Friday, October 19, 2012

Love,love,LOVE my business clients!

I really do. They are awesome!
I am very organised myself and have lived in US for a long time where competition is fierce (regardless of what business you're in and whether you are a man or a woman).
Being organised, self-motivated and disciplined in there often meant the difference between being able to make a living (often a very good one) and struggling just above the poverty line.
Appointments were made and kept, people showed up on time, everyone checked their emails several DOZEN times a day and phone calls were promptly answered and/or returned.
I spent my last 4 years in US being a Real Estate Agent and running my own property management company. To give you an idea of what competition was really like: there were 17000 licensed Real Estate Agents in Las Vegas alone. And that's not counting the ones who weren't licensed themselves, but worked under their broker's "umbrella". To make money, one really had to hassle.
I usually woke up early, went straight to my desk to check my emails and the day was off to a running start from that point on.
Potential/current clients called me as early as 7:30am and as late as 10pm. Often times the fact that I've answered the phone made a difference (as in, I've got the sale), as people hardly ever bothered leaving messages-they just dialed the next agent.
I often did the set-up and cleaning of the properties myself, as A) Hired cleaners didn't do a good enough job B) Time was of the essence: having property available for move-in that night/early morning meant that I had the tenants there straight away.
I've created a niche market:  investors who bought from me and had me manage their properties referred other investors to me (as I offered things no other agent did, which took a lot of work on my part). So with all those other available agents in town, I never had to advertise my services-I was plenty busy as it was.

I love my business clients, because they are very much the same: they are in control of their lives. They work hard and they reward themselves accordingly. They plan their business and entertainment.
They make bookings in advance, turn up on time, turn off their phones and let themselves relax and "unplug" for scheduled hour, 2 hours or whatever time they have allocated. Then they go back to work, refreshed and rejuvenated.

I subscribe to Eastern philosophies. I believe that you get exactly what you've put out there (into the Universe). If your thoughts are constantly in disarray, if you do not see clearly your day/week/month,etc ahead, if you always get caught by surprise by various emergencies and other people seem to disrupt your life, then that's exactly what you should expect to happen over and over again.
So when people tell me: "Oh, I don't know, I'll see how my day goes and what all happens", I just laugh. Because they let OTHERS control their life, quite clearly.
Fact is, planning is not hard. You sit down and you map out your meetings, appointments,etc in your diary. You dedicate certain times/duration for those. Sure, some of those could be a bit unpredictable as far as length as concern, so you "budget" a bit more time for them.
Someone who's been in charge and/or run their own successful business usually knows his coming days/week schedule without having to look in his diary.
Good example is my flatmate. He is an upper management in his company-in charge of the business of that company for the whole of New Zealand. His company doesn't deal with individuals,either-it's major corporations only. He has very good grip on his schedule.
For instance, when he is having dinner with his family on Sun night, he can always tell his daughter whether or not he will be able to give her a ride on any given day at any given time of the upcoming week-he knows exactly what he has scheduled. He also doesn't let his business life completely overtake his personal life: he schedules personal events/entertainment,etc and then just turns off his work phone during those.
Let's face it: unless you are a heart surgeon who is assigned to emergency room duties and are put "on-call", there is really nothing that can't wait for a few hours.
Yes, economy is tough these days, but if you handle your business right and provide CONSISTENT good service that represents good value to your customers, they will stay with you. They will learn to schedule their appointments and they will not drop you and go to your competition because you didn't answer their phone call the minute they rang, because they KNOW you WILL get back to them and when you do, you will have a solution and that solution will be the best available.
You just need to go on with your plan. Sometimes people will cancel on you-no big deal. People who are truly in charge of their life and business will not let others disrupt their day. If someone cancels on you, don't try restructure YOUR whole day because of it. Just do something that you needed to do anyway: maybe take a much-needed walk or do a quick brain-storm with your crew or catch up on your email/phone calls, or read a good book for a while. There are dozens if things that could be done.
I have a number of business clients (I love you guys, I really do) who put down time scheduled with me as "Project meeting" in their diary. Those are the people I know I can count on. They never cancel and they are never late. They also are the ones I have the most fun with, as we both relaxed and those guys tent to be well and truly self-differentiated people. They don't try to prove anything to anyone, or show off or impress me (or anyone else). They know what they are and are very secure at that knowledge. No matter what fantasy/kink we are exploring, they always are comfortable in their own skin, which, in turn, makes me comfortable as well.
When a new client like that contacts me, they usually do it via email or phone call. They describe exactly what they have in mind, ask if I am able/willing to provide the service described, tell me what day/time/duration they prefer and schedule a booking. It's simple and straight forward.

Then there are those who call and start with pointless questions like "So what's your day is like today?"...     Huh?? 
Here's some examples.
Guy rings me at 10:15am. Asks what my schedule is like (I hate those kinds of pointless questions). I reply that if he tells me what time he has in mind for a booking, I will be able to provide him with my availability around that time frame. He huffs for a few seconds.. "Well, I am just seeing what my day is gonna be like, trying figure things out"... Pause.. "What, you don't have any bookings today?"-he continues. "Well, I have a tentative 2pm, but unconfirmed at this stage, so if you'd like that time and want to make a confirmed booking, I will schedule you now and then will work the other person around that"
"Uhm.. How about 10:45am?"-he asks
I am floored. After all this talk about my DAY he actually wants a "now" appointment (which I don't offer and clearly state that in my ad).
I explain that I don't do "now" bookings. He says "Oh..OK.. Well, I'll give you a call later on, when I figure out my day" (remember, he started the conversation with that).
I ask bluntly "Are you really going to call back or it's just not gonna happen"
"Well, I really wanted 10:45am" he says.
I am thinking "Then why didn't you say so, when you first started talking instead of wasting mine and yours time with questions about my day and my other bookings?? What does it matter what I have booked at 2pm if you want "now" appointment??"

