One of the most important steps in booking a wedding client is the initial Discovery Call. As a wedding professional, this might be your first point of contact with a client outside of email! Whether it is a Skype or phone call, or an in-person meeting, you need to be prepared.
As a former wedding planner + bridal boutique owner, I have had many Discovery Call with potential clients. And no matter how many times you do it, it can still seem overwhelming! Now that I am a bride to be, I have seen both sides of Discovery Calls! From planners to photographers, these tips will help you master that next call, and book the bride.
This is hands down one of my biggest pet peeves – taking too long to answer! As a former wedding professional, I know how busy you can get. So while I don’t mean you have to respond right away, I recommend responding within 48-72 hours. Even if it’s just to touch base and let the potential client know you got their inquiry and will be reaching out shortly. When I was a planner in the South, one of the biggest complaints from brides was the response time. Sometimes they wouldn’t hear back from vendors for over a week, and they got so frustrated! So always remember to respond in a reasonable manner.
Often times, all the info you will have is on the potential date, and maybe the venue. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared! If you haven’t worked in that venue before, check it out in person or online, so you can see it for yourself. If you have worked there before, compile commonly asked questions about the venue, so you are prepared in advance. When I was a wedding planner, we were very familiar with the venues, but also knew the commonly asked questions. This way we looked professional and knowledgeable when they asked detailed questions!
Whether you are meeting in person, or on the phone, it’s important to really listen. You need to make sure that your client’s needs and concerns are taken care of! The art of good conversation lies in getting the other person to talk about themselves.
I recommend having a list of questions ready to go, before every call. I personally have a worksheet I go through for each and every call. This ensures that I don’t miss any important steps, or forget to cover certain items.
Start with the basic questions about the couple. How did they meet? Have they started looking at venues? What is their style like? Then move onto more specific questions, like the overall vision and vendors. They will either have a lot planned or almost nothing. But knowing what vendors they are thinking of can really give you a vision of what they want (and price point!).
This also gives you the opportunity to share your expertise. Maybe they are torn between two venues – you can share your professional insight! Or they are looking for the perfect florist to fit your vision – share your recommendation! This is the perfect time to not just sell your services, but vendors you like to work with as well.
Next, talk about you! It’s important to really explain your company, your vision, and your values. Often, couples can be overwhelmed by all of the costs of a wedding. For example, my husband had no idea how expensive everything would be. He didn’t realize that every single guest means food, rentals, bar, chairs, and tables. That adds up quickly! So it’s important to share why you give so much value. Is it in the final product? Or is it in the style of your work? What sets you apart from the other 10 photographers, planners, or venues?
One of the biggest pet peeves as a bride, and former wedding planner, is how some vendors hide the final number. When a client is planning a wedding, their budget is most likely very important! So share any additional fees. Are there extra taxes they should be aware of? Do you charge extra per person, or for additional hours? Are there city fees the couple should be aware of?
Remember, most clients will have no idea that additional fees apply! So by being transparent, you are allowing them to trust you. Also, make sure to outline this in any proposal you send after the call. Many times, people need to see the numbers to really understand how it fits in their budget.
For example, when I was hunting for a venue in Savannah, many did not share the 22%-24% additional service fees (and the 7% tax!). As a planner, I knew this beforehand. But most brides? They would have no clue! This additional fee added $5000+ to every venue, which made some no longer affordable for us.
As you close out the call, make sure to answer any additional questions they have! When I was a planner and joined clients in meetings, I was shocked by how many vendors didn’t wrap up the conversation. They just jumped to “Let’s get you booked!” and didn’t make sure the clients felt confident. Needless to say – those vendors often didn’t get booked.
After you answer any final questions, explain the booking process. Do you need a percentage to reserve the date? When are the final balances due? Give them the exact steps they need to take, so they know exactly what to do.
After the meeting or call, make sure to send a follow-up email. This is where you thank them for their time, and review everything you went over on the call (or in person.) This is also where you can send any final numbers, or attach a proposal. If you have a CRM system like Dubsado or Honeybook, you can attach the contract and payment, so they can book with ease! The easier it is for the client to book you, the better.
And don’t forget to follow up. Couples have a ton of information being thrown at them. So they might take a few days to even look at everything with their fiancé and family. So follow up 3-5 days after, to see if they have any other questions. As a bride, I get overwhelmed after seeing all the numbers and details. I need a few days to really think about it! And I always appreciate when vendors follow up.
By taking these little steps to prepare for your call, you can ensure that the call goes smooth – and the couple says yes! As a former wedding planner, and now a bride to be, how a vendor conducts the Discovery Call or meeting is a huge factor in my final decision. So make sure to go into your next Discovery Call with ease!