Wedding planning, though challenging, is an exciting business to be in. You get to meet new people, discover their unique culture, and help them plan a day that they will cherish for a lifetime. However, it can be hard to secure clients sometimes, and landing a contract can feel like walking through quicksand.
Realizing that as a business, you are only as strong as your weakest link, consulting with current clients, references, and other wedding professionals goes a long way in helping sell yourself as a wedding planner. You must understand that wedding consultation is not just about answering questions and making recommendations. It’s important to create a rapport with your clients, understand their wants and needs, and listen carefully to what they have to say because they want their dreams fulfilled.
And to do that, you need to put forth your best effort during consultation sessions— whether that’s over email or via face-to-face meetings. If done right, you would have successfully secured a client before you walk into their home or venue! So how do you go about executing effective client consultations?
To help you improve your consultation skills as a wedding planner, we have compiled a list of our client consultation top tips for wedding planners. Keep reading to learn more about how to make your clients feel special and valued and earn more business from your personalized, thoughtful service.
1) Choose A Place for Consultation That Reflects Your Wedding Planning Business & Presents You As A Professional
They say the first impression lasts, and it’s especially true when dealing with prospective wedding client. Start off on a good note by choosing an environment that reflects your wedding planner brand and helps you present yourself as a professional who really cares about their business. A venue that compliments both your preferences and those of your client is ideal. For example, if your office is chic and minimalistic in design with modern furnishing, then so should be the space (like coffee shop) you choose for consultation sessions. Open cafeteria, with its ample quiet spaces, works wonders too.
The open space helps instill a sense of calmness, which is ideal considering how important wedding consultation is to the future of your business. Having said that, keep one thing in mind; always try to take into account your client’s comfort level while planning wedding consultation sessions. After all, your choice of location reflects your personal taste, your business standards, your work ethics, and values – things you want prospective clients to see in you! And please avoid venues where too many people are around, or it will end up disrupting meetings anyways; they don’t want to talk over loud music or listen to waiters talking while they try to concentrate on what you have to say!
2) Be Early And Greet Them With Handshake – Not Just An Email!
Arrive early; remember, punctuality is just another way of saying how much value you put into someone else’s time. Good wedding planning business etiquette dictates that you arrive at least 15 minutes before your appointment starts. This allows you to be well prepared and ready to greet them with a hearty handshake.
Don’t skip out on handshakes because your hands are full; offer to take their stuff when they come in and walk them to their table or seat them yourself if possible! Make sure you know how to pronounce their name right too! These little things go a long way in making clients feel special and valued. Besides, what good is all your professionalism if it doesn’t reflect through body language?
Make sure to send follow-up emails as well thanking them for choosing you as their wedding planner (and don’t forget to set up dates for consultations soon!). These little touches go miles when it comes to creating personal connections with potential clients during initial meetings.
Having said that, do not ever get carried away with these courtesies and forget why they came over in the first place. The main purpose of these meet-ups is to figure out whether you can handle their particular kind of planning requirements or not. It’s imperative you pay equal attention towards achieving both – building rapport and finding common ground while showing off your skills as a professional wedding planner!
3) Dress Well for The Meeting
Attire is as important as anything else during initial consultation. It not only sets your work standards but also helps create a lasting impression with clients. And while we’re not saying you should go overboard and dress like you’re attending a tea party or going to church on Sunday – it is important that you remember to put some thought into what you wear to meet your client for the first time!
Again, don’t overdo things and leave yourself room to make some changes if needed; after all, no one wants their potential wedding planner looking ‘less than professional’ because of mismatched socks or bad haircuts! Anything that positively represents your brand image goes well here.
You can choose from formal suits to casual tees with jeans or formals, depending on which way you want your business to be perceived by prospective clients in order to send out a strong message at the initial stages itself about how seriously you take both business and personal relationships alike!
4) Showcase Your Wedding Services Samples, Albums In Style!
Let potential clients see that you as a wedding planner really care about them by using aesthetically pleasing ways to present your work! Whether you are showcasing your work samples, wedding day portfolio, or simply using space efficiently, the key is to make sure everything you use is smooth, simple, and aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
Your clients are paying you to plan their wedding, so make sure they feel like they’re getting the best value for their money. Again, avoid clutter and don’t overwhelm with a bunch of details; people’s brains can only take in so much information at one time (unless, of course, they’ve gone over all preparations in advance).
