EVENT PLANNERS: LET’S TALK about MONEY
Here are two crucial steps you can start taking immediately:
1. PLACE YOUR FEES ON YOUR WEBSITE
When someone contacts you they are called a “lead”. Once you validate that lead by knowing you are available on that date, and they have the budget to afford your services, then they are called a “prospect”. Now you have two choices, you can waste a lot of time and energy talking to a bunch of leads that lead to nowhere, or you can put a lot of information on your website to do the leg-work for you. This way you only “sell” to prospects. Now you have a better chance of landing the sale. And you have the extra time to go show your value, network, and plan events.
NOW LET’S ADDRESS YOUR FEARS (BECAUSE I KNOW YOU ALL SO WELL!)
1. How about if competitors see my fees and price themselves for less.
Your prices should be determined based on how many hours it takes you to plan an event, your desired hourly rate, and your experience. Your fees should not be determined by your competitors. Let them price themselves for less, you know exactly the value you give, and the money you deserve. You need to stay profitable and grow to make sure you stay in business.
2. Shouldn’t I try to convince them on the phone before I show them my fees
Here is the thing. If you charge $3500 for Full Wedding Planning, and this particular bride has a $5,000 overall budget for her wedding, then no amount of talking or convincing will get her to hire you! So it is better, for both you are your leads to know the fees and then decide whether to move forward. Think of big companies that sell online. Can you imagine having to call Amazon or Disney, and speak to a customer service representative before they give you the price? Wouldn’t that be frustrating. Your clients feel the same. Show them your fees, and your amazing services on your website. Let them decide.
3. How do I package my services and break down my fees?
When showing your services and fees, you want to show a lot of value to validate the fees. Another trick is to break the fees down to avoid sticker shock. So instead of saying “Full Wedding Planning $3500”, you can say “Full Wedding Planning Retainer of $1750 and Balance of $1750” Sounds better right?
2. ALWAYS ASK CLIENTS FOR THEIR BUDGET
Another way of protecting your time, is asking client’s for their budget on the first call. Trust me on this one. I have lost hundreds, that’s right, hundreds of hours designing mood boards and custom proposals, only to find out I was designing for an event that was way out of my lead’s budget.
You have to get a range of what they are looking to spend. And tell them that! Tell them that you need to know a range because that will guide you to what vendors can fit their budget. Tell them that your goal is to give them the absolute best event within their budget, but you have to know that maximum amount to do so.
AND NOW FOR THE DOUBTS & FEARS…
1. What if they don’t know their budget because they don’t know what weddings cost?
They might not know how much weddings cost, but they know how much they ARE NOT willing to spend. Everyone has a maximum, you just have to lead them there. Ask them would you spend $50K, $25K, $15K and on and on. Trust me, there will be a number they are comfortable with. And pro tip, their actual budget will end up being LESS than the number they are comfortable with on the phone. That first number is their desired budget, but when reality checks in, they will call or email with their actual budget.
2. What if they think I am basing my fees on their budget?
They for sure think this. This is why most leads do not want to divulge their budget. They think if they have a high number, you will charge more. Your job is to ease them. Let them know your fees are set and they can easily find them on your website (refer to tip #1). Tell them you are here to help them get the best event possible within their budget. It will delight them to know that you are on their side. Let them know that part of your job is to defend the money that they are putting towards this important event in their lives.
Talking about money should feel good and fair. And the way for it to feel that way is transparency and communication. No one is going to think ill of you for being direct. Especially with money, people trust a person that is upfront about fees and intentions. So go ahead, post your fees this week, and practice those sales calls.
Think to yourself, the more I talk about money, the more comfortable it will feel coming my way.