Why Should Clients Hire a Wedding Planner? (Part 1)
This month, QC Event School tutor Heather Vickery provides us with insights on why clients should hire a wedding planner and how it benefits them. Heather is the Owner and Event Director of Greatest Expectations Special Events and Weddings, one of Chicago’s most celebrated event planning and design firms.
There are many times as a planner that you are required to tell people why they should hire you and what your value is. Let me start by saying there is a significant difference between value and worth. A client will think your pricing is “worth it” if they see the “value” in what you provide. So don’t get hung up on what you are charging – just provide the value you promise and the rest will fall into place.
As I have been preparing to write this piece, several people asked, “Is this an article for potential clients?” No. This is an article to help you, the wedding planners, have a firm grasp on your sales pitch and process.
Before you can really pitch yourself and your services to a client, you need to fully understand them yourself. Here are several areas that you must firmly “own” so that you can best close a sale:
What do you uniquely bring to the table?
This is the most important thing when presenting to a new potential client. What sets you apart from every other planner? How do you interact with clients? What is your approach? What is your process for communication and workflow? All of these details make you and your business unique.
If you cannot show what sets you apart from the competition, then the only thing potential clients have to base their decision on is price. Trust me, you never want to be in that position. When people hire me, it is for all of the things I bring to the table – not because my pricing is lower than everyone else’s.
A wise woman once told me if every client you are meeting with says yes, then you are not charging enough money. This is completely true. Don’t price yourself so “competitively” (and by this I mean low) simply because you are afraid the client won’t book otherwise. If you bring value to your clients, they will pay a premium for that, I promise.
Know what they don’t know
Let me remind you that you are the expert here. Most clients have no idea what it really takes to plan a wedding or special event – even if they have “done it before” or watched a ton of reality TV shows. Knowing when and how to guide your clients through the planning process is critical to being a successful event planner. I personally give all of my clients a custom planning timeline, breaking down every single aspect of the planning process and when it is to be completed. This allows clients to look ahead and see what is on the horizon, and know when they need to get on the ball and when it is OK to take a deep breath and step back from obsessively planning for a little bit.
But it’s not enough to just produce that planning timeline. I then have to stay on task with it and remind my clients as the next thing to be done approaches. They don’t know what they don’t know – but I do! Sharing this in the initial consultation helps clients understand that hiring a planner is like hiring a “partner” for the wedding planning process. We are in this together and they are not alone. This is how you help keep overwhelm down to a minimum. This is how clients stay calm and enjoy their engagement. You are able to offer them that. Be sure to tell them so in that first meeting!
Stay tuned for Part 2, where Heather gives us more reasons why clients should hire a professional planner!