I'd like to digress a little and explain why I don't offer "now" bookings. I don't work where I live, for starters-I rent some one else's premises by the hour for work. So, first and foremost, I need time to get there.
Also, I found that if I only work on certain days, there are always people wanting to book me on the days that I DON'T WORK. So I've decided on compromise: I will be available every day, but will require advance bookings.
Obviously, I have a life. I don't sit around all dressed up in lingerie, fully made up, hair perfectly coiffed all day and wait for the phone to ring. I stay in shape by walking for at least an hour (usually more) every day. I need to do shopping, cleaning,etc. I get facials, massages and other treatments.
I meet with my friends. I go to the theater and I eat out.
When someone calls on my ad, they expect the girl in the photos: make-up, lingerie,stilettos and all.
Well, that takes time: I need to get home from wherever I happen to be, get showered, put the make-up on, get to my work location and get changed for a booking.

 When the guys are horny, they think with their "little head". They want sex NOW. They say they don't care about your clothes, make-up, etc. That might be true. Until they had sex and came. Then, on their way home, they start thinking with their "big head", replaying the whole encounter. And now they feel shortchanged. They think they didn't get what was advertised,as they expected the "whole package"-and rightfully so. They will definitely not book me again.
Guys book private girls for a reason. They want ambiance, they want the whole "experience". That's why they pay premium rates.
It was different when I worked for a low-end agency where we relied on volume to make money. Most guys (not all,of course-there were some really nice clients there, but few and far in between)who frequented that place never heard of internet forums or even NZG. They wanted a quick,cheap shag, available on demand. Clothes were actually a hindrance, as they took time to get out of (those guys often only booked for 15 min). So, yes, I often opened the door in the nude..LOL.. I also was called more than once by the agency owner at 9am on Sat or Sun morning (I lived just around the corner) because some guy was there, desperate to get laid. I went around in my PJs, without any make-up. They didn't care one little bit-they just wanted a quick lay.
As I started working privately, I have a totally different clientele. And this business is unforgiving.
I am well aware that punters PM each other and many know each other personally. They compare notes. Not to mention reviews on the forums.
Yes, I might miss out on a couple of hundreds bucks by not accepting "now" booking, but I would loose few hundred, if not more in potential AND repeat business if I cave into guy's pleas and then get a review that says "Yana had no make-up on, appeared out of breath and sweaty when she opened the door and was wearing her street clothes and Sketchers".
I am very grateful to the fact that I am financially secure, so am never tempted to do "now" bookings.
I've spoken to my regular clients and they agree: it is a much better compromise to have to book me in advance (which they do anyway) and have me available every day rather than have me only work on certain days. It just gives better range of appointments,as many of them (clients) come to town on different days and those often cannot be changed.
That's why when someone rings at 5:40pm and I inform them that my next available appointment would be at 7:15pm,as I already have 6:30pm pre-booked, I will always say "No" to his pleas to "squeeze" him in before the other guy (true story).
I pride myself in consistency and dependability. The flip side of that is no "now" bookings. Yes, I loose some (not much) business because of that. But it's OK with me.

Back to the guys with pointless questions.
Had one just yesterday.
Guy: "Hi, I saw your ad on NZG. So, when's your next available appointment?"
Me: "What time would you like to book for?"
Guy: "Well, probably not 'till tomorrow.." (why on earth did you ask me about my NEXT available,then??)
Me: "Great. I like the guys who plan in advance. What time were you thinking?"
Guy: "Weeelll... I'll call you after lunch tomorrow... I have to see how my day goes.." (WTF?)
Me: "Ok. But please keep in mind that I get booked in advance. If you call me tomorrow after lunch, I might have nothing available at that stage"
Guy: "Oh...OK.."

Here's the thing. I really do only take very limited number of bookings every day (usually two, three at the very most and only one if it's a 3-hour booking). That's why I wanted to work privately: so I can have a proper work/life balance.
I give my all at every booking and it's very draining. I don't take bookings when I am tired and feel that I cannot give the client 100%.
As my regular clients pre-book in advance, often times all it takes is one phone call in the morning for a 1-hour booking (in addition to the one I had pre-booked for that day) and voila-I am fully booked for that day. So calling me a saying things like "I want to see you tomorrow, but I don't know when (not even a ballpark) and I'll call you tomorrow" is often un-productive and pretty much a waste of time.
Also, you spend a fairly large amount of money on this "hobby"-it often equals a good portion of your weekly wages. Wouldn't you want to plan that kind of spending carefully and in advance?

My lovely, amazing business clients! I love you dearly. You are my "bread and butter". You are also the ones that I can truly enjoy myself with. You challenge my mind, you often make me think outside of the box, you enlighten me in so many ways.
I just wanted to express my sincere gratitude to you. Mwah!

1 comment:

  1. Holy crap ! I heard the rattling of keys & muttering at the computer but 2,416 words, 10,913 characters & 197 lines later I need oxygen before I read the post properly because there are no pauses for breath !

    Anyhoe, back to topic. Yes planning is important & back in my punting days when I wasn't seeing a regular where bookings were often planned a week or more in advance on the rare occasion I called someone looking for a same day appointment I was always apologetic & never expecting "now".

    It's called professional respect. And for what it's worth many of the unplanned bookings with strangers were nowhere near as good as planned & researched ones due largely to the big head being in control.