On Menu Cards, Pianists and Buckets of Animal Feed: The Art of Upselling

WeddingIQ Blog - On Menu Cards Pianists and Buckets of Animal Feed the Art of Upselling

(Editor's note: Today's post was provided by the invaluably wise Meghan Ely of OFD Consulting. Read more about Meghan at the end of the post!)

The technique of upselling quietly entered my event career during my very first grown-up job booking children’s birthday parties.

I oversaw the rental of a space at a local children’s farm and it wasn’t long before I detected a pattern with the parents. Each and every one of them never turned down an idea that would ultimately make their lives easier.

Which brings me to the animal feed.

We encouraged parents to bring quarters for the animal feed machine, a suggestion that was always met with an audible sigh, heavy under the weight of an endless to do list.  One day, I decided to make a bold move and began offering a bucket of animal feed to each group for $10. And everyone said yes. Before long, we had increased revenue to the farm from our events department by over 700%.

I then negotiated a bulk price for the park’s postcards with the gift shop and sold over 1,000 as “easy save-the-dates” to my brides within a week.  After that, I felt unstoppable.

I later moved to a five-star property where the cycle began again- I paid careful attention to the needs of our clients, and began creating a list of potential offerings to boost our bottom line. Before long, I was adding menus, upgraded table numbers and a pianist at cocktail hour to final invoices. And my clients couldn’t have been happier.

As a wedding professional, you are going to eventually come to a crossroads where you’re ready to grow but you aren’t sure how. There are, after all, only 24 hours in a day and adding full-time staff isn’t always a feasible option.

But with upselling, you can work “smarter, not harder,” leveraging the fact that you already have a trusting relationship with your couples. Your hard earned credibility is suddenly an asset that can be monetized in a way that makes your clients feel as though their needs are continuing to be met.

Not sure where to start? Here are just a few ideas to jumpstart your upselling techniques:

Embrace private label services. One of the most organic moves is to offer services that don’t deviate far from your expertise. Find yourself surrounded by couples lamenting the process of RSVP tracking? Connect with a company that allows you to take on that task under your own brand.  If you’re a planner or venue without on site accommodations, then hotel room blocking services would be a natural next step.

And remember, it works both ways. If your focus is wedding invitations and stationery, consider connecting with area hotels and banquet spaces to create a custom line of ready-to-order menu cards, place cards and table numbers.   

Buy in bulk. There are services you want to leave to the professionals - whether it is event rentals, photography or entertainment. These areas require a great deal of training along with an ample investment in equipment. At the same time, there may be an opportunity for you to purchase items in bulk and then sell them to your clients as an additional revenue stream. This is particularly successful among wedding planners, stylists and florists who may oversee the wedding design and can easily add LED lights, candles or silk ribbon to finish the look.

Embrace affiliate marketing.Want to increase your passive income without having to concern yourself with the use of additional internal resources? Then affiliate marketing may just be for you. This modern approach allows you to partner with reputable brands through your web site.  Services vary but you essentially represent a product and receive a commission based on your sales. The Amazon Associates program is a popular example, allowing you to offer a curated selection of wedding products through your site.

Make no mistake- there is a fine line between upselling and nickel-and-diming, so it is imperative to differentiate. The beauty of upselling is that you’re offering products and services that the client may already need. If you’re in the position to offer it, why not be the one to profit?

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding PR firm OFD Consulting. She is the exclusive Wedding PR Education Expert for WeddingWire and is a highly sought after speaker in the wedding industry. To learn how OFD Consulting can assist you with your wedding marketing and wedding PR, please contact us today.


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