Tips on how to Structure Consultations
“I have never worked a day in my life without selling. If I believe in something, I sell it, and I sell it hard.” –Estée Lauder
Benjamin Franklin's quote 'Failing to prepare is preparing to fail' hits the nail on the head! If you have not made adequate preparations, you are unlikely to succeed. This quote can be applied to consultations, and most practices within the industry. Consultations for weddings, funerals and other occasions allow your client to decide who they want to hire to create their florals.
It is vital that you are fully prepared to receive your client to avoid leaving a lasting bad impression and ultimately not booking the job. In order to do this, you will want to:
- A designated area for the consultation in-person or virtually. Make sure the space is away from distractions or unwanted noise, light (natural preferred), clean and tidy.
- Be prepared to take notes throughout the consultation on your clients required for the event. Alternatively you can record the conversation if you receive consent.
- Prepare a portfolio to share with your client of your previous work. This could be on your website or a physical copy.
- A standard list of questions ask your client about the event
- A contract
Relevant questions to include:
- Where and when is your wedding?
- What is your overall vision?
- What is your colour scheme?
- How many guests will attend the wedding?
- Do you have wedding inspiration images to share?
- How many in your (wedding) party?
- Wedding flower delivery locations?
Planning for any event can be extremely stressful and overwhelming. It is important to listen to your client carefully and notice any quirks or personality traits of your client - for example, are they laid back, are they tense or are they organised? This will allow you to gauge your approach when you start giving your recommendations for the event.
In the first meeting, it is important that you primarily listen to the client and establish their vision for the event. Even if the wants and budget don't necessarily match at this point. Be sure to take notes about the communication with your client during this process.
It is important to connect with your client to help you understand their vision for their event. The client is looking to you to provide a professional service, for your floristry skill and expertise. The objective is not to oversell your services, but to be fully transparent. Make sure to commit to what you deliver and if there are any questions on flowers, seasonality, work commitments or pricing, to make sure you answer as professionally and quickly as you can.
When first starting out, it is good to keep in mind that you will not be able to accommodate every client. The purpose, of course, is to book events, however it is not to extend yourself into territory where you know it just won't be possible based on your skill level, knowledge, time of year or connection you have with the client.
Leave a lasting impression with a personalised gift for your client. The purpose of the gift is for you business to resonate with your client and they love the extra touch, nothing too expensive! For example, a card on the event (or wedding) day, a small floral arrangement or branded gift.
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