I had a delightful morning today with a friend of mine, Patrice Ducoffe of Ducoffe Wedding Concierge (doesn't her name just sing with sophistication?). We met at Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee in Roswell, Georgia, to network and learn a little more about each others' businesses.
We realized, while drinking rich African coffee and indulging in delicious (and huge!) muffins that what we do is very comparable. Patrice is a wedding concierge - she is a hands-on wedding coordinator who can do everything for the bride from researching florists and reception venues to reminding her to write her thank you notes. Similarly, as a REALTOR®, I am the concierge of my clients' real estate transactions. I do more than just show homes- I coordinate the transaction from the first contact through the closing (meeting the home inspector, communicating with the attorney and the lender, sometimes more than the buyers themselves) and beyond closing day, including reminding them to file for their Homestead Exemption, wishing them a happy first home anniversary and continuing to provide them with valuable referrals to vendors when they need them. Those vendors who have proven themselves trustworthy and reliable and who have been referred to me by clients who have used their services.
As we discussed my own wedding experience (she can't believe I only paid $36 for my dress, but that's another story for another day!) as well as some of her recent experiences with brides, we also discussed the fact that the vendors we know and refer on a daily basis are a reflection on our own businesses. As the saying goes: a happy client will tell one person, an unhappy client will tell ten! So I constantly monitor the feedback I receive - if a client has been unhappy with a vendor or service provider whose name they got from me, I won't feel comfortable giving out that person's name again. That being said, I know that I can feel good about giving out the names and numbers of my most trusted service providers, from my painters to my electrician to my hardwood flooring contractors, and on and on. If my clients choose another vendor, I ask them to give me feedback about that person, as well as why they chose them (price, personality, referral) - I want to know whether I have another person to add to my list...or not.
Sometimes knowing someone on a personal level is different than knowing them on a professional level, but even though I haven't worked directly with Patrice or had occasion to use her services (sadly, I was married before we met - I wish I'd met her earlier!) I know that Patrice truly loves what she does and has built a fabulous business built on personalized customer service. In our two industries - where stress and strain can often rule the day - knowing that you have someone on your side to be your concierge and confidante can alleviate the anxiety and make the process what it should be - an enjoyable time to remember, whether it's your wedding day or buying your first (or second or third!) home.
ENGAGED? Patrice and six of her preferred vendors and service providers are currently holding a contest called "Lucky in Love." If you're newly engaged and are feeling lucky, log onto her website at www.DucoffeeWeddingConcierge.com and share your "oh-so-romantic, why-I-love-this-guy engagement story. You could WIN a Wedding Giveaway Package worth $3500 which includes a wedding gown from Wedding Angels Bridal Boutique (up to $1000 value), a bridal bouquet from Blossoms Atlanta ($250 value), an engagement photo session from PhotoSynthesis Atlanta ($300 value), a bride's hairstyle from Plum Tree Salon ($250 value), a bridesmaids luncheon from Party Chic ($250 value), wedding favours from Angel Lane Bakery ($250 value), and a month-of-the-wedding coordination by Ducoffee Wedding Concierge ($1250 value). (For a flyer with more info, click here or just visit www.DucoffeWeddingConcierge.com.)
Maura Neill, ABR, CRS, MA
The Gebhardt Group
RE/MAX Greater Atlanta
10220 Medlock Bridge Road
Johns Creek, GA 30097