Wouldn’t it be great if all your clients were perfect?
Fun to work with.
Too bad that’s not the case. And probably never will be…
But you can do a better job of screening potential clients for “good fits” to make it more likely you’ll work with more ideal clients most of the time.
What makes someone an ideal client for you? I’m guessing it’s the three things I listed above:
Pays higher prices for your services
Taps into your creative style
Easy to get along with
But how do you screen couples who inquire for these three criteria?
3 ways to “qualify” couples
Chances are you’re highly tuned in to the budget. You list “starting at” prices on your website. Or in an email. Or you send them a pricing guide with your packages (bad idea, but that’s for a different post).
Whatever it is you do, you’re trying to learn if their budget is a good match for you, and not waste your time if it’s not.
Then, on the discovery call, you verify they can afford your services by talking about budget toward the end of the conversation. If it looks like it’s a go, now you can spend the time creating a customized proposal and send it out.
The discovery call is also a great place to screen a couple for their aesthetic. Does what they have in mind match what you create for couples? Will they like your style? Will images for the wedding look consistent with other galleries in your portfolio?
And so you discuss the “look,” or “feel,” or “vibe” for their wedding. You might ask for inspirational images. Or access to their Pinterest boards. Or what images of yours stood out the most.
Or you could simply ask them to share their vision and style – but I’ve found most couples aren’t very good at articulating accurately what they want with words.
Whatever it is you do, you’re trying to learn if their style is a good match for you, and not waste your time if it’s not.
But how are you screening for “easy to get along with”? How can you tell if they’re going to be the kind of person you naturally connect with?
Don’t go (only) with your gut
If you’re like most people, you go with your gut. Your instincts.
And that can work well in sales situations. Sometimes. And in limited ways.
Let me explain.
Going with your gut means you sense your way through conversations and correspondence. You rely on your feelings when you read an email response, or pick up on the tone of their voice when they answer a question. Or if they push back on your predesigned packages and pricing. Or ask a lot of questions.
These are the kinds of non-conscious interpretations we make hundreds of times a day with the people we interact with. So it’s not surprising that you do it when a couple inquires about your services.
But what if you tapped into the more logical, rational parts of your mind in addition to going with your gut?
What if you used your instincts – and then searched for even more clues about what kind of client they’d be?
What if you went into every email and every conversation looking for specific indicators to see if they’d be a good fit?
Here’s the thing: You can. And you should.
Because if you do, three things will happen:
You’ll book more clients
You’ll book clients you are a better fit for you
You’ll have an easier time working with all types of clients, not just those who are a naturally good fit.
Book more and better clients
The better you get at recognizing different buyer types, the more you can stretch your natural way of communicating to meet theirs – whatever it is.
This is the difference between the golden rule and the platinum rule.
We’re all familiar with the golden rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated.
And that’s great for five-year-olds who lack cognitive empathy and can’t see things from another person’s perspective.
But sooner or later, we have to treat others the way they want to be treated. If we don’t, we end up hanging out with (or selling services to) people who are just like us. People who appreciate the same things. Who value the same things. And who communicate the same way.
To be clear, I think it’s a great idea to pursue these kinds of people for your business. These are your ideal clients! But like I said at the beginning of this post, it’s unlikely that you’ll book only perfect buyers.
Besides, you don’t have just one client. You have two – or more. Even if you get a dream bride or groom, you have to deal with their fiance too. And maybe their parents (especially as you go up in price because they’re often more involved).
And when you work with more than one person, you run into more than one personality.
In business, as in life, you will get much much much further if you know how to connect and communicate with more than one type of person. Because we’re all wired differently. We all have different ways of approaching the same situation and coming away from it with completely different experiences.
That’s what makes humanity so interesting. And complex.
And as a salesperson for your services, it makes it complicated.
#1 skill to develop for sales
To make it easier to find success booking clients and working with couples (and their families), I’ve built on the communication insights that I received from my own coach, Laura Moriarty, back in 2014.
I’ve identified four different buyer types in the wedding industry. When you know who you’re selling to it’s so much easier to understand the why behind their actions.
More than that, though, I’ve created profiles that predict client behavior based on each persona. When you know what to expect from different people during the buyer’s journey (and client journey) you will always be a step ahead of them.
It’s revolutionized my sales skills. And it’s helped my coaching clients, too, because they’re able to:
Recognize who they’re selling to
Screen out people they know aren’t a good fit
Stretch their own communication styles when necessary to get other decision-makers onboard
Shift the sales process for each buyer type
Book clients who may not be ideal, but are still great clients
If you’re trying to book more clients, learning about buyer types will help you fill your calendar.
If your calendar is full, learning about buyer types will help you filter inquiries for personality fit, in addition to budget and aesthetic.
Ready to see how your business (and life) can improve dramatically?
Listen to the podcast for more information
In this week’s episode of Own Your Business, I’m going to share with you:
4 different buyer types
What motivates each one
What you have to change to book more than only your “ideal” client
What clues to pay attention to if you can afford to be more selective about who you work with