As a wedding and event planner, we meet with many couples. It can be frustrating when a potential client takes a long time to make a decision. Here are 5 tips to help close the sale after your next consultation:
Ask When They Expect to Make a Decision
This will help you understand where they are at in the process and get the couple thinking about when they will make a decision on hiring their wedding planner. This will also show you how serious they are. If they expect to make a decision within a week, they are ready to get the wedding planning process underway quickly. If they are waiting on the approval of someone else such as the mother of the bride, then you know it may take a month or more to close that particular sale.
Ask if They Are Ready to Get Started Working With You
This is an easy question to ask during your consultation. Depending on the response, you will know what to do next such as sending the contract, creating a proposal, or putting a few dates in your calendar to follow up.
Hold Their Date For a Certain Length of Time Only
Communicate to potential clients that you will hold their date for a certain amount of time while they make a decision. If you receive another inquiry for the same date, you have a firm date when the first client has to make a decision. People will procrastinate if they think they have unlimited time to make a decision about your planning services.
Put an Expiration Date on Your Contract or Proposal
On your proposal or contract, have an expiration date. Use wording such as this, “This proposal (or contract) is valid through xxx date.” The expiration date can be anywhere from 3 days to two weeks, depending on your personal preference and business. Having an expiration date also gives you a reason to follow up on the expiration date to check in with the potential client. If a client is not ready to book at that point, then their event date is no longer on-hold in your calendar. If the potential clients do not have an event date yet, you can still have an expiration date on the proposal and make it clear that since you take a limited number of events or clients, your roster is will open again on xxx date so that another potential client will have the opportunity to work with you.
Follow Up at Least 3 Times
Many of us worry about “bothering” a potential client by following up too often, however, most wedding planners don’t follow up enough times with leads. When you receive an inquiry AND after an initial consultation, follow up a minimum of three times. Brides and grooms are often very busy and get inundated with wedding information. A simple check-in such as “Hi! Thank you again for taking time to meet yesterday. I would love to work with you to create a fabulous wedding celebration. Can I send a contract to you for review?” can mean the difference between a lost lead and a new client booking. Following up after you send a proposal or contract is extremely important as well.
You don’t have to be a skilled salesperson to have a successful planning business but you do have to market yourself and ask questions that can help close the sale when you meet with a potential client.