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38 min2015 OCT 1
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LIVE! Family discounts, Certification angst, Customer follow-up – WFAL392

Details

It’s time to answer a few of your wedding planner questions.

Each question and answer is listed below, however, you’ll gain lots more info if you listen to the entire episode (it’s 38 minutes long).

The Family & Friends Wedding Planning Discount

It’s inevitable that those closest to you will ask for your help with their social events. Tailor’d Events would like to know:

How do you help family and friends with their weddings without losing money or being taken for granted?

Here’s what I suggest:

Send your  family and friends a Wedding Business announcement letter — think new baby announcement but, instead, of sharing newborn vital statistics, make this announcement all about your new wedding business.  Include your web address, details about your specialty, a picture of your office, a copy of your most popular article…all the stuff that you’re proud of and can’t wait to share.

This heartfelt communication lets each recipient know that you have transitioned from wedding hobbyist to entrepreneur.  Doing this should curb some of those ‘free’ requests that you’re resentful about.

It’s also a good move to create a policy for what you will and won’t do or discount for family and friends.  If you decide to discount your services, make sure you cover your expenses.

And then of course, you have to stick to your guns and walk the walk!  This means making sure that each wedding and special event that you work on is handled professionally:  by being upfront about your fees (discounted or otherwise), using a professional wedding planner contract, preparing (and sticking to) a budget, keeping track of your time and all the other tasks that separate the wedding planning dabblers from the true hustlers.

How to Follow-up with Potential Clients

The magic is in the follow-up.  Ever heard that?  Thien asked me:

How many times should you follow-up with a prospect?  Is there some sort of system that should be in place?

Here’s what I do:

If after meeting with potential clients for the very first time I learn that they are not ready to sign a contract, I suggest that the prospect contact me a few days later at specific time.  This way the pressure is on them, not me and I don’t feel like I’m hounding anyone for a sale.

But my communication with a prospect doesn’t end there.



* I immediately send my potential clients a hand-written thank-you note – In an envelope. With a stamp. In the mail. Regardless of how well (or not) the meeting went, each prospect gets one of these.

* In a few days, when/if the prospect contacts me as planned, we either move forward with a contract/deposit (yay!) or if they opt not to hire me, I thank them for the opportunity and for taking the time to let me know and I wish them well.If I don’t hear from the prospect as planned, it’s on to step #3

* I send a short, no-pressure, follow-up email letting them know that I’m still ‘here to help’ if they need me and then I direct them to helpful wedding planning content – articles, podcast episodes, newsletter, etc. – ideally with a local slant and created by yours truly.  I also make sure to let prospects know about any current promotions or discounts for services or items that they have expressed an interested in.



And, that’s it.

Once I’ve had a face-to-face meeting with a couple who have expressed an interest in what I do, hopefully there’s a connection  and I’m the one (the wedding planner, that is) for them.  But, that may not be the case  for any number of reasons.

Remember as a business owner, no one owes you a thing.  Nothing.  Zip. Nada.