Secure wedding bookings in an instant with these handy tips from seasoned pros
Do you struggle to nail the first client meeting and secure wedding bookings?
Having a successful meeting that culminates in a booking is largely dependent on how you prepare for and approach meeting newly engaged couples, and on the kind of first impression you make.
Here’s how successful wedding professionals prepare to meet new couples and guarantee themselves a booking in 2018 and beyond…
1. Preparing for the first meeting
As the saying goes, those who fail to plan, plan to fail.
It is so important that you prepare for the first meeting ahead of time and really do your research.
Treat this appointment as seriously as if you were going for an important interview. Find out as much as you can about the couple and their tastes before you meet. Send them a short, fun questionnaire to complete and return, or arrange a Skype call to guarantee some face time with the couple and ask them about their wedding style preferences.
Don’t ever assume you know everything and arrive at the meeting armed with lots of new ideas and fresh suggestions that reflect the kind of wedding you think the couple are looking to achieve.
Questions are your most important weapon at this first meeting. It is your job to ask, listen and make suggestions.
Tip: ask the couple to take a look at your website before you meet (which will of course, feature tons of great reviews – bonus!) and give them an idea of your costs. Most millennial couples will ask to know your prices before meeting anyway so it’s worth including pricing parameters on your website and Bridebook profile to save you time and ensure you don’t attract couples who aren’t genuinely interested in hiring you.
The final thing to consider before you meet is what you’re planning to wear to the appointment.
What do you know about the couple? If you know that you’re meeting a young, London based couple who work in advertising, for example, feel free to let more of your personality shine through and wear something informal that reflects who you really are.
But if the bride and / or groom you’re meeting haven’t given much away about themselves, dress conservatively as this shows professionalism and is a surefire way to make a good first impression.
2.How to make a good first impression
Making a good first impression is absolutely essential for wedding professionals when securing bookings and in securing a professional reputation for yourself amongst other wedding suppliers.
So how do you do it?
Well realistically, you’ve probably only got 2 minutes to make a good first impression and it’s all dependant on the words you use and the body language you choose. In fact, research shows that 60 to 90 percent of our communication with others is actually nonverbal.
Here are some tips (verbal and nonverbal) to help you make the best first impression…
- Check your posture – keep your back straight, your shoulders relaxed and your head raised to give off an air of confidence
- Mirror the body language of the person (or people) you’re meeting. This shows that you are in agreement and that you like the person you are with
- Align your body with the person you’re talking to and lean in so that you appear engaged
- Always remember to greet others with a firm handshake – but not too firm. This is probably one of the most important elements of body language because it sets the tone for the entire conversation
- Introduce yourself and your business with assurance
- Make eye contact and give the couple a genuine smile. By nodding and smiling in a natural way as you communicate with a couple you are showing them that you understand, agree, and are listening to their opinions
- Use your hands to gesture when you speak as this improves your credibility with the listener. Did you know that there is evidence to suggest that gesturing with your hands while speaking actually improves your thinking processes?
- Speak slowly and clearly to couples as this brings a sense of calm and control to the conversation
3.Start the conversation strong
Ensure that you’ve prepared and rehearsed your elevator pitch in time for the meeting.
As a wedding supplier, this ‘introductory speech’ should be relaxed yet professional. Think of it as a well articulated introduction of yourself, your wedding business and your experience which will set the tone for a positive conversation thereafter.
Keep your intro to less than 30 seconds and make sure that you smile, pause often and leave space for the couple to ask any questions or interject with details about themselves and their wedding desires.
Don’t forget to ask questions and remember to use this first meeting as an opportunity to show – not tell – the couple about your experiences.
Share stories of recent weddings where you’ve helped another loved up couple realise their wedding dreams. Bring a portfolio to the appointment and showcase your best weddings of 2017; making sure you pre-select just a few examples in keeping with the couple’s preferred style so that they can relate to the weddings you’re showing them.
Use the examples as prompts for the new wedding you’re trying to build for this new couple and explain how you could apply similar elements to their very own special day. This should be your constant focus so don’t get too preoccupied with weddings you’ve catered to in the past.
This meeting is all about helping a new couple create future memories.
Tip: Remember that you’re there to learn about the couple as much as they are there to learn about you. Ask lots of questions and listen more than you talk. Your contribution to this meeting shouldn’t feel like a sales pitch – it should be centred on how you can help this particular couple plan and build their wedding.
Are you ready to make this first client meeting your best yet?
Approach your next client meeting confidently knowing that you’ve done all you can to prepare for it; both literally (with research and portfolios) and mentally (by rehearsing how to make a good first impression).
If upon meeting the new couple you feel that for some reason you aren’t the right fit for their wedding, be honest with them early on. They’ll probably appreciate it and will be more likely to share your name with their engaged friends.
But the chances are that if you’ve taken the time to get to know the couple a little before you meet and if you prepare the kind of information you think they’ll appreciate, the meeting will go well and result in a booking for your business.
We hope we’ve left you with a great impression of what a little prep and a little forethought can do for you at your first client meeting.
Go get that booking!