Best Practices for Consultations
Begin by asking yourself: Where do you conduct your consultations? Then ask yourself: What is your consultation conversion rate?
Know your numbers! You should always be keeping track of how many people you are meeting with, and how many of those people ultimately book with you. This is a way to find out if you are growing as a business.
Factors of your business that can lead to burn-out
Never qualifying your leads
Not having a scheduling system
No questionnaire for potential clients
Holding in-person consultations
Not being able to offer the sale on the spot
Taking hours or days to create proposals
Offering no incentives
Not having a follow up system
Booking rate being 50% or less
By implementing new systems, you can:
Have an automated business
Increase the client experience
Raise your prices
Attract the ideal client
Send estimates quickly
Get paid before meeting
Increase your booking rate to 75%
Quality vs. Quantity
Enjoy more life, less work
The Consultation Process
Client Experience (this starts with the lead capture)
Qualify the leads
Build KLT (know, like trust)
Surprise + Delight
A unique way to capture the attention of leads is a welcome video. It is instant and personalized, which makes the potential clients feel like VIP clients. Establish KLT and instantly provide a call-to-action. This will set you apart! Check out Bonjoro to create your own automated videos.
Lead Capture on your website. Use a questionnaire to determine if the couple is genuinely interested in working with you, or if they are just price shopping. Quick chats over the phone are great, but keep it light (15-20 minutes). Use this time to establish some trust, send a calendar link and discover the budget and event needs. Save all the extensive details for the consultation.
Always include a thank you email. Use your brochures and questionnaires to your advantage. Always find time for a quick chat before meeting in person. And remember - good email marketing is vital. Learn more on email marketing in this post.
Send estimates the same day if possible. Provide limited information (avoid itemization). Include a two page style board and summarized pricing. Offer booking incentives to encourage them to book as soon as possible. Place an expiration date for the estimate. This creates a sense of urgency. Protect your documents so that it is not able to be copied, printed and shared with a competitor. Also include verbiage that your estimate is copyrighted. This can be done in Google docs or with other software. Notify the clients that there is a 25% retainer to book with your company.
An estimate should have: a cover page, colors, flowers you will use, one-page overall aesthetic, one page of summarized pricing, retainer policy, copyright information.
Try not to meet with clients until 4-5 months prior to event. At this point they have already paid their retainer. Also, it is more likely that they have their minds made up about what they really want to see on their wedding day. Establish expectations prior to meeting with them, so they know what to bring and who to bring.
Surprise + Delight! Provide a VIP experience for them by offering cupcakes, coffee or other special items you dream up. Display a detailed style board and renderings. Determine the details – guest count, time frames, solutions for their budget.
Extra customer care: Optional sample meeting 1-2 months’ prior. Finalize the details by this time.
Best Practices for Consultations
To sum it up, you should Qualify + Educate. This is how you build trust with clients. Utilize online calendars for automatic booking. This cuts down on the back and forth emails. Get on the phone with clients before doing an in person consultation. Give estimates in a summarized way. Avoid itemized estimates at the beginning, but be able to provide estimates within the same day of a phone chat. Limit the details and give expiration dates. Creating that sense of urgency will encourage people to book sooner. Offer booking incentives. Sell VALUE not price. Avoid in-person consultations if possible. Offer the sale!
For more on this topic, watch the replay!