The holiday season is also engagement season, so it’s little wonder I’ve been meeting with so many new brides-to-be recently. And this week, I’m devoting all of my blog posts to tips on securing new wedding business. Here’s my advice for today:
1. The First Contact:
You’ll most likely hear from the bride either via email or phone. Either way, do everything you can to return her inquire within five minutes. Remember, most brides will be contacting several vendors. Return her call promptly and you’ll demonstrate that you are responsive to her needs. Some brides will launch right into business, wanting to know about your services and costs. That makes perfect sense, but I’m a romantic at heart, so I always ask how the couple met. Don’t wait to make a personal connection; encourage the bride to share her story.
2. The First Interview:
The first contact is also the first interview for both the bride and for you. You should be able to tell very quickly if this bride is a good fit for your services. Pay attention to what she says about her budget. If you’re one of the brave vendors who lists your prices online, then the bride will already know exactly what to expect. However, if you don’t, realize that the bride will be eager to hear specifics. Ideally, you want to discuss your prices in person, but you also don’t want to waste anyone’s time. Many years ago, I was talking to a potential client on the phone, and I mentioned that my low centerpieces start at $300. (This, naturally, isn’t how much they cost today.) The bride I was talking to balked; she thought I was out of my mind and had been expecting $75. I instantly realized we were not right for each other. However, even if you’re talking to a bride who isn’t a good fit for your business, never make her feel as if her money doesn’t matter. Be gracious. Usually, I recommend such brides to another vendor. I also always encourage them to call me back if they ever need design advice or any other assistance.
3. The First Meeting:
This is your moment to shine. First impressions can mean everything, because, yes, you’re being judged. And, regardless of the quality of your work, potential clients are eager to bond. So, here’s what I suggest:
– Greet the bride warmly right as she arrives
– Make sure that your phone and computer are off; you will spend this meeting completely devoted to the bride
– Act as if the bride is a guest in your home. Offer her coffee, tea, water, or even a glass of champagne
– Have a pretty tray out with chocolates, nuts, dried fruit or candies
– After the customary greetings, I usually begin by asking, “How may I help you?”
– Now is the moment to become an active listener
– Be very careful about any namedropping. It doesn’t matter who your past clients have been; you want your new client to feel like the star
– Pay attention to any clues the bride drops about her likes and dislikes
– Keep these likes in mind when you go to show her images of your work — start with the images you think she’ll like the most
– Never make the bride feel rushed; let her take her time
– Most brides care a lot about price; when you show the bride examples of your work, tell her how much each job cost and why
– Think about how you want to say good bye at the end of the meeting. Be clear with your intentions. I usually say something like, “Thank you for coming in. I’m very excited about your wedding and would love the opportunity to design it.”
– Finally, and most importantly, ALWAYS BE YOURSELF!
Dear Readers, do you list your prices on your website? Has it worked for you? I continue to struggle with this one: should I or shouldn’t I? Can namedropping increase your credibility with potential clients?