As wedding planners and pros, our lives can be a little (read: a lot) stressful. One of the best ways to get out ahead of things, though, is to use what precious downtime we do have to prep ourselves and our businesses for what’s to come (after, of course, pouring yourself a hearty glass of vino). With sales being the focus of our pro blog this month, then, today we wanted to talk about using your downtime to prep for the next season of selling. Read on for the top five things wedding planners and pros should do to prepare for that always-busy, crazy-whirlwind of a booking season!
1. Reevaluate your pricing.
As wedding pros, we often tend to undervalue ourselves. (Psst…check out our piece on defining your worth as a wedding planner here!) Before the next booking season, set aside some time to reevaluate your pricing. How many times last season did you find yourself ready to rip out your own hair after having to redesign something because a client didn’t clearly communicate…or having wasted half-a-tank of gas after a client canceled your across-town meeting last-minute…or completely cursing yourself for letting a tough-to-manage client book your services for next to nothing? Think about all that you do as a planner or a pro, and consider giving yourself a much-needed raise in between booking seasons.
Pro-tip: If you haven’t ever tracked your hours. Pick a wedding or two to do it with and, at the end, divide the amount you charged them by the number of hours you worked – you’ll most likely be inspired to up your pricing then!
2. Update your brochures and collateral.
In an industry of all-things aesthetic, your collateral is everything! (We break down our love affair with print—and why it’s so effective—here.) If your print pieces—business cards, thank-you cards, brochures, etc.—are feeling stale or outdated, take some time to redesign them before next booking season. Even if the design is on point, though, you still want to make sure the content is accurate. If your brochures display outdated pricing or your business cards have an old website or email address, it’s time to update and reorder.
3. Update your contracts.
Think of every burdensome thing a client, vendor, or partner did to you last season…and figure out a way to protect yourself from it happening again. If you had a handful of clients cancel meetings on you last-minute, maybe it’s time to finally add a clause in your contract that addresses this issue and charges them for cancellations when necessary. Maybe you had a few checks bounce and realize you don’t have this covered in your contract. Make a list of everything you want to protect yourself from this time around, and update your contract to include those items (along with ensuring your contracts accurately reflect any pricing changes you’ve made per item 1 on today’s roundup!). For quick and easy contracts, you can always turn to Aisle Planner’s proposals and contracts tool. Not sure where to even begin with your contract? Not to worry—we’ve got you covered! Check out our piece on the essentials to an iron-clad contract to ensure you’re adequately covering your (bad)ass or purchase a contract template from lawyer Annette Stepanian!
4. Build a marketing strategy.
We know, we know—we say this like it’s easy. Building a marketing strategy takes time, research, and some serious thought. But, even if you don’t have the time for a full-on integrated marketing communications plan, we recommend at least outlining 3-5 overarching goals for the new booking season and then coming up with bullet-points on how to achieve each via a healthy, strategic mix of marketing efforts (networking events, social media ads, paid placement in local publications, Google Adwords, etc.). You can also learn more about what to include in a marketing strategy here!
5. Prep your Aisle Planner account.
From proposals and contracts to templates and budget tools, make sure you’re utilizing all of the awesome tools your Aisle Planner account has to offer! Start by ensuring your templates are up to date. Then, make any necessary changes to your workflow in your checklist template to better reflect how you’ll work in the new season. Update proposals and contracts as necessary, add in any new vendors you’ll be working with your your master Contact Library, add users if you’ve hired new peeps to your team, add important timeline items to your calendar, etc. There’s absolutely no better way to prep for a hectic booking season than to ensure the foundation of it all — your AP account — is in tip-top shape. That way, you’ll avoid having to scramble to make updates when inquiries are coming in and new clients are ready to book!