Working with Celebrities
This is not a post about marketing or advertising to celebrities. Quite frankly, my husband and I have worked with all sorts of film, television, design and music superstars but we are not quite sure HOW they found our niche custom furniture website.
Google changes their algorithms so often, it is hard to keep up with the latest search engine optimization protocols. At times, it feels like we are just throwing keywords at the internet and hoping one of them sticks.
This post is about what to do once you have that celebrity on the phone or in your store. Here are my top three tips after working with celebrities for 15 years:
1. Act Naturally
Be yourself. Do not put on airs and pretenses. Just relax and act naturally. Answer questions honestly and above all, be polite.
Not long after we launched our online custom furniture business (in 1999), I answered a call from a potential client who had a few questions about bookcases. We had a very friendly conversation, I answered each of her questions, and she decided to order paint finish samples so she could coordinate with her color palette. It was a very typical call, much like every other potential sales call, except this potential client was Adrienne Barbeau.
A few weeks later, Ms. Barbeau called back to order her custom bookcase, apologizing for taking so long to get back to me. She had been “on location”.
2. Respect Their Privacy
I asked Ms. Barbeau for permission to use her name on our website, which she granted. Many celebrities want their privacy respected, and so I will not name drop just to impress you. And if you are lucky enough to do business with a celebrity, I highly recommend asking permission before you send out any press releases.
I have fielded sales calls from celebrities across the board, including the dynamic design duo Mark Badgley and James Mischka, whose Kentucky home was featured in Elle Decor magazine shortly after the custom bed we made for them was delivered. The bed is the featured image in the online version of the article. Elle Decor called to ask us for specific product and company information before the article was published. If the celebrity mentions you by name, it’s okay to mention them, too.
Some celebrities guard their privacy closely. One client in particular had her assistant set up telephone appointments with me in advance of calling. I was told by the assistant in no uncertain terms that her privacy was paramount.
Always ask permission to publicize a celebrity’s name in your marketing.
We asked Tate Taylor, director of “The Help” and “Get on Up”, for permission to use his name, and he sent us a raving testimonial plus photos of the bed we made for him in his home!
3. Send a Thank You Card
A few years later, Mr. Taylor contacted us because he was moving and needed some minor repairs done to his bed. Upon return of the repaired bed, he sent us a lovely handwritten note of appreciation.
If you have been following this blog, you know that I am a champion of the thank you card habit. After every sale, a thank you card should be sent to the client, celebrity or not.
It’s classy and memorable.
Remember the star who needed her privacy protected? I sent her a thank you card and gift. A few weeks later she called to rave about my husband’s work and ordered more custom furniture.
Every Client is a Star
It is phenomenal doing business with celebrities. Loads of fun. But guess what? Every client who walks through your doors needs to be treated like a super star. Tips 1, 2 and 3 apply to all of your clients, celebrity or not.
Leave a comment or question below. I’d love your feedback.