Booking weddings can be a challenge for any up-and-coming wedding vendor who is passionate about working with couples and making their day beautiful. There are SO many ways to find couples who are a perfect fit for your services, but once you find them, how do you book their wedding?! There are several different philosophies around this question, but I truly believe that providing an unparalleled level of customer service and care is the best way to book clients and find new ones too! Creating a positive experience for a client, from the very first interaction with your company, will elevate your professionalism and hopefully create excitement within the client to move forward with you! Here are some practical tips on how to give a positive experience to clients from their initial inquiry!
1. Give couples an easy way to contact you via a contact form on your website. If a couple is interested in booking your services for their wedding, but has to craft an email to send, with the details of their wedding, chances are they won't find the time to send that email. Fill-in forms, with pre-written questions and answer spaces are the best way to save time for the inquiring couple, and makes their first interaction with your company positive and professional!
2. Be personable in your response email! Wedding vendors often forget... couples are eagerly anticipating celebrating the most important day thus far of their lives!! If you're married, think back to how excited you were in the months leading up to your wedding and project that excitement into your email responses! You should most definitely be addressing the recipient by name, letting them know how excited you are about a certain aspect of their day ("I love photographing weddings at the beautiful Quirk Hotel, that's one of my favorite venues"), and giving them a basic overview of your services and what you can offer! Your email should also follow these guidelines that I blogged about here.
3. Schedule a consultation with them as soon as possible! Consultations are one of the most crucial parts of this process. I always try to have my consultations face-to-face, over video chat services like Google Hangouts or Skype, because I truly believe that couples fall in love with the vendor AND their services, and meeting me is a key factor in them deciding whether to hire me or not! I always dress professionally and try to remove any distractions, so I can fully focus on the couple and learning about their special day!
4. Follow up after the meeting. After talking with the couple, I always follow up with them within 2-4 days of our meeting! I want them to know I've been thinking about their wedding, I loved talking with them, and I will offer to answer any additional questions they may have thought of to ask after the consult! This part is also very important- typically they are in the decision phase, and you personally reaching out to them will go a long way in establishing a positive rapport! Don't bombard them with follow-up emails (that will make their experience negative for sure), but a few check-ins shows them that you care and are ready to help answer more questions if necessary!
5. Give them an easy way to secure their wedding date.
Once a couple decides to move forward with securing their wedding date, I want to make it as simple as possible for them to book!! I use an online client management system called Honeybook, that is a total time-saver for both me AND my clients! This system allows them to easily sign an online contract and allows them to pay online instantly using s credit card or bank transfer, with no fees. Again, this reinforces a simple and stress-free process for them, adding to their positive experience with me! If you are mailing clients contracts or having them print out, sign, and then re-scan to you, and only accepting checks as mailed to your address, I encourage you to think about creating an easier system for them (and you!)
6. Officially welcome them!
Once the couple has officially secured their wedding date with you, be sure to congratulate and thank them for choosing your company to be a part of their special day! This is the appropriate time to send a welcome gift, handwritten card, or even a simple email, which will go a long way in reinforcing to your client how thankful you are for them and how excited you are for their wedding day! This should be the beginning of a positive (and fun!) working relationship, and officially welcoming them into your "family" just makes them even more excited for you to be a part of their wedding! :)
I hope these tips were helpful to you as you think about enhancing your client experience! Often I find that couple's decide about their wedding vendors long before they ever officially book, so each interaction you have with them is SO important! :)
If you are a small business owner wanting to sit down over coffee and dive into your business structures, how to increase bookings, love on your clients, create a seamless booking system, fine-tune your client experience and more, contact me today at firstname.lastname@example.org - I would love to get to know you, give you some action steps to continue to grow your business and cheer you on! :)