there was clicking because he had to find the spot in the script where the person said yes,

Speaker 1

yeah,

Speaker 2

If we would just take the time to be present, which is hard, it really is. I, I actually learned how to be present. I started doing martial arts Taekwondo when I was 39 and if I was thinking about an email that I wanted to write while you and I are sparring, you were gonna hit me and you only have to get hit a few times, do you think? Yeah, I should probably pay attention to brad right now because he wants to hit me and it really taught me to pay attention to what’s going on with you. And I’ve had

people comment like I could be at a trade show and I’m talking to someone and I’m I’m not like, head all around looking at everybody, I’m actually looking at you and talking to you because you took the time to come and talk to me, I’ll acknowledge the other people and say, I’ll be right with you, I’ll be right with you, but pay attention, but it’s learned, I was not good at this when I was a teenager, I was not good at this necessarily in my twenties, you know, I’m better.

Speaker 1

Yeah, but also there was something there there was something there that did the, that was in retail as a young dude and still doing well.

Speaker 2

Yeah, my dad always told me if you take a job you do the best you can if you don’t like the job leave, never do a bad job and that’s why at the at the Honda dealer I was doing way better than they expected me to do and the only thing they could do was pull out a piece of paper and show me how much money I was making. And in my late twenties I looked at them and I said the words, I had an epiphany, I said the words, it’s not the money and I had this epiphany is like wow, I actually meant that, I’ve heard

people say that, I couldn’t imagine they meant that because you’re a young guy, I want to get a bigger house, I want to get fancy your car, but I was working a half a day, you know, half a day, nine AM to nine PM right, that’s a half a

Speaker 1

day. My

Speaker 2

wife is, yeah, my wife is never, my wife is pregnant, I’m never home. My son is asleep by the time I get home, it’s like this is not life in my twenties like this is not life and I said it’s not the money and I meant it and um so interesting family fact, I have one uncle, one, aunt and uncle, my mother’s brother, He’s 93. He’s a life coach at 93 still. I

Speaker 1

love that

Speaker 2

Lawyer by trade because his father and his father’s two brothers were lawyers. So he became a lawyer, hated it, did some real estate. He had a health food store in the 1970s out on long island. He was way ahead of his time and he wrote a book called You Can Have It All. His name is Arnold Patent and he wrote a book called You Can Have It All. And Oprah, when she was just in Chicago, read the book, loved it and had him on twice, twice.

So here’s my uncle that’s an author, right? Sounding familiar and he started doing workshops and he would do these weekend long workshops and it was all about like universal energy and you know, laws of attraction and stuff. And when I tried to read the book when I was in my I don’t know, twenties or early thirties I thought the man had lost his mind right?

Like Universal energy. Like what what what is he talking about? This is crazy. Later I bought his book on cassette, his audio book on cassette. Remember you would get that that folder full of cassettes. And I

Speaker 1

hate I hate that, I loved I loved those, right

Speaker 2

and you had to change the tape because you know you ran out, you had to go to the next tape. Well I was driving around selling ads and I bought his book on cassette. I didn’t tell him that I never read it the first time because I couldn’t get past the first few chapters and I put it in and I was like oh oh yeah like be good and you get good right? If you put out bad you get bad. If you think negative thoughts you get negative stuff you think positive, you get positive and not Pollyanna but you know

realistic positive. And and then the other thing that we learn is failure is just part of the road to success and you have to understand your failures and you know everybody’s got stuff right. I actually had something made and I know people are listening but brad I’ll show you here where is it?

Speaker 1

It’s a playing card right?

Speaker 2

It’s a playing card but it’s a victim card

Speaker 1

victim victim it

Speaker 2

is a playing card but it says victim but I had these made because everybody has something that they could say what was me about. And we know people we both know people that were their cards on their forehead and want everybody to know about their crap and then there are people that have worst crap that we’ve ever had and they keep their card parked away and they just go through their lives.

I mean certainly at N. S. A. We see a lot of people have had lives much tougher than you and I can even imagine and yet they’re living their life and they’re being the best that they can be because they decide, you know, I’m gonna keep that card, I’m gonna put it away and I’ve had health issues, my family has had health issues. Most people don’t know about them because we don’t wear our cards out right?

But we say is let’s just live every day and let’s just enjoy. I used to be a wallflower, I was a wallflower and now I’m the guy in the middle of what’s going on and I had a boss who said to me one time, you’re always in the middle of what’s going on. I said I learned a long time ago that the people doing are having much more fun than the people watching, right?

The person tapping their foot, leaning against the wall is not having as much fun as the person on the dance floor. So be on the dance floor, you know, don’t be afraid to look foolish you, I’d rather look foolish on the dance floor than try to look cool leaning against the wall.

Speaker 1

I hold on, I gotta tweet that be on the dance floor. Hashtag alan berg

Speaker 2

that would be robbed. You know, rob

Speaker 1

hashtag hashtag I’m the most fun guy ever. I am so grateful for your time. I am going to pivot one more time. Are you ready

Speaker 2

ready? Okay.

