This post is by Jennifer Reitmeyer. Jennifer has worked in the wedding industry since 1997. In addition to owning MyDeejay, an award-winning wedding entertainment firm serving the Washington, D.C. market, she also maintains a wedding business blog, WeddingIQ, and a blogging and social media service for wedding businesses, Firebrand Messaging. Jennifer is available for small business coaching, speaking, and writing opportunities. Read more at jenniferreitmeyer.com.
A common theme in business discussions is on finding the right kind of client. Often, for new business owners, this is a novel concept: the idea that we can pick and choose whose money we’ll take seems like an incredible luxury when we’re first starting out, but after a short time in business, most of us find ourselves gravitating toward a particular kind of client.
Identifying our target market goes way beyond things like demographics and budgets. Equally important, if not more so, is finding clients who set us up for success. We want clients who will be thrilled with our services, who will review us positively, and refer us to their friends. Finding those clients in a sea of inquiries? That’s the tough part.
Here are five things you can do to attract the right kind of client for you:
- Put yourself front and center. All of your marketing, from your website, to your blog, to your Facebook page, should tell the world who you are. Share your story, what makes you unique. Make people fall in love with you, because those people will inevitably have a better experience with you on their wedding day.
- Tell the world what kinds of clients you seek. It’s a great idea to include on your website a list of the positive qualities your “dream client” will have – let the bad matches see for themselves that they aren’t a good fit!
- Align yourself with the right vendors. By building relationships with other wedding professionals who share your philosophy and style, you’ll receive better-qualified referrals (and clients who are personally referred will almost always be happier with you).
- Give yourself the opportunity to really connect with a prospective client before any contract is signed. Especially in a service industry like weddings, it’s so important to speak in-depth with a potential client before you commit to a working relationship. Take the time to learn about his or her ideas, budget, and priorities to ensure they are compatible with your business – this gives you the chance to turn away problem people before they become your problem.
- Manage expectations by providing service at a pace you can sustain. Of course it’s tempting to shower clients with lightning-fast communication at the beginning, when you’re eager to earn their business, but make sure you’re not setting a precedent that you aren’t able to maintain in the long run. It’s much better to give clients an honest impression of your service standard from the beginning, so they know what they can reasonably expect.
Signs that a client is a good fit:
- Their communication style is compatible with yours. If you’re solely an email person and a client prefers to only chat by phone, there are bound to be gaps in your communication, which can lead to disappointment on the client’s end (or frustration on yours).
- They have a realistic understanding of what can be accomplished within their budget. Many, if not most, clients kick off their planning with a ton of inspiration photos or Pinterest boards full of ideas. It’s important, though, that these clients also understand the costs associated with these ideas, and are comfortable with what you’re able to provide within their stated budget.
- They express genuine enthusiasm to be working with you. There are some clients who are skeptics, and are always looking for reasons to be unhappy with a product or service. Obviously, that’s the kind you want to avoid! Look for clients who are excited about your company, and specifically about you.
- They treat you like a human being. Of course paying clients have the right to expect that you’ll deliver on your promises and provide the services for which you’re contracted. However, you want your clients to respect you, trust you, and see you as a whole person, not just a service provider.
- You can’t wait to be part of their wedding. Maybe it’s because their ideas are so cool, or their personalities are a perfect complement to yours – whatever it is, if you’re counting down the days to their big day, that’s a great sign you’ve found your ideal client.
What do you look for when finding your perfect client? We would love to hear from you. Continue the discussion with Jennifer on the WeddingWire Pro Forum, here!