So unless you want to send out mixed signals during meetings with your client – you better pay attention towards setting up an aesthetically pleasing remote workspace and carefully chosen color combinations that not only grab a person’s attention but also look inviting enough to draw them into the conversation! After all, if something doesn’t stand out, then it generally does not get noticed in today’s world, where both traditional, as well as social media, give us something new every second of our lives.
5) Discuss If It’s Micro Wedding, a Pop-up Wedding, or a More Traditional Wedding
To give your clients the best wedding day experience possible, you need to make sure they’re making an informed decision from day one – something that includes understanding the type of wedding venue and wedding party they are looking at having.
Micro wedding (typical small intimate wedding) with their fast, simple setups and pop up weddings which often require no set up on the client’s end, will save couples money since there is no additional venue or extensive decoration expenses involved during these events; hence making it easy for them to save some money (which most people want in today’s world).
On the other hand, if clients have decided on a traditional wedding, then you might want to talk about how much effort goes into getting everything ready and whether they really want all that hassle in advance just so they can fit someone else’s definition of ‘perfection.’ This way not only will you be able to create honest conversations between you and your client but also help them feel like they’re walking into marriage with their eyes wide open instead of blind folded!
6) Will It Be a Destination Wedding
Potential client who want a destination wedding for their own wedding often have very specific ideas about what they want – and you will need to be on your toes at all times during meetings to avoid being caught unawares. Make sure you do your research before meeting up with any client, especially if they’re looking at having destination weddings. There is no point in meeting up with clients just to realize later that you don’t have enough experience or expertise to execute their vision of wedding; something that would not only demotivate clients but also make them feel like their investment has gone down the drain.
You may have traveled outside of your city and met up with interesting people on your way – but it doesn’t mean that’s how others wish to spend their time when planning anything big! Start with showcasing your samples from previous destinations that look amazing so that there are fewer doubts lingering. Then based on their feedback regarding destination styles, you can customize your presentation and show more options based on mood boards or pictures to help them visualize certain styles better, something which adds fun excitement and, most importantly, makes everything go more smoothly for both parties involved.
This extra care from your side goes a long way into ensuring positive results and happier couples who eventually become your customers.
7) Have A “Leave Behind” Sample Contract, Business Card & Some of Your Samples
One vital tool you should always carry with you during wedding consultation or first meeting is your contract. Not only does it help you easily show clients what they will be getting (not to mention how much they’ll be paying!), but it also demonstrates that you are organized and professional in your business dealings. You can even tweak and customize an existing contract from past clients to fit your specific needs if need be.
Additionally, make sure that during every meeting, you have a few samples to give out as well – especially if there are potential clients who aren’t ready to purchase but might like something at a later date! You never know who will become a future customer or friend! Always have some business cards on hand, too, since these do cost nothing and won’t take up any space in your bags!
8) Always, Always, Always Take Notes
Your attentiveness during wedding consultation is incredibly important – especially if you are meeting up with more than one couple at a time. It’s easy to become so engrossed in a conversation that you forget to take notes, but that is unacceptable!
Remember that your job isn’t just to listen but also to help clients figure out their plans and make sure they have everything they need! And note-taking helps with that process since you can quickly jot down details about what your clients want so you can find all of their needs in one place. This not only saves you time, but it also helps bring all of your potential future vendors on board easier when everyone can see each other’s schedules.
9) Be Upfront Yet Flexible With Your Fees
Your hard work and diligent attention to detail should be paid! But it’s not a good idea to immediately bring up fees during your first consultation with clients. Remember that you need to build trust and rapport with them before you can talk about money – something that will greatly impact your chances of getting repeat business in future years. Instead, keep your fees listed in a folder or notebook and only bring them out when necessary.
If you client has done their homework on you beforehand, then they’ll have an idea of what your costs are as well, whether it is through having met other vendors who have worked with you or by asking some industry colleagues who might have worked with you as well. Further being flexible with your fees goes hand-in-hand with these tips, too, since pricing does differ from year to year depending on the economy, location, and even event type, so don’t feel like you have to quote off of just one price if need be. Always give yourself wiggle room when working with clients!
10) Thank Your Client for Their Time
Make sure to thank your clients when you’re done with a meeting! Even if they didn’t hire you, then don’t be discouraged. Maybe they will come back around to you when it is time to start planning their event or have some new friends who are going to need help planning their own nuptials.
Also, consider sending a follow-up email with your business card and including your website/phone number just in case there was something else that got missed during your meeting that they might want to talk about further. These little things can go such a long way in helping you stand out from other wedding planners – which could ultimately lead to getting more work later on down the road!