Speaker 1

I sort of it’s still hard for me to say that we’re pivot without laughing. I love to close this podcast with um the following question, what gives you hope? And I’m about to ask you, but I’m gonna, I’m gonna tell you what I mean. So you can think about it as I’ll stall for you that it might mean what gives you hope is watching kids or it might be gives you hope is something you’re reading in the front page of the paper or it might be just like that cup of coffee you had in the morning cup of

coffee with the sun on your face. Or life is confusing right now. And, you know, we’re out of the pandemic, but we’re not really by the way, both those weddings that went to this summer, people, you know what happened, flurry of texts afterwards. Yeah, there’s nothing, not an event ever that we’re not worried about. Covid yet.

Covid’s over. So figure that out. Anyway, it’s confusing. A divided country war in europe energy prices, political nightmare. What gives you hope? So, here we are, Alan berg, CSP wedding guru, sales expert guy who always has fun, no matter what, because he puts the best out there every time. What gives you hope?

Speaker 2

People, you know, just being around people that have a positive attitude. Uh I’m fortunate to get to go to conferences and meet my audiences again, which we through Covid, you have this whole digital divide here. And what gives me hope is millennials and gen Z is that I meet that are not the stereotype that are ambitious, that are polite, that are trying to create a life for themselves and thinking back, you know, if I only knew, you know, then what I know now, but I have the ability to

share that. I have the ability to give them some of that wisdom, which there can choose to take or not. Um, my 92 year old dad gives me hope. Here’s a guy who did not think he’d be alive at this point because he had angina at 40 and a heart attack at 45 a triple bypass and a single bypass and a couple of stents and hip replaced twice and my 93 year old uncle who, I don’t know if he thought he’d be around this long either.

Um, and just seeing people going about their lives. Yeah. If I, I read the newspaper every day, I read The Times in the Wall Street Journal and it’s depressing. You know, if you go to my website, you’ll see that I’ve changed all my colors to blue and yellow because my great grandfather, I believe was born in Kiev. Um, and uh, you know, I can’t imagine that we’re so privileged and I’ve been, again, I’ve spoken to many countries I’ve visited others.

Um, remember the first time I went to India. Like I feel lucky, privileged, guilty at the same time, although I can’t change where I was born, right. Warren Buffett says, you know, I’m using his words, that he won the sperm lottery to be who he was, where he was and have the opportunities he did. And, You know, I’m past the midway part of my life because I’m a few, a few years older than you, my friend.

Um, but I’m enjoying every day, you know, just, just, you know, waking up and being next to a beautiful lady that’s been with me for 39 years and looking at my sons and what they’re achieving and their families and I look at my son’s and see how my father would look at me and that’s how I look at them now. You know, you can appreciate their successes, you know, keep your hands off.

Um got an almost six year old grandson, you know, at any moment I get this man with him, which I don’t get that much time and and a new grand puppy Hugo, we got a new grand puppy also, but you know, that gives me hope and you know, there’s sometimes I’ll take the trash out at night and I’ll just look up at the stars and you know, I think how small we are and you know, they say that light that we’re seeing left those stars millions of years ago, you know, its first arriving here now and you know,

it’s the sun is shining today and then I’m going to ST Lucia this weekend to speak and pinch myself and go, yeah, um I think imposter syndrome also gives me hope that I’m not so full of myself that no matter what I achieve that I can still step back and go, you’re one lucky son of a gun. Yeah, uh

Speaker 1

you’re a good man.

Speaker 2

Thank you. I try,

Speaker 1

I

Speaker 2

do. That’s part of what I try to do is just because we’re from a mixed religion couple and people say, what did you teach your kids? I said just to be good people

Speaker 1

just

Speaker 2

just be just be good people, be nice, be kind, be generous, don’t think about just yourself and you know, enjoy your life and, and and that’s it. You don’t need to be more complicated than that if you choose to be in a particular house of worship and put a label on it. Great. And if not just just be kind,

Speaker 1

he just stole my keynote dude, I am so grateful for you. You you, we started at the very beginning of the podcasting. It’s called successful, interesting and awesome and your path through your life is so interesting and it’s part of it has been hard work and part of it I think has just been, you have got a unique and fantastic way of looking and approaching the world. So it’s I’m so glad to get to spend time with you. Well

Speaker 2

thank you for inviting me. I I love, well I love talking with you at the conferences. It’s great to do this and have people listening in. I hope that you got something out of it. Um you know, I have my red book over my shoulder called your attitude for success and I talk about health issues because my own health issues and other things through there

Speaker 1

and it’s a

Speaker 2

choice, right? It’s a choice how we approached every day. It’s a choice how we approach the world and um when I wish people happy birthday every day on facebook, the message I send them is that you know, in life and in business, you can’t help how people and things make you feel, but you do control how long you feel that way, so choose to be happy. You know, it’s a choice and I like being happy.

Speaker 1

Well I like being with you, which makes me happy. Tell us the name of your podcast please.

Speaker 2

Wedding business solutions, a wedding business solutions podcast, that’s on apple and Youtube and all the platforms there or podcast dot Alan berg dot com And you can find the links all there and all my books and everything is, is over there and if anybody happens to touch the wedding and event

Speaker 1

industry, if

Speaker 2

I can help you in any way, that’s where I

Speaker 1

am. If you are in the wedding and event industry or exploring industry, you’re crazy not to like about burger. All right, Everybody thinks uh be good, be nice to each other. Just like Alan said, see you next time.

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