By Guest Blogger, Andy Ebon, of The Wedding Marketing Blog
DIY brides are well-intentioned. I truly believe that. Money is a limitation for everyone; however, within a couple’s available funds, the bigger challenges are priorities an decision-making.
I confess that my patience with pretzel logic varies widely from day-to-day. Formal sales education taught me it was an important and noble process. A skill to help prospects move toward a good decision, benefitting them.
That perspective has served me well, over time. The key, for me, was to qualify a prospect and understand their needs. If I believed I provided a service that was a good fit for them, then I made every effort to close the sale for our mutual benefit. Conversely, it’s OK to disqualify a prospect.
One strain of Entrepreneur’s Disease is the belief that every prospect should become a client. If you’re in business long enough, you know that feeling in the pit of your stomach that says
“I’ve got an opening on the calendar, but I might regret taking this client.”
What one does next indicates whether we have learned from prior experiences.
Going For Broke
In moments and days of impatience with brides, who were all over the map, I would sometimes use Andy’s Go For Broke negotiation strategy.
Long before the term DIY, littered the landscape, brides showed much similar irrational judgment. To me (and I stress that this is my personal and considered opinion) brides have some amount of money to spend, but they rarely have a plan about budget priorities. And THAT is the key.
There are certain critical services which just don’t lend themselves to DIY.
Sometimes after completing a booking, a new client might ask me for a vendor referral. A photographer… in this example.
A short version of the conversation might sound like:
“My uncle has offered to do the wedding photography, and I’m seriously thinking about accepting his offer. I had budgeted $1000 for a photographer, and just thought I’d ask you for a referral, just in case you knew of someone who would do it for that amount of money?”
My response might go something like this:
“Is your uncle a professional?”
(bride says ‘no’)
“May I ask you a tough question?”
(bride says ‘sure’)
“In a worst-case scenario, if the photos don’t come out, would you sue your uncle?”
(usually, seconds of silence, then ‘why would you ask me that?)
“Well, when the reception is over and the music is finished, the food is eaten, and the guests are gone, all you have is memories… the documentation of those memories is everything. Professional photographers have all the technical and creative training, AND they have the appropriate professional gear, backup gear, and backups for backup. I can refer you to a couple of solid photographers and they will cost more than $1000. They will be worth it. And, how would your relationship be with your uncle, going forward, if the photos didn’t come out? Do you really want to take that chance?”
At that point, after the bride got over the shock of the logic, the usual response was something like…
“I never looked at it that way, but you make a fair point. It’s a bigger risk in more than one way. Besides, Uncle Harry is my favorite Uncle. I’d rather have him as a guest, and not be distracted by what might go wrong.”
From time to time, selling involves FUD – Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt…. And that’s OK, as long as it is the truth. It isn’t a technique that I employed often, but it worked more than not, because it’s an eye-opening challenge.
More important, it kept a number of brides from making some incredibly bad decisions.
When the situation dictates, don’t be scared to take a risk. You might surprise yourself.
Andy Ebon is an in-demand public speaker at conferences and local meetings. Now in its second decade, Andy and EBS Virtual Communications have refocused squarely on wedding marketing and small business consultation, with the launch of The Wedding Marketing Network and its affiliated companies. With industry experience of 2000 weddings, and almost four decades of hospitality and wedding marketing, The Wedding Marketing Network promises to be yet another exciting direction for Andy Ebon.