Wedding Planning Success Lounge – The 6 C’s to close the sale
Initial consultations are very important to close the sale. You only have a few minutes, maybe even less, to make a good impression and get the attention of your potential client but you should be able to find out a little from your potential client before this consultation. For instance, make sure that your client is able to pay what you charge for or at least she / he can afford your services even if she / he doesn’t want to spend that much. Then at the consultation you can tell her / him what your value is, what you bring to the table. If you are good in explaining your value the client will sign your agreement but remember, they need to be able to afford you. Also, make sure that their style matches your expertise, you don’t want a rustic chic couple if you are specialized in formal, glamorous ballroom weddings: you are probably not familiar with the style and you don’t know the appropriate vendors so you won’t provide stellar service to your client.
We all know that wedding couples buy for their reasons, not yours, right? They are looking for someone who can solve their problems and can give them a stress-free celebration. This is why you should craft your presentation at the first meeting based on that: accommodating their needs and solving their problems.
You have to keep this in mind: when couples meet you they are probably shopping around, they don’t know much about weddings and wedding planning (unless they got married before), they don’t know about prices, they don’t know what to expect about services / packages, and most of all they don’t want to be pressured for that sale. There is a very strong emotional aspect playing during the first consultation: remember, this is not a standard business transaction where a client comes to you to buy something and if she or he likes what you sell, he or she will buy it. Couples are very excited about their special day and they are envisioning a memorable celebration. They’re not thinking about the actual sale (which is important for you because you’re the professional wedding planner here), for them it’s something that will help them achieve a stress-free and memorable wedding. It is a sale but they don’t consider it as such therefore, they hate to be pushed for that sale and it’s your personality and attitude towards them that will win. Buying decisions are emotional in the wedding industry, you don’t sell – you solve problems! Your job is to find out what the bride and groom need and are willing to pay for. So, ask questions and listen.
And close that sale! How? You know about the 4 C’s of diamonds, those characteristics that are considered the most important in determining a diamond’s value: Cut, Clarity, Color, Carat. Well, here are the 6 C’s for selling at a consultation.
Tell your couple how long you will be working together, make sure that the time frame for each type of service is clearly specified in the conversation, and it will be clearly specified in the proposal and in the agreement. One example is for the so-called Day-Of package: some planners offer day-of assistance meaning, they will just be there at the rehearsal and on the wedding day, while others will start their assistance before (my Day-Of starts two weeks before the wedding date). The more you work with the couple the more assistance you provide, you should make them understand the value of having you for a longer period because the last few weeks will become very hectic and the couple will go nuts!
By showing you have knowledge about your job, about trends, about things to do, about contracts, etc. really sells. The couple looks for a professional who knows how to handle everything during the planning and on the wedding day. Also, make sure that all of your sales materials are great looking and clean. No coffee stains, crumpled papers, please otherwise you might send the wrong message. You should also give your presentation in an organized manner to reflect you, your business. Couples are coming to you because they need organization in their planning. If you don’t show this you will lose trust.
Always provide great ideas during the initial meeting. Ask about their vision and when they will tell you about their colors, style, or theme, provide some suggestions based on your experience (“We could do something like this, we could add this element to make it more French-inspired”, etc.). Think constructive and positive thoughts.
Put your couple at ease, make them feel comfortable and welcome, make them the most important part in the conversation, and let them talk about their vision, their expectations, their desires. And, offer advice as in the Creativity point above. Choosing the right location is also key: a coffee shop might not be the best option. Do you have an office space or a design studio where you can meet them? Excellent! Or, you can meet them at a location that might match their vision.
Let them talk but always stay in control of the conversation and go back to the topic if they start to wander around talking about other things that are not relevant about their wedding. You want them to be focused on the wedding day, on their experience with you, on their successful event.
Give your clients a few options about your packages: I would recommend three (or four at the most) different packages that they can choose. The most popular one should always be in the middle because that’s what couples usually tend to select. I offer four collections and they are: Day-Of, Month-Of, Full-Service a la carte (couples will tell me what they need and I will customize the package for them) and the Ultimate Full Service package which includes everything they will need. My most popular packages are Month-Of and the Full Service a la carte, which are listed in the middle.
TAKE ACTION ~~~~ Plan your initial consultation in advance by asking your potential clients about their needs and budget BEFORE you meet them. Make sure your presence sells and that you are able to solve our clients’ problems!
Holistic Precision Life Coach, Brain Wellness Coach, and Life-Work Balance Strategist for busy professionals. I blend well-being principles with epigenetics, neuroscience, positive psychology, and mindfulness techniques to implement effective behavior changes.