I know, I know … all wedding venues are different. And you’re right, they are! But, they are also all the same too. And here is how:
- The venue is likely to be the biggest part of a couples budgetary spend. On average most couples spend roughly half of their whole budget on food, beverage and venue. That means the decision can be weighted with budget concerns as well as ensuring it ticks all their other boxes too! Don’t try and push them, guide them instead – let them make a decision comfortably and they will be much happier during the planning process.
- Selling the dream; but keeping the reality. Every couple wants their dream day, but don’t sell them something they can’t have at your venue. Be realistic, upfront and factual with some key information. If you have restrictions, make sure they know about it!
- Your USP isn’t necessarily what they want. You might love the dripping chandeliers of the grand ballroom or the gorgeous open beams of the barn, but unless you know that this is what the couple want you might be selling it wrong. Remember to find out what the most important thing to them about the day is – that way you can tailor your pitch. If they love photos, for example, and you have fabulous grounds – spend your time trekking the gardens and showing them the best spots. Let them fall in love with the venue.
- Your Wedding Co-ordinator/Manager is key. Every couple needs to feel safe, reassured and ready to make a decision. Unless your wedding co-ordinator is strong, confident and able to assure them that they are in safe hands, they may not buy at all. Great training and regular reviews of their showround techniques are key to ensure that they remain a strong salesperson and key determiner for conversion. If your wedding co-ordinator isn’t up to scratch, it’s time to retrain or remove unfortunately.
- Reviews are your friend (and, occasionally, your enemy). A great review can go a long way to ensuring continued regular enquiries, but a bad review can seriously dent your conversion rate. Couples will do their research and they do bring their knowledge of negative reviews to the table as well. This can impact negotiations and length of sales process. It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, the fewer the negative reviews, the better!
- The showround technique needs to be on point! Don’t wander around the property willy-nilly, or take them on the roaming tour, without first taking the time to get to know the couple! Each couple have their own set of priorities, don’t assume you know what they are – take your time to understand your couple so you can tailor your pitch and your showround to meet their needs. Also, you simply need to know the key information – date, ceremony style, numbers etc. You need to make sure you cover all bases in your pitch – being thorough in the initial meeting goes a long way to ensuring that your sales process is shorter.
- Collateral is imperative. Couples often like something tangible to take away but that doesn’t mean you have to give them a brochure. Great digital resources, videos, print or a fantastic tablet presentation which your co-ordinator can take around with them during a showround are all great ways to keep your couples engaged with the venue and with the sales process. Do me a favour? Make sure it’s accurate, including your T’s and C’s!
- Following up within the appropriate time: Whatever you do, make sure you follow up! Don’t let a lead go cold simply because you didn’t get around to it. Sure, the keen ones will chase you but some (perhaps a little more stubborn) couples will wait for you, if you don’t follow up within the appropriate timeframe, you will lose them. Simple as that! Some good rules of thumb are:
– Enquiry = immediate response (ideally within 1 hour, preferably within 5 minutes).
– Showround = follow up that day or next day (but make sure you confirm when they should expect the full quote in your showround first)
– Chasing = Chases should be no more than 1 week between them unless they give you a reason otherwise (ie. On holiday). Remember that lots of couples are working full time and planning their weddings, be specific about your chase opportunities. You can always ask them when the best time to contact them is.
- They might need you, but you need them too: On average, in a large county, there could be upwards of 3000 weddings taking place in any one year. That might look like great odds to you; but remember that not all of these will be your target market. When you have a client in front you, who is keen, interested and ready to buy – your competitors may also fit their specifications too. You need to maximise the opportunities in front of you. Make sure that you do.
Yes, your venue is different, but your venue is also the same as another, in that you still have to meet and exceed the expectations of couples and they are motivated to buy with external factors that your team needs to be aware of, focused on and trained in.
Featured images by the wonderful Samie Lee Photography