Wedding Planner Experience
Listening & selling an experience
by: Bisli for planners & brides
In order to sell the Wedding Planner Experience, you must listen first before you deliver it. I can’t sell anything if my client has not told me their vision or some key details of what they expect to have the day of their event. Listening is an art and a very powerful tool to sell the experience. I know what we are capable of doing, but how can I tell my client what they need if I don’t even know what their budget is or what they have dreamed all their life to have? This is their moment to shine and for you to get all that information in their brain that they have accumulated for so long. Listening helps you to start the conversation of what is possible for their event and as professionals, we should not interrupt our client while they are concentrated on painting the picture of their vision. They will get confused and end up getting what they never planned or wanted to get, which makes for a very unhappy customer. After we listen that 80% of usual listening, then we have 20% to talk. This will show the prospective client that we respect their time and that we were paying attention while they were communicating their ideas. At this moment, we should also be taking notes on the most important remarks they make and when it is our turn to speak, we will review all the notes with them to make sure we all are on the same dream-page. Your prospective customer will be so appreciative of you paying attention to them because it shows the respect that you used their time in a positive and productive way. Also, doing so will showcase your professionalism and it is also a great opportunity to talk about a realistic budget that you can start working with in order to carry on to the next meeting.
The first consultation is not always to close the sale because it takes time and effort to put an amazing experience together. Therefore the second consultation is not a dream anymore because you already know what they want and what budget to work with. This will be the opportunity to close the sale because you already opened it and at this stage of the consultation the client is enthusiastic and looking forward to hearing what you have worked on and why you are the perfect company for their budget. If for any reason they want more than their budget and it does not match their expectation and they insist on wanting everything for a minimum, you cannot concede because it will damage your business and brand. Be sincere and tell them in good terms that you will be happy to work with their budget and explain to them why their exaggerations are not doable. By doing this you will gain their trust because you did not promise something that you will not be able to deliver 100% within an unrealistic budget.
I have talked to some business owners and I am horrified with what some of them have said. They will do anything to be busy and others have said money is their priority, brand or not, which harms their profit in the long run. Some get trapped by clients promising that they will get referrals from this event because their event is going to have so many people that are going to have events and they will see your work and will hire you, among other empty promises. Don’t believe in such fantasies and instead be realistic. If you help one customer then the word will spread throughout their friends and/or community and everybody will come for that discount. Remember that you are just not selling your services or products, you are selling yourself, your brand and an amazing experience.
You must also be mindful of different cultural experiences, wherein negotiation is a crucial part of business dealings within different societies. Without being insensitive to their concerns, do not give in to professional negotiators that are sometimes brought in from within different cultural communities to discuss business on the customer’s behalf. Assure them that it is better to discuss these matters without any interference in order to achieve their dreams and dismiss any negotiators with civility and courtesy. This way, you do not cause any offense to your client and assure them that you are truly a professional and will not cheat them out of their perfect day.
I believe that when we are selling our services or products, we view it as a very easy thing to do and we do not care about delivering an experience that they will always remember as the best day of their life. I believe that anybody can put flowers, decor and other things together for an event but when the guests arrive they will make it very clear how tacky and/or unenjoyable the experience actually is. It all becomes just a collection of stuff and not an experience delivered by qualified professionals that really care about their brand and reputation.
No two events are the same and the same thinking goes for the budgets. Therefore, the price will change when we customize what they want. I have heard some people say that they want to get married on weekdays because the price is less and I have never understood why. If they are having the same labor, same service same product, then they will have the same experience according to their budget. Remember, we get wherever their budget takes us. For example, if your clients have a birthday party and they want the same experience as a $100,000 wedding then they must pay the same price, but if you will not charge them that and provide that level of quality because you did not hear the word wedding, you are insulting them and yourself by giving them not only needless discounts but definitely a discounted experience.
If a wedding client wants one hundred orchids and the birthday client wants one hundred balloons, then the price should be the same and the only thing that will increase the price is if they will want it all to be delivered and set up/torn down and in that case then you must charge for this service separately.