Should You Offer Discounts as a Wedding Planner?
QC tutor Regina Young is the owner and creative director of Meant2Be Events, a top Arizona wedding planning firm that manages 30-40 weddings a year. This week, Regina provides her point of view on whether you should offer discounts for your event planning business!
To discount or not to discount? This is likely one of the most interesting questions you could ask a wedding planner. Why? Everyone is passionate about their viewpoint!
Obviously, the goal is to increase your number of clients as well as your bank account. Because people prefer buying things on sale, discounts serve as a ploy to attract more people to your services. If your discount is only good for a certain number of days, it can help to close a potential couple.
Let’s explore the argument. I’ll start with the counterpoints to my view point – I am pro discount.
Is the deal-seeking client the right kind of client for you? Are they going to continue to ask you for deals? The “something for nothing” client is usually trouble.
If you discount, what does it say about your services? If you don’t value your own services, why should anyone else?
Filling Your Calendar
While it’s certainly nice to have dates filled with business, having a wedding with the wrong client is often more difficult then dealing with the loss of revenue. Bottom line, what is your stress level & sanity worth? Even worse, if it’s really the wrong client, will you end up in a law suit that will cost you much more than your earnings?
Branding & Reputation Effects
The last argument against discounting is the image you are creating within your industry. Is your goal to work in a luxury market, or perhaps more sophisticated venues? The discount-seeking client is often not in line with these goals. If you regularly offer discounts, your portfolio will result in lower-end weddings.
Law of Attraction
Like attracts like. If a bridesmaid is inspired by the hard work you put into her friend’s or sister’s wedding, she will be eager to hire you! That’s the best referral. However, if you discounted for the previous client, she will expect the same.
I have a team of lead planners, which means that I have a responsibility to keep them booked. If offering a discount helps to move the sales process along, then I am open to the idea. My first argument is the idea that perception is key – if you look busy, you will be busy.
No one wants to work with a planner that doesn’t have any weddings. We already have an established reputation for being an affordable luxury wedding planner, and the quality of our services has attracted the right clients.
We can therefore showcase a high-end portfolio, and we offer discounts & added value to the clients we know are in line with that reputation. How do we know that they will advance our business and not hurt it? Knowing what venue they are booked at, and understanding their vision and budget means we will not secure the wrong client.
By booking more clients at the properties that refer us, we stay in their sight and mind for the next referral. The alternative to a “discount” is added value. For example, complimentary welcome bag assembly, complimentary welcome dinner assistance or even better yet, or complimentary RSVP management.
Regardless of what stance you take, be sure that you take the right steps to protect yourself. Ensure that your agreements outline your services very clearly. This will ensure that you are not accidentally discounting yourself by doing extra work you are not compensated for!