Did you know that once upon a time I was a wedding coordinator in Seattle!? Crazy, right?? When I first started out I made up my mind to be fully booked at the BEST wedding venues in my area by my second season. I wasn't going to accept anything less ... and that's just what I did! It wasn't easy ... I had to take A LOT of clients that weren't my ideal target market in that first year ... I had to run around like a crazy person ... but I did it ... and here's how:
I MADE FRIENDS WITH THE VENDORS WHO ALREADY GOT WEDDINGS AT THE VENUES I WANTED TO BE AT
Back in the day it was a thing to reach out to people IN PERSON and talk to them ... go to their office and be around them ... show interest in what they offered ... ask them what you could do for them .. bring them clients so you could grow your working relationship as well as your personal one. And so: I did! I mentioned this before in another blog post I wrote last year, but even if my clients couldn't afford the HIGHER END vendors for their wedding, I would figure out some way for them to hire them anyway. Even if it meant working with the BEST florist in town and only ordering bouquets. I was all about sealing the relationships - being known for working with the best of the best! Once I was in the door and people liked me it opened up a whole new world! Because I was working with them I was on their mind - so when they worked their weddings and events and the best venues in town, I would come up on conversation. My name would be passed around - I would be referred. And where would I be referred to?? People planning their wedding at the venues I wanted to be at.
I WALKED THE WALK - I TALKED THE TALK
If we all want to sit around and pretend that higher end clients and higher end venues don't care about how you dress and how you talk and how you compose yourself ... well, we'd all be liars. I prefer to just stare truth in the face and attack it head on ... they do care and so should you. It's not being snobby, it's having high standards ... and what do you think the BEST venues in town have?? Low standards?? Having high standards for yourself means: dressing well, being put together (hair, makeup, jewelry, etc), speaking in a way that appeals to your target market, not being too assertive and 'in their face' and not being invisible ... it's a fine line of: what does my target market appreciate and BEING THAT. So, Heather you're saying: BE FAKE ... honey, no. But (and this is a large but) if your personality, style, wit, charm, and overall appearance doesn't appeal to your target market in a 'natural being yourself way' then maybe you should focus your attention on an audience that wants what you're selling? Think about it ...
I MADE ALL MY MEETINGS AT RESTAURANTS NEAR OR AT THE VENUES
If I had work to do or a client meeting or paperwork to fill out ... you bet your bootie I was bringing my 'dressed to the nines' ass to the places I wanted to be working. I got to know all the people working there - I smiled a big smile - I was helpful - I was encouraging - I asked if they needed any volunteers or assistance with anything while I was there. I helped random people carry things in from their cars - I made myself known and in the best possible ways. I put it out there! I made it known that I was a great person who was also a wedding planner and not at all in an annoying way ;) There is a huge difference between annoying and genuine.
WHEN A POTENTIAL CLIENT CAME MY WAY WHO WANTED TO HAVE THEIR WEDDING AT A VENUE I WAS EYEING - I MADE IT AN EASY DECISION FOR THEM TO HIRE ME
In other words: when it felt like a little nudge would help them make their decision faster, I made discounts when necessary. Look, I was no fool - I knew I was going after the attracting the clients who were looking for the BEST coordinator in Seattle - I had one year under my belt and I wanted those venues and I wanted them then - so, sometimes I had to lower my package pricing - and I was happy to! The more you work at a specific venue the more experience you'll get - experience only happens with ... well ... experiences AT THE VENUE ... so to get them, I basically was paying for advertising out of my package price. I got the clients who wanted the venues I wanted - I worked my ass off and showed that I was not only qualified to be working those events, but I was someone they WANTED at their venue - and soon after that I didn't have to discount anymore, but the opposite: I raised my prices to reflect what I knew and what I had done. Taking the pride out of my pricing and using pricing to my advantage was huge in my success stories as a wedding planner.
Well, Heather - Luckily we all live in the current time and I will get the attention of those high end venues my way
Absolutely ... this is a different day ... a different time ... however, if I look around, the people who started back when I launched Style Unveiled and had to do things the 'old fashioned way' are the ones who are still AT those venues I'm guessing you want to get your hands on ... they had to put in the REAL WORK and the REAL TIME ... it wasn't on Instagram ... it wasn't with styled shoots ... it was with boots on the ground GETTING TO KNOW the people who have the power to get your name on the table for referrals and events.
Look, higher end weddings and wedding venues aren't for everyone. It takes a very specific personality, lifestyle, attitude, and overall 'person' to attract and keep that type of client. And I'm not trying to be an asshole! I swear! I'm not saying that you need to cover your body in THOUSANDS of dollars worth of clothing and jewelry to be taken seriously .... however I will say that you need to understand the type of person who DOES wear thousands of dollars worth of clothing and jewelry and understand their language and speak it yourself if this is a market you want to be taken seriously in. If you are serious about this ... about becoming a HIGH END wedding pro who delivers HIGH END weddings at HIGH END venues ... then it's going to take you changing pretty much everything you do that's attracting a 'different type' of client to do that.
And let me be clear (just because I know how my audience can sometimes be ... haha) there are LOTS of types of clients ... lots of types of venues ... and lots of types of weddings. The super luxurious high end ones come with baggage that ain't always so pretty! While the budgets may be nice, it's a lot of work ... the reason I wrote this post is because the 'high end luxe' weddings are typically what my clients want ... the ones they ask me how to get ... and so this blog post was born.