In times like today, we must worry about solvency more than creativity. We cannot create beautiful centerpieces, shoot amazing photo sessions or prepare delicious cuisine unless we have the resources to conduct our businesses. Unfortunately, this causes some vendors to have a more pushy approach and make prospects uncomfortable leaving as prospects, instead of clients. I have learned that clients look for information. The best way to offer this information is to provide facts, resources, images and solid tangibles. A great website that is both clear and concise is a wonderful start! Most prospects do not have time during the workday to make phone calls. They do, however, search the web. With smart phones, the internet is now everyone’s best friend and top resource. Having checklists, helpful tips, super-savers and photos of past work is like ‘starting on third base.’ Prospects will enjoy learning and feel comfortable with the online presence of information. Transparency.
Ten years ago when I began teaching at Wagner College, a chapter in my textbook discussed “Wedding Planning Seminars”. For over two years, I shamefully admitted to my students that I had never held one. And every semester I would tell them it was ridiculous that I hadn’t yet offered this type of event and would correct this injustice immediately. Finally, in February of 2011, I offered my first Winter Wedding Planning Seminar. All information-No sales. I contacted a few of my favorite vendors and asked if they would like to participate. Everything was free but limited to ‘information.’ No sales were to be discussed. I welcomed 10 couples who (according to my trusty evaluations) absolutely loved it. They thought the presenters did a great job, loved the information, coupons, gifts and raffles. My vendors were also happy because each participant did business following the event.
If you look through magazines, books and watch most (wedding) reality television, there is a ton of information out there. To our dismay, the information can be inaccurate and leads our clients in the wrong direction. In my experience the most ‘unknown’ service is Design (florals.) Most couples do not want to spend much on ‘flowers that will die the next day’ and do not care about boutonnières and other personals. They would rather spend their resources on catering, music, etc. However, when they realize the importance of the hallmark ‘centerpiece,’ they are shocked to see how 20 tables can add up. I like to explain the difference between fresh and silks, highs and lows, purchasing versus renting, and the general design of the ballroom, so that our clients know what to expect. And this is invaluable to them. I learned from my evaluations of the 2011 seminar, that this was the area they understood the least.
So what information should we provide? As much as you can and in a clear, easy-to-read way. Here are some examples:
- ‘Helpful Hints’ including what to expect when meeting with vendors
- theknot.com has one of the best I have seen and how about…
- Music samples / song choices
- Registry options
- Honeymoon packing
- Packages and Services
- Portfolios including images of past work
- Sources of Inspiration
Information vs Sales. Inform your prospects and clients with your knowledge and resources. The business will follow.