There’s a ton of sales advice floating around out there, telling you how to pitch your services, how to overcome objections, how to “close the deal.” When it comes to wedding services, however, I believe this advice often misses the mark.
Using every trick in the book to convince someone to spend money they don’t have, especially on something as emotionally charged as a wedding, is dangerous. It puts an incredible amount of pressure on yourself as the service provider to earn that money, and when someone has to really scrimp and save in order to afford you, their expectations will inevitably go through the roof. Think of a restaurant that charges hundreds of dollars for dinner for two. If that’s a stretch for you, you’re naturally going to expect a pretty incredible experience for that amount of money, and anything short of amazing will let you down. (On the flip side, someone who spends that kind of dough on dinner every week probably would find a few shortcomings to be just a minor annoyance.)
A client who has to make a bunch of smaller sacrifices in order to pay your fee is quite likely to experience resentment toward you at some point in the process. Whether it’s that they miss the luxury of hitting up Starbucks in the months before the wedding, or when they can’t swing the adorable letterpress menu cards that the blogs are all suggesting they have to have, they’re going to be annoyed, and they’re going to be looking for reasons that you weren’t worth the money. Maybe they’ll be counting the number of asparagus spears on their plate to ensure it perfectly matched what they were served at their tasting. Maybe they’ll be upset that you, as their photographer, didn’t magically melt away their 20 extra pounds in their wedding photos. It will almost undoubtedly be something.
Buyer’s remorse is a very real thing, and it doesn’t always have to do with the quality of the product and service provided. It happens when someone spends more money than they have on something that turns out not to meet their (often inflated) expectations.
This isn’t to say that it’s not worth trying to book people who have the money but aren’t yet sure if they want to spend it with you. In that case, it’s just a matter of trying to (a) make a great connection with these people and (b) demonstrating the value of your services, which in turn makes them want to hire you. And of course every business owner have worked with couples who had to really struggle to afford their “dream vendor,” but still felt it was worth every penny in the end. But in my experience, when it comes to people who truly don’t have the budget for you, my best advice is to steer clear.