As a planner, a huge part of our responsibility is to give our clients what they want. The other is to make sure that it makes sense. Our clients hire us because they need someone to assist them in making educated decisions based on our expertise and professional know-how. Letting our clients know when their idea does not make sense is paramount since not addressing any potential issues will ultimately have a negative impact on the outcome of the overall event. As a professional, you don’t want to be in a position that gives room for you to second-guess yourself. I’m big on going with my gut.
If it doesn’t feel right, then it just isn’t.
The heart of the matter is that there is a fine line between giving our clients exactly what they want and putting ourselves in a position that will jeopardize their event and possibly our credibility. I know it’s tough to shoot down our client’s ideas because sometimes they are so enamored with them that it breaks our heart to do so. A big part of helping them understand is to be prepared with an alternative that will blend their idea with a logical solution. In other words, find alternatives that work. Most clients will keep an open mind and consider suggestions proposed by a professional. After all, that’s why they hired us in the first place. Equally important is being true to ourselves and to our clients when we discover that one of our ideas doesn’t work! Don’t be afraid to be proactive about it, don’t lead the client to believe that all is fantastic if you know it will be detrimental to execute.
So is having this conversation with your clients about feelings, logic, or experience? I say all of the above. All of these come into play when it comes to handling a situation like this properly. The wedding planning process is often an emotionally-charged affair; it’s important to establish trust from the beginning and it’s much easier to make suggestions if we understand our client’s needs and their ultimate goal from the start. Clients will respect you more when your advice is prudent, and most importantly, honest.
Question: How do gently-yet firmly- suggest alternative options to client’s who need a little guidance away from a not-so-great idea? How do your clients usually respond?
With a Happy Heart,
Kathy Romero is the Director of Event Planning for Preston Bailey Designs. She shares her thoughts and advice on Preston’s Blog every Thursday.
(Photo courtesy of Matthew Lee of CLY Creations)