couples drinking wine

In case you missed the latest blow to the wedding industry, last Friday 20/20 released an expose’ using sound bites from wedding pros and wedding marketing educators to support their attack in Wedding Confidential: Industry Secrets.

Here’s a direct quote from the promos, “Learn the tricks the wedding business uses to rip off unsuspecting lovebirds…”

The media makes us out to be heartless, slimy con artists who use lies and hype to trick brides and grooms into giving us money that we don’t deserve.

Negative Media Hype

Here’s what happens after couples watch this expose:

  • ANGER – They expect us to try to rip them off.
  • FEAR – They don’t trust wedding vendors.
  • DISTRUST – It makes them focus even MORE on price.
  • DISHONESTY – It teaches them to lie to us and even hide the fact that they are planning a wedding.

All of this breeds fear, division and deception between us and the couples we’re trying to help.  It breaks down communication and makes it harder to build Win-Win relationships with our clients.

What can you do to protect yourself from this media attack and its effects on brides and grooms?

Needless to say, I was pretty ticked off after watching the video.  20/20 uses selective questioning and quick edits to fuel their attack on the wedding business.  The other side of the story isn’t even represented.

20/20 manipulates the bride’s highly emotional state in order to get ratings and views; in so doing, they are guilty of the very same “crime” of which they accuse the wedding industry.

This is merely one of many attempts the media has made to expose the “corruption” of the wedding industry.  It’s been happening for years with advice such as…

“Don’t hire a professional with ‘wedding’ in their business name because they’ll rip you off…”

“Avoid the Wedding Markup by not telling them you’re planning a wedding until after they quote your price…”

“Hire non-wedding photographers, musicians, DJs and designers because they’re cheaper…”

Turn the Attack Into a Positive

1. Don’t feed the hype.

The more website visitors, comments and viewers 20/20 gets, the more it spreads.  They’re after a reaction, and they’re getting it.  The less attention it gets, the quicker it will fade from public view.  I’ve made a choice NOT to link to the video from this blog post for just that reason.

2. Examine your business and sales practices to remove ANY appearance of deception.

Imagine the scenario presented in the news clip.  What would happen if two couples called you for the same date: one planning a wedding and the other a large party?  Would they get hit with the “wedding markup” without explanation?  Make sure everything you do is clear and above board.

3. Compose a professional response to bride/groom accusations that you are “ripping them off.”

It’s rare that couples will accuse you without provocation, but having a prepared response will boost your confidence and quickly resolve an uncomfortable situation.  Practice your response when you’re not emotional; if it ever comes up you’ll know exactly what to say.

4. Believe 100% that you are worth your price and say it with confidence.

Ask yourself this question, “Would you pay your rate if you were getting married?”  If you don’t believe you’re worth it, neither will they.

5. Focus on helping the couple before trying to sell them.

The quickest way to win the trust of a bride or groom is to help them without asking for anything in return.  Become their trusted resource before they even book you, and you will set aside fears that you will overcharge and take advantage of them.  Even if they don’t book, your goodwill will be come back to you later on.

6. Don’t use high pressure sales tactics.

Once you establish a connection with the couple, win their trust and prove your expertise, hard sales tactics are completely unnecessary.  Booking you becomes the natural choice.
Work on communicating your value by listening, feeding back, offering tips and advice and using what we call “stealth sales” tactics so that closing the deal is easy.

Even though I’ve seen this before, it still stings.  Wedding vendors are some of the most creative, passionate individuals I know, and seeing us portrayed in such a bad light leaves a horrible feeling in my gut.

Let’s spin this into a positive and use it as fuel to improve what we do, overdeliver, win ecstatically happy clients and prove them wrong.

What do you think about the media’s attacks on the wedding industry?

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