You just got off the phone with a great potential wedding client and can’t wait for your in-person consultation with them. You are nervous, excited, and want to be as prepared as possible. Here are six keys to having the best consultation:
#1 Do your research prior to the meeting
If the couple already has their venue or a few of their event professionals booked, take time to look up the venue and vendors online if you aren’t familiar with them. Being able to talk and share with the couple at the consultation will show that you are proactive in your research and are willing to go the extra mile to get to know them.
You can also Google search the client’s names to see if there is any information on their social media accounts that might be helpful for you. You don’t want to be a stalker, but doing a quick search may provide you with helpful information about the couple.
#2 Dress your best
What you wear should reflect your brand and the type of couple you work with. If you plan rustic barn weddings, don’t show up in a suit to the consultation. On the other hand, if your potential clients are planning a luxury downtown wedding, you should be dressed in your best dress clothes with appropriate accessories. Your appearance should align with your brand image.
#3 Be prepared
Bring everything you could possibly need to the client consultation. The most common items that wedding planners take to consultations include:
- a list of questions to ask the couple (i.e. your client consultation form)
- an iPad or book with your portfolio
- your calendar
- sample binders or timelines from past weddings
- business cards
- marketing materials
- printed list of your services
- printed contract if you typically book clients on the spot
Some planners like to bring a small gift for the couple such as a few wedding magazines, chocolates, cupcakes, or a small bottle of champagne.
If you are meeting your potential clients at a public location, arrive early to secure a table or seating area. You don’t want your clients to experience the awkwardness of having to stand around waiting for a place to sit.
The clients should be talking more than you at the initial consultation. Really listen to what they are saying and what they want for their wedding. What subtle clues can you find when you really listen to what they say? If you can listen this intently, you will be way ahead of the competition.
#5 Add Value
During the consultation, focus your efforts on what you can do for these clients. Do you have a fun idea you can share? Do you have a tip about their venue that would help? Don’t worry about giving away too much information. This is the time to show what you know and what you can do. Of course you don’t want to design their whole event or work through a budget before you are hired, but don’t be afraid to share ideas and show your knowledge. There are also a few mistakes to avoid that will help you.
#6 Follow Up
After the consultation, follow up immediately with a thank-you email or handwritten note. If you thought of a new idea, found an inspiration image, or discovered a resource for these potential clients after your consultation, share it with them. Show potential clients how much you care and how much you want to work with them to plan their wedding.
These tips help set up an ideal client consultations for your wedding couples. When they see how prepared you are, understand what you can offer, get a glimpse of your knowledge, and see how you follow up, you are much more likely to get the booking.
If you don’t get the booking, take a deep breath and realize that this one event is not going to make or break your career. Let go of your expectations. If this event was meant for you, it will happen. If not, there is simply another event in your future that will be a better fit. I know how much anticipation there is while waiting to hear back from a potential client. Take a step back and remember that if it is truly meant to be, it will.