“I work in the wedding business, so I don’t have repeat customers.”
I’ve heard wedding pros say this numerous times, and I’ve even said it myself! I always assumed that because we specialize in weddings, repeat customers were an impossibility. Unless, of course, Divorce (the wedding business unmentionable) comes into the picture and the bride or groom returns to us for the second time around.
Then I learned some very interesting statistics compiled in a study by Frederick Reichheld of Bain and Company about new customers versus repeat customers.
- It costs 6-7 times more to attract a new customer compared to retaining a current one.
- If you don’t sell to a customer again within 5 years, you’ll lose 50% of them.
- Even a small 5% increase in customer retention can result in a 5-95% increase in profits.
It was then that I started asking myself the question: How can a wedding business create repeat customers?
The Wedding Business Repeat Customer Debate
Jeff and I had a big argument (correction: debate) about this. While he agreed that a wedding business can sell more with sales of additional products and services after the initial purchase, he insisted that was an upsell that didn’t count as a repeat customer.
Hogwash! A repeat customer is simply a customer who buys from you more than once. As in the bride and groom who book your services in May, then buy something else from you in September.
So it IS possible to have repeat customers for a wedding specialty business!
What Else Can You Sell Your Brides and Grooms?
Many wedding vendors typically have a relationship with the bride and groom for 6-12 months or more. These couples are buying thousands of dollars worth of products and services for the wedding. What else can you sell them?
Certain things are a natural extension of what you do. For example, a wedding officiant can easily sell ceremony accessories or floral arrangements. A DJ can sell photo booth rentals.
Brainstorm the possibilities. I know wedding planners who also offer honeymoon travel packages and venues who offer specialized uplighting and rentals.
You could even extend your relationship with the couple beyond the wedding. Take a look at what The Knot website has done to expand their profitable relationship with the bride using The Nest (for newlywed couples), The Bump (for expecting couples), and more recently, The Blush (fashion for women.)
Ponder these questions:
- What else are your couples buying during the wedding planning?
- What else can you sell them later on?
- Does it make sense to continue your relationship with the couple beyond the wedding?
When you get a new customer, you’ve already done the hard work of earning their trust. If you don’t cultivate repeat customers for your wedding business, you’re leaving money on the table and you have to work much harder, and spend more money, to attract new customers. You owe it to yourself to at least ask these questions.
What do YOU think about repeat customers for the wedding business?