Client Consultation Top Tips for Wedding Planners
Once you’ve finally got that all important appointment with your potential couple what happens next? You need to start thinking about how you’re going to conduct yourself in the consultation.
This is where a lot of wedding planners go wrong. Why? Well a consultation isn’t so much about talking as it is about listening.
And I mean you doing the listening and your couple doing the talking.
I know that sounds strange, and yes this is about them interviewing you as much as you interviewing them, but you need to learn how to listen.
The art of the sale is in the power of listening. I like to call this the 70/30 rule.
You listen 70% of the time and talk for 30%.
My Dad was a very successful banking software salesman. He worked for IBM back in the day and was one of their top sales people.
I remember him telling me at a very young age that if I wanted to sell anything, no matter what it was, I needed to learn how to listen. It was his catchphrase.
My Dad is a wiseman so when he gives advice I listen. I’m now I’m sharing it with you.
So how do you get your couple talking?
The answer to that is simple. Ask lots of open-ended questions. Questions they can’t answer with a ‘yes‘ or ‘no‘.
- How did you meet?
- Tell me about the proposal
- What do you enjoy doing?
These questions are great ice-breakers and will make your couple a little bit more relaxed. Most people are happy to talk about themselves.
If you’re still finding it hard, another great question is ‘Tell me about your ideal wedding – the one where budget isn’t an issue.’
Try to avoid asking WHY? This puts people on a defensive and can be very confronting.
The art of listening is one that is developed over time, but there are some very important rules that should be followed.
Firstly, never interrupt. If you have asked a question let your couple answer it. Don’t be tempted to interrupt with tidbits of information. Leave this information for when it is your time to talk.
Secondly, learn to listen actively. It’s important for your couple to know you’re listening. You need to indicate that you’re attentive and understand what they are trying to say to you.
The more you listen the easier your questioning will be.
If you pay attention and listen to what your couple are telling you they’ll do all the hard work for you. If you’re clever you can ask questions based around the information they’ve given you.
By repeating information back to them it makes them feel as though you understand them and their needs. If they’ve told you their wedding will be small and intimate with only 20 guests who all live close by, don’t then ask them if they’ll have any out of town guests that need to be accommodated.
Just because it’s on your consultation questionnaire doesn’t mean that you have to ask the question.
Once you’ve finished chatting to them about their wedding and what they want out of their day then you can talk about yourself. Keep it short and sweet though.
Tell them stories of past clients rather than sounding like you’re simply repeating your resume. Get them excited but don’t drone on for half an hour. If you’ve conducted the first half of the consultation properly you shouldn’t need to do too much more.
“Effective questioning brings insight, which fuels curiosity, which cultivates wisdom.” — Chip Bell
As part of our Certificate in Wedding Planning we have an entire module on Client Consultations. We even have an example role play so you know exactly what to ask and how to conduct a truly professional client consultation.
Want a sneak peek? Check out the video below.