The best wedding pros make time in the sales process to discover the needs of prospective clients. The discussion you have about their wedding needs should be easy, conversational, and smooth. It’s too important to skip over. After all, how do you sell something to someone if you don’t know what they want?
However, not every discovery conversation leads to a booking. Here are seven things you could be doing that derail your discovery call:
Start Too Big
You: “What are your hopes and dreams for the wedding?”
Couple: “We want it to be big, glamorous, the most amazing wedding ever!” (Or something generic like that)
Why this question doesn’t work: Most people don’t know what they want, especially early on in the process. They know what they don’t want and they know what they’ve seen before that they like. Most likely the couple you’re meeting with have never planned out a wedding and they’re a little lost. Instead, switch it up by asking about their favorite experiences at other people’s weddings.
Alternative: “What’s a favorite memory from a wedding you’ve attended?”
Get Too Personal
“Tell me how you two met!”
It’s true, most people love talking about themselves. But when it comes down to it, this question will almost always get you nowhere in learning about their needs for your particular service. Sure, you could connect with their love story, or maybe it will play a big part in the overall theme of their day, but it’s a little too fast out of the gates. While some people are open about their personal lives, just as many aren’t – and you might provoke a prospect to put up defense mechanisms.
Alternative: “What kind of work do you do and what do you enjoy most about it?”
Focus on Closed Questions
“Where are you getting married?”
Questions with one word or short answers aren’t going to get a conversation going. You want to use open-ended questions to get the prospective client talking about herself, what’s important to her, what obstacles she’s running into, and other things. You’ll have much better luck getting the kind of good info you need the less you talk and the more she opens up. So get out of your own way and ask better questions.
Alternative: “What drew you to the venue where you’re getting married?”
Ask Questions with Answers They May Not Yet Know
“How much coverage do you need for your wedding day?”
When you ask a prospect a question about what their needs are, you’re unlikely to get an answer you can really use. Keep in mind that these couples aren’t experts and no one likes to feel like they don’t know something. That’s what can happen when you ask a question like this. They’re likely to either make up something that isn’t really true so they don’t sound like they don’t know, or get defensive about not knowing. Either way, it pushes them into a corner and ultimately isn’t helpful.
Alternative: “What’s been the biggest factor in making decisions with other vendors?”
Be Too General about the Wedding
“What’s most important for you about your wedding?”
The biggest challenge most pros face is focusing too much on the couple and the wedding itself, rather than the services they’re trying to sell. It’s okay to ask a question or two about the wedding, but don’t get too obsessed about what they want to do for things outside of your service area. Focus on the kind of help the client needs with their wedding and what you can do to fill that need.
Alternative: “What’s most important for you in the vendor who provides _________ for your wedding?”
Making Your First Meeting Feel Like an Interrogation
“I’ve got 20 questions for us to go through. Where would you like to start?”
One of the goals for the discovery process is to build trust. A fast way to stop that from happening is to put them on the defensive. If a prospective client feels like you’re extracting information from them rather than having a conversation, they’re likely to get their hackles up and tune you out. Make the back and forth organic by not going in with a set sequence or list of questions.
Alternative: “I’d love to learn more about where you’re at with everything and just go from there.”
Forget to Empathize
You want to build trust during the discovery process for two primary reasons. First, you’ll need it when the prospect really considers the risk in choosing your services at the end of the buyer’s journey. The second reason is that without a foundation of trust they won’t let you “in” to uncover their real needs. Demonstrate empathy early and often if you want to get through any walls they’ve put up to know what’s really driving the decision.
Alternative: “That sounds really hard. Tell me more…”
When you nail the discovery meeting with a potential client, you’ll make huge strides for establishing trust and securing top of mind status for later on in the buyer’s journey. Put the time in and do it well, and as with most things in life, practice makes perfect.