By Ryan & Rachael O’Neil
Imagine this: you’re expecting your first child. You’re incredibly excited but you’re also very nervous.
It’s about to be a big life change for you and you want to choose the right pediatrician. You’ve never done this before so you begin talking to friends and googling until you get carpal tunnel to find a list of candidates.
Once you get those options, you’re looking for three main things.
It’s a different life stage, and yet the same process for brides looking for a wedding florist.
It’s very likely that this is your bride’s first wedding. She’s nervous but excited to have finally found several potential florists who can make an incredible event of what she considers the most special day of her life. How do you stand out?
1. Assurance (She trusts you)
Before anything else, she wants to make sure that you are going to come through for her.
She’s going to look through your reviews. She’s at least going to make a valiant effort to read through the legalese in your contract. She wants to see that you’ve done other weddings similar to hers.
So, how do you help brides through this first need?
• Make reviews a priority. If you have 42 reviews you’ve established yourself in her eyes based on a community of experiences.
• Get quality photos of your work. This is a must in speaking to reaching your target audience.
• Present yourself with confidence. Don’t be cocky or rude, but demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about.
If she gives an idea in the consultation that won’t work well, don’t be afraid that you’ll lose her. Find a neat teaching point you can share about flowers. She may even push back a little at first, then she’ll likely act like she’s a flower expert next time she’s with her friends.
2. Affability (she likes you)
Once her list is whittled down to several florists she trusts, the question then becomes: does she like you?
You don’t need to try for a friendship deserving of its own Jane Austen novel. But if she doesn’t feel like you’re genuinely interested in her wedding and can get along with you, you’re off her list.
Try these tips to help show the bride you care.
• Create a great atmosphere when you meet. If you have a shop, have drinks or snacks on hand to offer the bride and any friends while you go through the process. If not, find a coffee shop where you all can feel comfortable chatting.
• Make sure you personally feel comfortable. You’ll never be anyone else than who you are. If you find that you’re an awesome businessperson and very direct, it may be good to have another one of your team do consultations with you as a balance.
• Address each person at the meeting by his/her name. A person’s name is the sweetest sound to their ears, and using it makes you much more likeable.
• If one of the parties in the meeting isn’t providing great ideas, don’t be brash in cutting them off. Find polite ways to keep everyone involved but still stay focused on the making the day the most beautiful.
3. Affordability (she can afford you)
The deciding factor for brides in most cases is if she can afford you.
This factor is the least of the three that you can change. You can work on your reviews or find different tips to help connect with the bride during a consultation. But the lease on your shop doesn’t get any cheaper and you can’t pay your employees less if you take weddings below your margin.
As much as you want to help every bride, you have to say no at some point.
So how do you help brides afford you?
• Return the proposal faster. Proposals for wedding flowers are the most complex in the wedding industry, which has led to an industry standard of one week wait time to get a proposal.
The solution? Use a software built to help make quotes faster. This is why I built Stemcounter.com.
I thought I was helping my wife spend less time making proposals. The unintended side effect is that her booking rate went up. They were waiting a week for other florists’ proposals and had a proposal from Twisted Willow immediately.
• If she doesn’t know her budget, help her create one. Pro-tip: don’t talk about what YOU will charge her. You’re just there to help her find HER options and then build HER budget around what she wants.
What makes your couples book you?
Ryan and Rachael O’Neil own Twisted Willow, a wedding and event florist in St. Louis, MO. Ryan saw Rachael wasting her life on wedding flower proposals and created Stemcounter.com.