Today's Bride Pros

Why do you charge what you do?

Whether you’re a Master Bridal Consultant or aspiring newbie, you have to decide what services you’re going to offer and then set a price for those services. How do you set your pricing? Do you look at what others charge and then determine whether you’re worth more, or less? Or do you sit down and figure your costs, financial needs and the time it will take to perform those services?

If you look at what others are charging and base your prices on that you’re actually using the wrong metric, especially for a service business such as wedding planning. Theoretically the other business set their prices based upon their financial needs, their costs, their inventory (how many weddings they want to plan this year) and other factors. Those factors work for them, but they don’t apply to you.

How do you explain your pricing to your prospects?

What you need to learn is how and when to address the pricing issue. If you’ve already had a chance to hear what their needs are and to explain what you can do for them, then price is a legitimate question. If it’s the first contact then you need to learn how to move the conversation to what’s really important, the success of their wedding. That’s a discussion for another article. What I want to address here is how to justify the value of what you charge. It’s also important to know when it’s not a good fit and refer them to someone more qualified for what they’re looking for (or walk away from a Bridezilla).

They’ll always be able to find someone who charges less than you. So why should they pay your price, especially if you’re higher than most of the other planners in the area? Can you answer that question? If you don’t know why you charge more then why should anyone pay your price? The answer is that they can’t get you and your team anywhere else. They can get services that look similar, on paper, but if they really want you and your team to plan their wedding, or handle their wedding day management, they have to hire you, at your price. So, the key is not to sell the services, it’s to sell specifically you providing those services. That’s something they can’t get anywhere else, at any price.

The most important thing is…

A client of mine called the other day lamenting about how a potential customer he’d met with called to say they had gotten a significantly better price with a competitor (40% less). On the one had he was angry. On the other hand he wanted to get the sale. I told him to tell the prospect that if the most important thing was price then they had to go with his competitor.

However, if the most important thing was the success of their wedding, then he could assure them that would happen if they went with him. He can’t know what the other company will do, as he has no control over that. He does, however, have a very experienced team who have earned the right to be paid more because of the success they’ve brought to countless weddings like theirs.

Do you want lower quality along with that lower price?

He also can’t match the price because he won’t give them 40% less service, 40% less quality or 40% less guest satisfaction. Bring it back to what’s really important to the client and make them feel that you’re the best solution for their wedding. I also reminded him that if price really was the most important factor they would have already booked the other company, but they didn’t. They came back to him because they would really rather book him, not the other company, but the price disparity is making them pause. That’s understandable. No one wants to think they overpaid, especially by a lot. If price is the most important factor then it wasn’t his sale to get.

It’s just a wedding

Why does it cost more for some services for a wedding than for a party? Should it? Is it fair to the consumer? From the outside it may seem that a wedding is just a party. But as professional wedding planners you know that a lot more goes into planning a wedding, DJ’ing a wedding, photographing a wedding, etc. than for a party. Much of the extra work happens out of the view of the host and guests. Much of it happens before the event. While the 20/20 piece suggested that some vendors increase their pricing when they hear it’s a wedding, they didn’t acknowledge that there is a good reason for that.

Do you explain to your clients about the extra planning and prep time that wedding pros, including yourselves, have to do to properly execute a wedding versus a party? Do you understand the extra work that the wedding pros you recommend have to do? If not then I suggest you learn more. It’s your job to know as much as you can about all of the different services on a wedding. I have a coaching client in Australia who’s starting a wedding planning business. I suggested she “intern” with as many different wedding pros as she can. Be an extra set of hands to the florist, band, DJ, caterer, etc. Learn, first-hand, what it takes to successfully perform those services. That way she’ll be more prepared to explain the difference to her clients.

Give value and charge what you’re worth

I was consulting with a wedding planner recently and she told me her prices and then said that she was thinking of raising them by about 20%. They sounded low for the services she was offering, the value she was providing and for her experience, so I told her to raise them that day. If the old price would have scared them away she wouldn’t have gotten the sale anyway. If the old price was within their reach then the new price would be as well. An additional few hundred dollars would seem a reasonable price to pay to if they wanted her. The lesson here is don’t sell the price, sell you and your team providing the services and products they need. Once they want you, they have to pay your price.


ALAN BERG, CSP

If you’d like to find out how Alan can work with you and your team, whether you’re a team of one, or dozens, reach out to him. He’s worked with businesses both virtually (phone/internet) as well as on-site at venues, bridal salons, entertainment companies, and more. To find out how he can help you, with sales training or a website review, email [email protected] call 732.422.6362, international inquiries 001 732 422 6362 or visit his site www.AlanBerg.com

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