It’s the tip every wedding website and magazine loves to give:

“Negotiate with your vendors! Ask for a lower rate, or extra services…because they just might say yes!”

And every wedding professional in the world said:

You know you’re reasonably priced, and you know your value…so why should you have to lower your rate or give out a bunch of extras?

Well, you have to understand WHY before you can know HOW to negotiate with clients on pricing.

Assuming you’ve gotten them from their first email or request over to a phone call or consultation, it helps to understand where they’re coming from. (I’m a big fan of the phrase, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”)

Some of the most common reasons for this question are:

  • They might not know the average rate for your service – you could quite possibly be their first stop in reaching out and have no idea what the going rate is.
  • They might have an imaginary number in their head – without checking around (see above), their perception of what is “reasonable” for your service could be WAY out of whack…especially if they’ve been exposed to online ads by fly-by-night “professionals.”
  • They might not be able to afford it – this is actually a good thing…you want to figure this out quickly so you can either make a deal that works for both of you or move on to another lead.
  • They could just be looking for a deal – some people love the thrill of getting a cheaper rate than you originally quoted and will always ask for this, no matter how reasonably priced you may be.

So how do you figure out which one it is?

Step 1: Listen. Sounds simple, but if you pay attention to the words they use in their conversation, it could give you some clues.

Step 2: Go deeper on your questions. Your ultimate goal is to figure out which objection they’re coming from so that you can speak to it and make the sale. Some examples of this include:

  • How did you come by that number / rate? (Make sure you’re asking in a genuinely curious way, not an accusatory way!)
  • What about that price is attractive to you?
  • What is it about {the package / offering they want} is attractive to you?
  • It sounds like… (here is where you restate – with empathy! – what they told you in the form of a questions and see what they reveal; for example: “It sounds like you might not be able to afford that package?”) – and then LISTEN for their reply! (Are you noticing a pattern here?)

Step 3: Offer a plan. Once you’ve figured out what their real objection is, here’s where you can make a specific plan for them that also works for you – whether that means creating a custom package or quote, or pointing them to another package that they might not know you offer. Keep in mind: These are people whose heads are often swimming with information and might not remember which pro offers what!

No matter what, try to remember that asking for a discount or extra is NORMAL. It’s not a comment on you or your services, or a purposeful attempt to insult you – and when handled correctly, it might just lead you to a booked client.

What other strategies do you use when figuring out how to negotiate with clients on pricing? Share your tips in the Book More Brides Tribe on Facebook!