Elite concierge Michael Fazio shares his trade secrets with EW

By Adam Markovitz
Updated January 28, 2011 at 05:00 AM EST
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Tables at hot restaurants, front-row tickets, one-of-a-kind gifts: Elite concierge Michael Fazio has scored them all for his high-paying private clientele. Now the author of Concierge Confidential tells EW his tricks.

1. Know exactly what you’re asking for
Being vague is a beginner’s mistake. ”It just cries out ‘Amateur!”’ Fazio says. So if you’re looking for, say, a back-ordered Hermés purse, know the precise name and color you want before making any calls.

2. Be candid ”Sometimes people sugarcoat things because they’re embarrassed,” says Fazio, who insists honesty is the best way to get what you need. When a client asked him to create a dog-size knockoff of a designer dress, Fazio simply explained his situation to the dress manufacturer, who provided the fabric. ”If you have a specific desire, just say it. People will hear you out.”

3. Make connections Don’t know anyone who can get you a table at that trendy restaurant? Use the Web to find the name of a chef or another staffer. ”If you’re just an average Joe, you’re one of 10 billion people. You need to call and say, ‘Hey, it’s John. I need to talk to so-and-so!”’ he says. ”Just the fact that you know a name, that gets you on the inside.”

4. Don’t have a Plan B No matter how hard your task may be, Fazio says that having a backup plan is the quickest way to sabotage it. ”You can’t have plan B. You have to go all at it, and plan B will present itself,” he says. Case in point: A client wanted to surprise his girlfriend with a bathtub filled with Godiva hot chocolate. When it turned out the price was too high, Fazio got 40 gallons of liquid fudge from a restaurant supplier instead. The result? A sticky tub — and a satisfied client.

5. If all else fails… call a concierge When you really need to make the impossible possible, get help. ”Find the most expensive hotel in that area, call the concierge, and negotiate a fee,” says Fazio. ”Tell them you’re not staying there. Don’t try to bulls— them.” Instead, leave the trickery to the pros. ”There’s a little bit of con in concierge,” laughs Fazio. ”It’s our job.”

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