Learning From Your Selling Mistakes

WeddingIQ Blog - Learning From Your Selling Mistakes

There's not a single wedding business owner in the marketplace who closes 100% of their sales meeting. That's just a fact. Sure, there are things you can do to increase the chances a client will want to sign on the dotted line, but you're always going to lose a few.

And that's okay. It gives you an opportunity to reflect on your strategies and make improvements for an even better business, all because of the dropped sales.

See, making mistakes when it comes to sales and service (or anything in business or life, I guess) can bring to your attention shortcomings you may never have noticed otherwise. It forces you to consider your approach, and it enables you to take control of your business in a more aware, intentional way.

When someone opts not to hire us, it can be for any number of reasons, each of which can give us valuable clues as to which area of our business (and/or ourselves) we may been to focus on going forward.

Here are some possible reasons a client may choose not to use your company for their wedding, and some questions you may want to ask yourself as you decide what to do next.

"Your Price Was Too High"

This is the most common objection clients give, but it isn't always the true reason they're not booking - far from it. Just as often, they felt some sort of personality disconnect or you let them down from a professional service standpoint (more on both of these in a moment) or they just didn't see the value in what you offer. In other words, your pricing wasn't too high for their budget, but rather, it didn't make sense given what was included.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Does my pricing actually reflect a good value for the products/services that are included, and for the level of experience and service I provide?
  • How does my pricing compare with similar companies in my local market? If it isn't similar, am I able to justify the reason why?
  • Are there other things I may have said or done in the sales consultation that offended or turned off the client?

"I Didn't Feel We Clicked"

No matter how you look at it, all of us as wedding professionals are offering a luxury - and truly non-essential - service or product, and we're doing so in a uniquely emotion-based, high-stakes transaction. Therefore, more so than in most other industries, a personal connection is incredibly important. You should want to work only with clients who genuinely want to work with you; however, it's very helpful to be aware of how you may have contributed to a client preferring to walk away. (Fair warning: this may require considering some potentially embarrassing things about yourself, but it's all in the interest of improving your business and your sales).

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Was I listening to the client more than I spoke in our sales meeting?
  • Did I treat the client with respect for their ideas and their vision for their wedding?
  • Did the client and I seem to share a similar sense of humor, and did the conversation seem to flow naturally?
  • Was my overall service attentive, thorough and helpful?
  • Is there anything about my physical presentation (hygiene, breath, clothing) or my selected meeting environment (cluttered, noisy, hard to find) that may have been off-putting?
  • Was I truly the best person to carry out what the client wanted for their wedding?

"I Wasn't Sure You Wanted My Business"

When a client tells you this, it's a clear sign that something went very wrong on your end, and you need to fix it, stat. Perhaps you weren't exactly excited to work with this client, in which case there was likely a lack of pre-qualification on your part. Or perhaps you didn't put much effort or focus into the meeting itself, leading the client to believe you weren't that into them.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Did I respond to the client's emails or voice mails in a timely manner?
  • Was I on time and fully prepared for the meeting, with everything I needed to answer all of their questions?
  • Did I truly understand the client's wishes, or is it possibly I came across as skeptical or even condescending?
  • Did I make clear to the client that I wanted to work with them, without trying too hard?
  • Did I take the time to send the client a thank you email or note after the meeting, and did I proactively reach out to them during their decision-making process to answer any questions they may have had?
  • At any point, did I give the client excuses about my busy schedule, my other clients' demands, or any other external factor as reasons for not addressing their questions or making time for them?

"A Friend of the Family Offered to Do the Wedding"

Those of us who've been around a while have all lost jobs to a cousin, an old college buddy, or a neighbor's uncle's brother-in-law's former teammate. It's amazing how many clients seem to suddenly have a wedding professional in their network just as they're deciding not to hire us! Whether the story is true or not (like blaming your price, or like when a client claims their spouse-to-be or parent insisted on going in a different direction, this is an "easy letdown"), there's not much you can do, except take the opportunity to learn.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Do my marketing collaterals (especially my website) and my sales presentation materials convey the full value of what I do as a professional?
  • Am I completely aware of what problems I solve - or prevent - for the couples who hire me, and am I conveying this in my consultations?
  • Is there another reason, such as one of those listed earlier in this post, that may be why the couple really didn't hire you?

I'll conclude this post with one more piece of advice. No matter what reason a client gives for not booking you, please make sure of this:

Don't lecture them.
Don't try to "educate" them.
Don't try to scare them with warnings about having hired someone else.
Don't plead with them to change their minds.

If you really want to, and you really think the client will be receptive, you can try asking for feedback on why the client didn't hire you. Other than that, though, don't waste another minute of your time or theirs. Wish them well and move on. Rather than obsessing over what went wrong, cultivating bitterness, or pestering a person who's clearly not interested, you'll be much better served by some valuable introspection, and making meaningful changes to your business that will help you attract and book more of the right clients going forward.

This post concludes our February content theme of Sales - hope you've found it useful! We'll be back on Wednesday with a new (and very important) theme for March: all things legal, financial, and operational! Not always the most fun topics for creative people like wedding pros, but so necessarily for a successful business!


Jennifer Reitmeyer

Jennifer Reitmeyer is the founder of WeddingIQ and the owner of MyDeejay, Firebrand Messaging, and Authentic Boss. She is also a WeddingWire Education Expert, a small business coach and a professional speaker on the event industry circuit.