Do you know what the biggest asset you have in your team to convert bookings AND retain your reputation? The power to say no.

The most successful clients that I have had know when to walk away. They know when it’s time to say “this isn’t for us”.

This can be applied to many things. What I would like to concentrate on today are prospective clients.

We’ve all been there. Sat in front of a show round, hanging on their every word, willing them to say “yes, I think we’ll hold the date”. Or, that holy grail – “take my money now!”. But, when they’re telling you their plans for the outdoor ceremony, tipi and firework extravaganza, and you’re stuck with little outside space and a curfew so fireworks can’t happen what do you do?

Don’t let your mind wander with pound signs. Listen to what the client that is sat in front of you is saying. You cannot fulfil what the client wants for their day. Let them finish, and tell them no.

WAIT though!

I don’t mean “thanks but no thanks!”. I don’t mean “ah we don’t do that, we aren’t for you, bye bye now”. I mean to say “I’m really sorry but I don’t think we’re the right venue for you – we can’t do what you want! But…I have a really good knowledge of the industry and I can give you a whole host of people that can help to create your vision”.

Give them contacts within the local area that can make it happen for them. If they’re out on visits all day, offer to ring the other venues to see if they have time for the client to pop in. Tell them everything you have in your play book.

This might seem counterintuitive. Why would you send your prospective clients to your competitors?

Because collaboration is key and you are playing the long game! The client walks away, you don’t get the booking but the positives far outweigh the negatives!

  1. You haven’t got a wedding that you cannot meet the expectations for, you have given the client a really good grounding on starting their journey
  2. You’ve passed business onto another business in the industry locally – they will remember this
  3. The client has left with a positive experience of the venue. They will remember and recommend you to others. They will also return on other occasions; birthdays, a drink in the sun, anniversaries…the list is endless. You are making a loyal customer.

How do I know this works? I have done it! On more than a few occasions! In fact, there are times I recall weeks later the couple have returned and booked with me because they realised that having the right team around them was more important to them than meeting the previously held expectations that they had. But without exception, the couple have come back to the venue for wedding fairs, afternoon tea, private dining…multiple revisits because of my honesty. Or their cousins and sisters and brothers have come back to have a show round and then book their wedding because “Sarah told us how great you were, even though they didn’t book with you”.

So do you see? No isn’t a negative. No is a powerful word in the booking process that could make you so much more.

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