How to Ask WHY When a Client Doesn’t Book

Aisle Planner How To Ask Why When A Client Doesn't Book
Photo courtesy of Shane and Lauren Photography

We’ve all been there—you spend hours with a potential client and receive nothing but positive feedback only to have them choose not to book your services in the end. It happens to the best of us—even the most seasoned and sought-after planners.

Clients don’t book for a number of reasons, most of which are out of our control—budget, timing, choosing to go with a competitor, not feeling a connection, even broken engagements. But, while you shouldn’t let a client’s choice not to book drag you down too much, you should, at the very least, learn something from that experience. We’re focusing on productivity this month, after all, and what could be more productive that learning about how clients who don’t use our services see us?

It’s All in the Ask

The simplest way to understand why a client didn’t book your services is simply just to ask. Be clear-cut and straightforward, without coming across as defensive. You want to preface the ask with two main points to ensure you’ll get an honest response:

Let them know it’s all in the name of the business. You’re collecting feedback as a small business owner—not as a wronged wedding planner who wants to know why he or she wasn’t chosen. It’s as simple as that. Always preface the ask by saying something like, “As a business owner, I’m always on the hunt for ways to improve my business and would love your feedback…” Keep it professional and they’ll likely do the same.

Let them know how invaluable their feedback will be to your process. Let the potential client know that what they have to say is important and will be taken into great consideration. By letting them know their feedback is crucial and highly valued, they’ll be more likely to offer up a thoughtful, fleshed-out response (rather than just giving you a quick “It wasn’t the right fit.”) Think about the last time you participated in an online survey or provided a business with feedback. The Call to Action likely made you feel as though your feedback was crucial to the success of the person or business asking for it. 

Send a Survey

Online surveys are a great way to collect feedback when a client chooses not to book, as they allow the respondent to feel some form of anonymity (so they’ll likely offer up more honest responses). Preface the survey the same way you would the ask (by being professional and letting them know how crucial their feedback is). Also, let them know that the survey is anonymous, so they should feel free to answer directly and honestly.

Filter Through Responses

One of my all-time favorite quotes is, “If you try to please everybody, you’ll end up pleasing nobody.” Keep this in mind as you filter through responses. Follow your intuition—you know your business better than anyone. You’ll gain some invaluable insight through this process and should definitely be open to making business changes based on some of that insight. But, on that same token, you can’t change everything about your business based on other’s opinions. You’ll likely find you should ignore most of the nit-picky stuff (i.e. the client didn’t like the color of your studio walls) but give some attention to the broader feedback, especially if you’re noticing a pattern of more than one person calling out the same issue (i.e. your studio location is extremely inconvenient).

Overall, asking a client “why?” when they don’t book can be a little stressful and even awkward, but if you go about it the right way, you’ll end up gaining some invaluable insight into how others see your business. So cheers, Aisle Planners, to an ever-productive July!

About the Author

Christina Farrow
Christina Farrow

As Aisle Planner’s President and Founder, Christina Farrow spends her days dreaming up ways to empower wedding professionals to lead more balanced (and more organized) lives. She loves few things more than her toes in the sand, a glass of champagne and the promise of a great adventure with hubby, daughter and Caucasian Shepherd pup by her side.

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