Today's Bride Pros

Recap of Lessons Learned from BSPI- Part I

Over the past few days, Denise and Jennifer attended (and spoke at) the Bridal Show Producers International Conference. They learned more about marketing and appealing to our target audience– millennials. Aged 18-34, it’s this group of individuals that are entering the market for wedding vendors. They are spending more per guest than in the past, with an average wedding costing more than $27,000 in Cleveland and Akron. Read on for some tips on the best ways to appeal to your clients.

It’s true what they say—the pen is mightier than the sword.

Think of the last time someone asked you where you wanted to eat. Most likely, you had a fight over it because both of you claimed you “didn’t care,” yet when an option was presented you scowled or said “Eh, not there.” Now imagine you were staring at a wall filled with movies and were expected to choose one—out of hundreds—to watch. Feeling a bit indecisive yet? That’s exactly how your clients feel. Not only are they presented hundreds of names of companies to choose from (just for one wedding vendor category!), but once they may a decision, they have to then consider what service package fits their interests best. Lesson #1—present your service options differently.

Most Popular Package- When your computer pops up with an update, don’t you usually choose the option that says “recommended”? You’re no expert when it comes to software (or is it hardware?), so you don’t even bother reading the other options; just let the expert do its job. Similarly, when offering your customers different options, promote one as “most popular.” Alan Berg suggests keeping your options low—no more than three—and promoting the first one as “Good,” the second as “The Most Popular,” and the third as “The Best.” This way, your customer can feel comfortable that no matter which package they go with, they’ll be getting great service, but they’ll tend to lean toward the former two options (usually the more expensive ones) because they know they are proven to work and will be getting the best quality.

Buffet Service- If you’re like me, five bites into a buffet and you’re full. You probably only ate $7 worth of your $12 meal, but you cannot eat any more. That’s how your buffet service will work. Draw in customers with a package deal that highlights extra bonuses for the bride and groom if they book with you. For example, every bride who comes to one of our bridal shows receives with her admission a tote bag, a copy of our latest magazine and Lovebook, and a Discount Card, but we still take advantage of these bonuses by encouraging brides to buy now—“Get your tickets today to get your FREE copy of our latest magazine full of inspiration along with a FREE pink Today’s Bride tote!” You don’t necessarily have to change your packages to include more incentives—simply highlight what you already offer in a more appealing way. Just like all-inclusive resorts, the package of value and benefits will draw them in even though they probably won’t use everything you’ll offer in your package.

It’s in the way you phrase it.

This tip is similar to the last one, but has an important difference—value. When I’m looking to get gas, my mind is calculating costs. “The gas station down the street is 4 cents cheaper than this one, but do I really want to battle the traffic?” I’m weighing the pros and cons of cost vs. value. Do I value my patience and lack of road rage at this moment more than I value my money? Millennials are all about saving money, so the first question they’ll ask is “How much do you cost?” While it can be a frustrating question, as your answer may turn prospects away or make it hard to continue any interest, it is a very important aspect when booking a vendor for a wedding. Here’s how you can regain their interest.

Ask them what they envision? – As a DJ you may ask “what do you envision for entertainment at their reception?” This will guide which of your services (or packages) to suggest that are best in line with their vision.  Don’t ask for their budget first.   Respond to their budget comment with “what do you envision?”.  They don’t know what it costs to create their vision.  Answer their needs with your recommendation.  Then address the investment next.  You’ll be surprised how many times they’ll spend more than they budgeted after learning about the cool new things they could hire to enhance their reception…which is what they envisioned in the first place.

Avoid using “budget”- Instead of saying, “What’s your budget?,” say, “What’s your spending plan?” This will comfort your bride and groom, knowing that they have probably have a dollar value in mind and you are sensitive to that.    It opens the conversation that you are willing to work with their budget and offer suggestions based on what they want to spend.

Value, value, value- Head them off with outlining all the value your company will offer them.  When they respond with a shocked look at your package price, try responding with  “Can you believe it is only $XXXX for that great of a package?” Assure your client that they’ll be getting as much bang for their buck as possible. Though they may be putting forward more money than they expected, just look at all of the benefits they’ll get! Stress all the assistance you’ll be providing them, and how valuable your time and services are.

Continued in Part II


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