Wedding Sales

The Number 1 Thing to Remove From Your Website's Inquiry Form (and Why)

The point of your website isn't to close the sale, it's to get potential clients to contact you so you can start a conversation.

The number one thing on most wedding professionals' inquiry forms that can shut down a conversation? Asking for a specific wedding date. 

This seems counterintuitive at first – after all if you aren't available for their date, you aren't available. That said, asking for the date up front cheats both you and the bride or groom out of a conversation that can leave a memorable impression and increase your word of mouth.

First, depending on your segment of the industry, a potential client may have a few dates in mind. Their decision could depend on when their dream venue or the photographer they've been Insta-stalking for the past year has availability. If the date they enter to get past a mandatory field on your inquiry form triggers an automated "Sorry, we're booked" email reply, you've lost out on the possibility that the date they land on is actually one you have available.

Second, and most importantly, not skipping past that conversation means you have the opportunity to make the wedding industry better. 

One of my non-negotiable company values is to always provide a referral if I can't accept a project. This can be because I'm already booked, I'm out of their budget, their project isn't in my wheelhouse, or we just may not be a good fit for whatever reason. Giving them the name of someone who may be able to better help them reach their goals is not only beneficial to them and brands me as helpful, it allows me to support the other people in the business consulting space who are the real deal. 

The importance of that last part shouldn't be underestimated. Wedding pros in every single segment of the industry complain about oversaturation. Planners joke that "anyone who walks by a wedding at a resort" opens up shop the next day, photographers complain about people with an iPhone and VSCO calling themselves pros, and caterers complain that "anyone with a kitchen and the Food Network thinks they can do what we do." Some of the new people entering the industry are truly talented. Others are . . . not.

The truth of the matter is that if you are competing at the level you want to be at, most of your competitors will also be excellent at what they do. Bad apples end up affecting everyone, and the best way to ensure that the good people stay in business is to send them business. 

Have a list of names of people you trust and respect, including competitors in your category as well as those who may be at a lower price point but still good at what they do. You can send an actual PDF list or link, but I'd recommend taking a couple minutes to send a personalized recommendation:

"Hi Sally, Your wedding ideas sound beautiful! We are previously committed for your date, but based on what you've shared with me, I'd recommend reaching out to Ann at XYZ Events. Her style is very much in sync with yours, plus I think you'll hit it off. Congratulations, again!"

A 90 second email that helps the couple, brands you as generous to both the client and the wedding pro, and earns you karma/reaping what you sow/what goes around comes around brownie points.

This particular couple may not have the budget for you, but "I couldn't afford him, but he still took the time to help me with recommendations" is great word of mouth and a kindness people remember. It also helps build a wedding community committed to excellence and weeding out the charlatans. A win-win for everyone.

Storytelling as Marketing

A client doesn't hire you just because they heard your story.

A client hires you because they believe your story will help make theirs better in some way.

Stories drive marketing and stories are what sell, but make no mistake: when it comes to these things your story is never really about you.

If you want your storytelling to succeed, try a little less me, a lot more here's how your life can be easier/simpler/better/more joyous/more memorable.

Originally published July 2011

How To Sell Effectively So You Can Book More Weddings

Ever been copied?

Me, too.

About five years ago a friend sent me a link to a YouTube video of a respected colleague giving a keynote speech at a conference. She wasn't just giving any speech – she was giving mine.

My content.
My research.
Even a couple of my jokes.

All being presented as her own.

The saying "it shouldn't matter who gets the credit" is sometimes true, but not when it's someone else taking all the credit for your work.

I knew I had to start working on something new that others couldn't pretend they found on Google Scholar or by reading a few books.

So I did.

For the past almost four years now I've been researching what would become WedType™, the first ever buyer behavior model for lifestage milestone events, conducted with scientific processes.

I kept it under wraps until earlier this year because, as any research psychologist will tell you, sometimes what you end up finding after coding all the data is a big wad of . . . nothing.

Fortunately, that wasn't the case here.

What I and my tight-knit research team found was that there are significant personality shifts when it comes to milestone events such as weddings, babies, bar and bat mitzvahs, etc. We also found that for weddings, the shifts aren't just in the brides and grooms, but in the people closest to them as well.

Since millennials grew up with group-focused education, peer feedback is a key part of their behavior process. Because of this, it's more important than ever to know how to effectively sell to every person in the room.

That's where WedType comes in.

Everything you've ever heard about selling to personality types? It's based on research not done on lifestage events. It's helpful-ish, but it still never quite fits when it comes to selling to brides and grooms.

This is because that personality research is done by studying how people go grocery shopping, buy shoes online, shop at the mall, or buy products for their company.

With WedType, we are able to show you exactly how people behave when it comes to wedding decisions. And it is VERY different than how they make daily life purchases or shop online. 

You no longer have to settle for helpful-ish. We'll show you the personality shifts and how the four wedding buyer types behave. And we'll show you how to effectively sell to engaged couples during this time in their lives.

No one else has this info, because no one else has done this work. It is our "blue ocean" so to speak. And I am incredibly proud of it.

If you're interested in having us train your team on WedType, drop me a line. I'd love to chat.

Photo by Samantha James Photography, from the Trouvaille Workshop a few weeks ago where I had the privilege of sharing an abbreviated version of WedType™ with a group of talented wedding planners and florists.