Does this sound familiar?
You’ve done the hard part, you’ve got the client through the door and into the venue for a showround. Obviously, they will now book, job done, NEXT! Except no it’s not that simple; you then need to make sure that no matter what dates you have available in your wedding diary that the customer sat in front of you thinks that it is the perfect date for them.
The sequence to making your wedding venue the only one that they choose is precise and needs to be thought out. The steps that I set out below are by no means exhaustive, but they will go some way in helping guide customers to knowing you are the only choice for their wedding day.
Where possible, greet clients at the door. Take them to a comfy seating area and offer them a drink. Ask them some questions about their day; keep this general and light. Introduce yourself and your team, and explain how the showround is going to take place. This would go something like this:
“Hi, I’m Zoë and I am the head wedding coordinator here. I work with Sarah and Jane, and we make up the wedding and events team. Thank you so much for coming for a showround today I know it can be a bit overwhelming so I want to make sure you get the most from this as possible. We’ll sit and have a chat now about your day, then I will take you round the venue and explain how we work here. Then we’ll come back here and take a seat and get into the details about how your wedding day will work. Everything will take about an hour Does that sound ok?”
They will almost exclusively say yes. When asking questions, make them non binary. This means start the questions with words such as:
Rather than binary words such as:
The reason for this is that customers will be guided into giving you detailed answers rather than just a yes or a no.
Firstly, ask them the important details such as names (both, fore- and surname), phone numbers, email addresses and postal addresses. The reason for getting these details now is that you are then making is so much easier to draw up your contract when they decide to hold a date. Also, it gives you a jump off point for general questions and forming a bond – maybe you went to school near where they live or know someone that lives near them.
Do the work before the tour
Try to find out what the do for a living, this can give you an insight into what dates might be important to them. Find out what sort of numbers they are thinking of – are there lots of children who will need to be off school (if so, go heavy on the school holidays, likewise for teachers)? Are there any guests that are in the services (so have to adhere to shifts)? Are guests travelling from out of town? Ask them if they had their free choice of all of the year when would they choose to get married? Don’t mention specific dates, or days of the week – concentrate on seasons. This gives you the freedom to sell outside of the usual season. All of these points can form the basis of selling them a specific date in the calendar.
Once the formalities are out of the way, ask them the following: “What is the most important thing about your wedding day?”
This one question will allow you to hone in on what they hold to be important in this process. Two things they will rarely say are price and dates. Maybe food is most important, so you know to talk about that during the showround, or numbers are big so you need to demonstrate how the room is laid out for bigger numbers, how far back the tables will go and how many are around each table.
Once you have spent about 15-20 minutes chatting and finding out about them (you can ask how far they’ve travelled or what they are doing for the rest of the day to find out about them too), take them on the tour of the venue. Have they mentioned they live a bit of a journey away? If so, make a point of showing them the room they can get ready in.
Are their guests travelling? Make sure that you mention rooms the night before and where breakfast will take place. Do they really want a band or singer? Show them where this will happen. Tailor the experience to them, and refer back to the information that you have already found out.
When you have shown them the venue head back to sit down. Ask them what they think of the venue if they have any questions or concerns. Then, crucially, leave them for 5-10 minutes on their own – explain that you’re going to go and get some photo albums and your diary. This will give the customers the chance to talk to each other and affirm what is important to them without your ears listening in.
When you leave them, go to get your diary, and any ancillary information that you give to them – this could be accommodation price lists, local hotels, supplier lists, menus – anything that isn’t already included in the brochure.
On your return, this is where the sell has to begin. Show them your brochure and go through it page by page to explain everything in there – most of this should already have been mentioned in the showround, but it’s a good time to reiterate bar closing times, minimum numbers and food choice options to name but a few.
Now is the time to talk about specific dates and budget. I would ask these two in tandem – what their budget is and when ideally they want to get married. If these don’t match up with your pricing structure, explain that you can meet their budget in ** mon th, or the budget will need to go up. By now, they should really want the wedding to be held with you, so should be flexible in their approach to dates and budget.
Identify two or three dates that would work for them. I would say a premium, mid and low. Premium is the day they want, in the month they want, at the advertised price. Mid is the day they want, in a neighbouring month at the advertised price. Low would be a midweek date in the month they want with some extras thrown in. The reasoning for this is that you will be making them decide what they really want for the day. The majority of the time they will choose the mid or low option because it fits their budget or their date needs.
Ask them to hold the date. You have to ask – they don’t know how this works. When they hold a date, explain that you will send them a contract and an invoice to make them realise that holding a date means something and isn’t simply a gesture.
Find out where else they are looking – and explain why you are a better choice. To do this you must ensure that you have a really good knowledge of how the venues around you work. Don’t mystery shop them – call and ask to meet up for a coffee. You will both have your strengths and weaknesses, the trick is to know how to use them to your advantage. You have to know why your venue is better than others around you and tell your customers from that initial showround why you need to be the only choice.
This is a tiny snippet of what I teach in the One Day Focus sessions available each month. Want to chat? Book me for a call and let’s see how we can make this formula work for you.