How to Conduct a Client Meeting for your Wedding Business
I remember when I was just starting off in the wedding business. Meeting with clients was kind of scary. It was like being in a job interview every single time.
How do you sell yourself without sounding pushy? How do you get them to like you and hire you? What if they hire someone over you? What if they think I’m too expensive, are my prices right?
These fears are totally normal.
If you haven’t already, pick up a copy of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People.
I read it years ago and his ideals have stuck with me.
The more and more you hold prospective client meetings, it gets easier.
I have been in customer service a long, long time. Whether it was selling T-shirts and jeans at the American Eagle Outfitters in college or coffee and bagels, your main goal is to provide a product or service. With wedding + event planning you are in a sense, selling yourself. You are your brand. Your service is what you are selling. What can you do for them?
Before I tell you how to conduct a client meeting I want to tell you the secret to all of this. What you are selling, you have to BELIEVE in. I find that to be the easiest way to sell.
Have you ever listened to a podcast, watched a Netflix show, or went to see a movie that you totally loved? Did you want to post on instagram about it? Or call your friend and tell them they HAVE to see this?
Thats how I felt when I was with a client. I wanted them to know how important what I was offering them will be to them. I personally believed that I was going to make their wedding experience so much better if they hired me. I believed it (I) was exactly what they needed.
I used to tell my friends when they were getting married, “Look, I don’t know what your budget is, but if I can give you any advice, hire a wedding planner AT least for the last month or day of.” There is no better way to spend money than to hire someone to give you the relief from stress and let you enjoy your day.” And you know what? They ALL did.
One of the most important parts of getting clients is that meeting alone. Not at add pressure of course. You did the hard work already actually. YOU got the meeting. Your website, your phone call, your pictures on your blog, your brand or message, it got them to call you for a meeting. They already like what they see, so remember that! This is the easy part ( though the most important)
I have read tons of sales books and all of them say, don’t sell the product. SELL THE WHY.
Show this couple why they need you. So do you know why they need you? If you dont, you may want to make a list of just how that bride could plan the rest of her wedding without you. For instance:
- -How is she going to cue the music before she walks down the aisle?
- -Who will direct her rehearsal?
- – Who will make sure the caterers and other vendors show up while she’s getting her makeup done?
- How will she make sure payments and tips are given out after the wedding?
- Who will make sure grandma gets in a cab safely to her hotel?
- Who will make sure the timeline is followed and when the cake cutting or dances are done? Who’s gonna go find dad for the father daughter dance?
Make yourself and your service INVALUABLE to your prospective client. Without you, its impossible and with your service, she’s gonna have the freedom to enjoy one of the most important days of her life.
SELL THE WHY.
Before I start digging into the WHY with clients, I want to know about them. After introducing myself I ask them about themselves.
- -How they met?
- -where are they from?
- -what do they do for a living?
- -Where did they go to college?
- -How long did they date?
- -What was the proposal like?
Get to know your clients on a personal level. Tell them about you, learn about them. People relax when they talk about themselves. They also feel good when they know you care about them as a person. Plus you want to know as much as you can about them, their likes and dislikes, their aspirations for their wedding and beyond, what type of person they are. This helps you better when working with them and the personal touches you will want to put into their wedding to reflect the couple themselves.
We are off to a great start! Next,
Start talking about their wedding. Where are they are in the planning process? What is their vibe for the wedding? Where it will be held? Do they have a date in mind? ETC
This lets you know what type of services they may be interested in and where your services will be needed.
Once you have a full grasp on them as a couple, what their needs are,
Start explain your services you offer and WHY it would be a great match for them.
Explain your processes to them. How you and the client(s) would start the journey.
“ So Amy, after confirming an estimated budget with you,The first thing I will do is get your started with our referred vendor list. We have tons of great amazing options for caters, florists etc). We would then start scheduling your meetings and tastings, the most exciting part. “
Get them excited about the process, but don’t overwhelm them too much. ( Though a little overwhelm isn’t terrible, it only pushed them to realize just how much it would be helpful to have a planner.)
Remember a planner is not on everyones budget. Even though we know how important it is to have a planner, not everyone sees it as a budget line item that is definite. Thats why we sell them the WHY. Make them see you as adding value to their wedding day, and something they must have in order to have a successful wedding.
Give them a packet of your offered services to take home. Have a contract, services page, and any other helpful items in the packet. I also love to give freebies, whether its a checklist for the bride or a worksheet for her on wedding day design mood board, give them something.
Make them walk away feeling happy to have met you, not only would they hire you but perhaps gain a friend. I stayed friends with almost ALL of my clients through social media. I have watched them grow, change jobs, celebrate anniversaries, and have lots of babies!
Your past clients can be your biggest asset in terms of new clients. Their testimonials and referrals can set your business up to be successful.
If you are lucky, and the client is ready to book, have that contract ( for all services) already printed and accessible. Sign on the dotted line and get that first deposit check.
Understandably some clients need to think about their choice before booking and that is okay. If you have well informed them, then they will go home with all the info they need to make a decision. Follow up with an email a day or two later.
A couple of other things that are helpful in meetings:
-If you have an office you are meeting in, make the space inviting, decluttered. Offer coffee/water/sweets/snacks.
-Have a book, tv, or iPad, of your most recent weddings for the to see or scroll through.
-If you are an event designer as well, have some table linen swatches, fabrics, or vases to see.
- if you already know their venue, have a mock up layout, or ideas about how to set up the room. Give them details you already know about the caterer they hired. (“Oh their mini crab cake appetizer is to die for!”
Client meetings don’t have to be scary or make you nervous. You got this! Being prepared for the meeting, getting to know them first will help you be more relaxed in your approach. Ultimately, being yourself is the goal too. They are hiring YOU to work with them. Trying to be someone your not, won’t be helpful to you or them and most clients can see right through that. My hope for you is that you can see how to work though a client meeting and book get them on the books for their wedding day!