Mar 17, 2016
A wedding planner can work from home and even start out part-time as a hobby. She often does so without tremendous planning, investment or commitment.
However, to really be successful, a wedding planner must establish credibility, posture herself as an expert and be creative.
Specifically here are ten important ingredients the best planners possess:
1. Patience. This shows you genuinely care about your clients’ wellbeing, which is key to getting hired. Spending time with them also builds rapport and leaves your customers feeling comfortable enough to ask questions and express objections that could otherwise be obstacles to closing the sale.
2. Empathy. Brides and grooms need to feel like they’re understood. It’s very important during the sales process to validate their needs and concerns. One of the most effective strategies is to tell third-party stories about other customers (names and identifying characteristics excluded, of course). Illustrate how other clients had similar concerns and how your efforts resulted in a positive outcome.
3. Knowledge. This is perhaps one of the most important for being hired. Customers are expecting you to share ideas, information and resources they don’t have access to; that proves the value of hiring a consultant. That knowledge is garnered from being a student of the industry: reading relevant publications; attending markets and seminars; networking with peers; seeking out expert help. Another way to keep up is by subscribing to Google Alerts, which will deliver to your Google e-mail address any new content published on the Web that contains different phrases you ask for like “2016 wedding trends.”
4. Creativity. A couple doesn’t want you to tell them what the norm is; they want unique and within their budget. So quench your customer’s thirst for differentiation using your creativity in both design and quality.
5. Passion. Passion is contagious and creates an emotional connection with your customers that ends up making them want to hire or recommend you. Radiate love for what you do, get genuinely excited for your brides, and create an experience for them rather than just a business transaction.
6. Internal Motivation. Celebrity planners such as Colin Cowie, David Tutera, Preston Bailey or Mindy Weiss do amazing work, but for beginning planners, emulating them can sometimes be an unrealistic bar to aspire to. Instead strive to be the best in your own arena. This starts with motivation to always exceed your customer’s expectation.
7. Instinct for Opportunity. Pay attention to opportunities to network, get publicized, or make the most of the relationship with an influential customer who has helpful contacts.
8. Tastefully Assertive. This is sometimes what it takes to turn a potential opportunity into a positive consequence. When you meet people have the mindset to engage them and give out loads of business cards. When you have made a positive impact with a potential customer sometimes having the assertiveness to ask for a deposit rather than letting them leave uncommitted can be a major determinant in the increase of sales.
9. Big-Picture Thinking. It’s easy to focus exclusively on daily tasks. Every year is a rebirth where you need to think about what you did right and wrong; about growth and action steps; and be on the prowl for innovation new products and services that can help you better monetize customers. Also keep track of how you are winning business. Instead of shooting craps on marketing and advertising, you are playing chess.
10. Work Hard But Avoid Burnout. All of the virtues discussed above are better achieved when you take care of yourself and maintain your mental and physical energy. Taking time to eat sensibly and rest, as well as exercise and spend time with significant others, helps you maintain the type of balance in your life that prevents burnout. Taking vacations is not only a reward for your efforts but an investment in your well-being that helps your mind, heart and body meet the demands of this challenging business.
Shannon Hurd, Managing Editor, oversees the editorial content and direction of VOWS and its platforms. She writes on Social Media and the intersection of bridal business and life. Shannon's recent blog posts are below.
How to hook a repeat customer in three easy steps.
Peter Grimes, Publisher and founder of VOWS Magazine. His comments are presented in each issue's Publisher's Note, and often address industry issues and pertinent news of the day. He can be reached at 949 388 4848 or via email
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