DEAR PRESTON: SHOULD I TRAVEL TO SEE A POTENTIAL CLIENT ON MY OWN DIME?
August 2, 2011
I’m a new wedding planner with a predicament. A couple called me about planning their wedding. However, they’ve requested a proposal. Normally, I would have no problem with this. But the couple lives five hours away from my offices, and they are getting married on their property. That’s ten hours on the road just to meet them, see the location, and present them with my proposal. And there’s no guarantee they’ll hire me! I’m especially nervous, because I heard through the grapevine that they are seriously considering two other local planners. I don’t want to say no, and lose out on this great job, but I also don’t want to waste my time and money on a trip that may prove fruitless. What should I do?
To Go or Not to Go
Dear To Go or Not to Go,
I always suggest that potential clients come to my office for our first meeting. This is a great way to give clients a sense of your world. Touring your office is an opportunity for clients to see you in your element; what could be a better introduction?
It’s very rare that clients will insist on meeting on their turf first, and I don’t like the sound of the situation you’re in. Clients who are asking multiple planners to spend 10 hours traveling just to give them a proposal sounds like a bit much to me.
Tell this couple that you would love to visit them at their property but that you have a day rate. Explain that you’ll have to charge them for your visit. However, if you get the job, the cost of the visit will be applied to their final bill. If this couple is really serious, they’ll have no problem with this arrangement. And if they aren’t, well, you won’t be wasting your valuable time.
Keep in mind as well that by making this suggestion, you’re conveying to this couple that you’re a professional, your time is valuable and yet you are always fair.
Dear Readers, what advice would you give “To Go or Not To Go?” How do you make yourself stand out when you know potential clients are considering other vendors? Please share your thoughts in the comments.