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What's Sales Got To Do With Wedding Planning?

Recently I had to write down a list of skills I use in my work and I hesitated as I went to write the word sales.  Like many women, I have numerous roles in my life, each requiring different functions; from being creative to organised, resourceful and a good communicator.  These are all things I am very proud of, so why not a sales person? Sales is something that most of us engage in, yes even Wedding & Event Planners, Stylists and Designers.  There are no weddings to plan and events to design if you don’t first sell your services to clients.  So whilst someone who works with clients to create spectacular events may call themselves a Designer, they are also a sales-person; if you have a product or service that you want someone else to ‘consume’, you are in the business of selling.
When I ask people what they think about the idea of being a ‘sales person’ responses vary but are often in the negative.  Or people question the idea that they are actually a salesperson admitting that the idea makes them feel uncomfortable. But the truth is almost all of us have something to sell and this is a theory explored in a book I highly recommend to anyone wanting to become more comfortable with sales; To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink.
I think the healthy way to look at sales is to remember that sales is what makes the economy go around.  If you are in business, you are most certainly interested in profits, which means you have to take an interest in sales.  The ‘sale’ is what is going to put you in a position to do the work you love as an Event or Wedding Professional. The same goes for you if you an employee in a wedding or event business, or at a venue. Almost all of these roles involve selling to some degree and it is why we cover sales and marketing in our Diploma courses here at the Academy.

But the idea of having to sell, makes me cringe

If you cringe when you hear the word ‘sales’ try thinking like a sales-person, rather than acting like one. What do I mean by this?  I think the biggest difference between someone who comes across as only interested in sales is that care factor.  Caring for your clients is rewarding and a good way to do business.  Paying attention to how you sell, how you convert leads into sales and how you get leads in the first place, shouldn’t replace good old-fashioned care and concern for your customers.  You don’t need to be the ‘in your face’ sales-person to make a sale and you don’t have to go after every lead to be great at sales. Sometimes it’s about knowing when you are not right for the client too.  A sales person who cares about how they sell will:

  • Have a good understanding of their target market and what motivates them to buy.
  • Demonstrate great customer service from the outset – from enquiry stage and beyond.
  • Take time to understand the lead’s needs and the reason for contacting them.
  • Put forth a considered proposal for how they can help the lead with their ‘problem’,
  • Be able to answer questions and address concerns the lead may have.
  • Know how to price their services fairly and with consideration to both making a profit and doing the best by the client.
  • Close the sale with confidence.
  • Be able to walk away from a job if they are not the right person for it/can’t give it the time and attention it needs/can’t offer it at the price the client is fixed on paying, or if the services they provide just don’t match what the client needs.

Further Reading

If you are looking for more on this subject these posts from our blog make great reading:
Negotiating with wedding clients by Kylie Carlson
Preparing for your first client consultation by Kylie Carlson
Preparing to make your first sale by Christine Ligthart
 

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