Clients hire you because they feel a connection with you. They trust you. And they ultimately have confidence that you will manage and execute their wedding plans exactly how they’re envisioning it. If you want to lead successful client meetings in preparation for their wedding day, it’s imperative that we plan, be organized and come prepared. It’s your role as their Wedding Planner and Coordinator to guide them through the steps of the planning process and gather the information needed, while also making them feel loved on and most importantly, heard.
Here are some ways you can steer your client meetings in a positive and exciting direction:
A couple days in advance, begin by working through client details you need to review with them. Is this your first meeting after they booked with you? Make a list of all essential line items you must cover – anything from vendor updates and timeline unknowns, to tablescape décor details and formal exit logistics. Make note of the information you already know as well as outlining what you need to know.
02. Have a plan
Come up with a game plan of how you can gather all the details you need and do so seamlessly without overwhelming the client. There will always be decisions that the client will still need to make, and that is perfectly okay. The goal is not to overwhelm them, but rather guide them through the process and making notes of what all still needs to be accomplished along the way.
03. Meet in a comfortable setting
Offer to meet clients in a comfortable atmosphere such as a local coffee shop, restaurant or even your studio. And should you need to schedule a call because of a client’s location, try offering to “meet” over a platform such as Google Hangouts, Zoom or Skype. Engaging face-to-face builds trust and understanding.
04. Keep the tone purposeful but relaxed
Let’s be real. Not every bride has dreamt of her wedding day since she was a little girl. And not every detail is as exciting to review as others (hello, budget!) So it’s our job to be mindful of that by keeping the meeting purposeful, but relaxed and fun for all those involved.
05. Stay on track
Remember that time is precious. Both theirs and yours. Everyone has a lot to do and a short attention span. While wedding planning meetings can’t always be brief, they can however be streamlined and focused. Asking questions that are direct and to the point helps the client focus on their needs and wants rather than just agreeing with your suggestions. If the client starts to take the meeting in another direction or jumps ahead of the conversation a bit, politely acknowledge their points and circle back to the task at hand.
06. Make everyone feel heard
Does the bride want to forgo a traditional wedding cake, but mom can’t fathom not having one? Listen to everyone’s ideas and respond by kindly acknowledging both of them before forming your own opinions. As a Wedding Planner and Coordinator, we can step in and provide logical reasons why maybe adding a dessert station for instance, could still achieve the end goal of everyone receiving something sweet for dessert! You want each party involved to feel important and heard instead of immediately siding with one or shooting down ideas you may personally not love.
07. Take thorough notes
This one’s a given, but take notes. And I mean in-depth, detailed notes. I approach client meetings with a “I’d rather have too much information, than not enough” attitude. If a bride is envisioning a specific setup for her escort card table for instance, my goal is to ensure I understand exactly how she’s envisioning it from the floral, escort card and signage placements, down to votives, linens and even the exact shape and size of the table.
08. Wrap up
Recap the meeting’s accomplishments and discuss next steps. Reiterate what you still need from the client, and what they can expect next. Will you be drafting their initial timeline and sending it to them that same week? Do you need them to begin thinking about their ceremony procession and who will be escorting who down the aisle? Verbally communicate what they can expect from you and when, and what tasks you need them to accomplish and when.
09. Send a meeting recap
Send a follow up within 24-48 hours at the very latest. Make sure it is clear what you need from them and when. At the same time, reiterate what you are working on and when they can expect to hear back from you. And if you need to schedule your next meeting, send an invite for it immediately. It allows everyone involved to plan accordingly and prevents you from forgetting to do so a few weeks down the road.
At the end of the day, it’s all about anticipation. If you can think through the purpose and the flow of your client meetings in advance, and map out the client’s experience, you are sure to have a meeting that is no less than a success!
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