This article was written by Rick Brewer of Wedding Business Marketing. Rick has 22+ years in marketing and selling to wedding couples and is known for his proprietary approach to the psychology of wedding buying. Rick has worked with over 2100 wedding businesses, spoken to 250 + wedding groups and regularly shares his insight on wedding industry trends and cycles.
As a wedding professional, you may find yourself asking, “How do I better qualify my appointments?” We all understand that if we come prepared to the appointment, it means we have a higher probability of being able to close the sale (assuming that the couple is ready to buy). These tips will help you do your best to set-up the face to face meeting so that you’ll be able to better close the sale.
There are a few crucial elements to a proper appointment. These two key tips make a big difference:
- All or most decision makers/influencers will be there
- They understand what will happen at the appointment (primarily how much time the appointment should take)
How to prepare for the appointment
The first part of preparing for the appointment is all about who is attending and getting the key decision makers involved. Many wedding professionals ask “who else will be joining the couple at the appointment?” The problem with this question is it leaves a wide gap for the couple to sneak through by simply saying something like, “Oh I will be there by myself” indicating other decision makers may not be there, and therefore that they may not be ready to buy. After that response, you have no room to move. If you ask them a follow up question related to who is coming then you are acting “salesy” which will put the couple on the defense.
The best way to get the decision makers/influencers is to ask the following question:
“Who will help you in making this decision?”
After asking this question, you will then know if there are in fact people who will help them. At that point you need to ask them, “What will it take to get them (the people who will help her in her decision) with you to the appointment?” They may say something along the lines of “I am just looking and will let them know.” We on this side of the purchase know that getting all decision makers to the appointment is important to keep the conversation and sale on track. If a person who is a financial key (i.e. they will write a check) doesn’t attend, then they may question why what you sell is expensive (though it may be high in value), not fully understand the value in what they are purchasing, and may try to get the couple to buy less or not at all.
The second part of preparing for the appointment mainly involves the timing of the appointment. There is a certain amount of time you require to properly present what you are selling. If you do not have this time, you will feel rushed or leave out crucial parts of what you have found to be important for the couple to know. Asking them “How much time will you have for our appointment?” will let you know if they are really there to find out about you and will help you better prepare.
An answer of “an hour” says they are willing to spend some time getting to know you, but be well prepared and respectful of their time while giving yourself room to answer questions. Encourage potential clients by suggesting a timeframe, so they will know what to expect when setting a time, and how long your clients typically need to get to know if your business is a good fit. If the couple shows up late or tries to rush through, the best thing is to reschedule a second appointment or follow up call while you have their attention After all, let’s face it, they are usually not going to listen to you for ten minutes, then whip out the credit card, sign the contract and run out the door!
One item to avoid prior to the appointment is asking for their budget. This a bad idea at this stage because they have not built enough emotional ownership in what you sell or may not understand the true cost and value of the service you provide. Getting to the appointment will help the couple imagine having you as a part of their wedding team and how you can help with their day. Most of us have experienced a couple who said they had a low budget, but after the face to face meeting spent much more than their stated allowance. You should ignore the budget question before the appointment and instead present your services, then give cost later on.
As I often state, nothing is a “slam dunk” every time, but these tips will help maximize your appointments and lead to more weddings at the end of the year!