Being a wedding and event planner can be hard. If you don’t have thick skin to start with, you have to develop it to survive in this industry. These done-for-you responses will help you handle challenging situations that are common for wedding and event planners. Feel free to cut and paste these done-for-you responses whenever you need them. They are free for you to use anytime!
Situation: A potential client wants to work with you but can’t afford the price quoted. They are asking if you can lower your price or offer a discount.
Done-for-you response 1: “I would really love to work with you. Let’s look at what services I have included and see if we can remove a service to lower the cost for planning.”
Done-for-you response 2: “This is the minimum rate that I can offer and still be confident that I can do my best work to plan and coordinate your event. Based on my x number of years of experience, my xyz awards and my strong references, I hope you will still choose to work with me. I would love the opportunity to work together to plan a wonderful/fabulous/amazing event.”
Note: You ARE worth what you are charging. Instead of discounting, try removing a service or two and reduce your price based on the fact that you are working less by not providing all the services initially included. If you don’t want to remove any services or if you quoted your minimum rate, don’t be afraid to stand up for your experience and still ask for the sale as shown in done-for-you response 2.
Situation: A client hired you for just wedding day coordination but is asking you to do more than what she contracted for. Perhaps she is asking you to schedule a floral appointment and project a budget; both of which are not included in your wedding day coordination package.
Done-for-you response: ” I would love to do those tasks for you however, they are outside of what is included in our contract. May I send a contract addendum so that we can add these services?”
Note: If you aren’t respectful of your time, your clients won’t be either. Once you start doing work for free that they didn’t pay for, a client will continue to take advantage of your time. Being taken advantage of is hard on our self esteem and we tend to start resenting clients who take advantage of us. That is a recipe for burn out down the road. Respect your time and your clients will too.
Situation: Magazines, blogs and online directories are filling up your inbox and voicemail with requests to advertise with their publication.
Done-for-you response: “I would like time to evaluate this option. Please email your current rates and advertising options, your visitor and unique visitor stats (for an online blog or website) or please send me your distribution numbers, distribution locations and the last two issues (for a magazine). I’d also like to see the statistics for returning advertisers versus new advertisers for the past year for my city and category. Once I evaluate that information, I will be in touch with my decision. Thank you for considering my business to advertise.”
Note: This response buys you time to evaluate whether you have room in your marketing budget to do additional advertising. It also gives you real numbers to look at for the amount of traffic or locations for distribution for that particular advertising option. Don’t be afraid to say no if it doesn’t fit your target market or if the cost is beyond what you can afford without going into debt. Or, if it is a great opportunity for your business and you have the marketing dollars, go for it. You will feel confidant that you did your research and consulted your budget before making a decision. If you need more advice on evaluating advertising options, Saundra Hadley wrote two fantastic in-depth posts on Think Splendid about evaluating your advertising options: part one and part two.
Situation: Other wedding professionals are calling and emailing because they want to meet you. You would love to meet but are overwhelmed with client work this month. Established event planners can get upwards to 10-20 inquiries PER WEEK from photographers and other event professionals who want to meet and hopefully become one of their recommended vendors.
Done-for-you response: “Thank you for your email and interest in meeting with me. I am currently busy with client work this month and am unable to meet. Please email your pricing, online portfolio and any other relevant information so that I can review it on my own time. When I have time in my schedule again, I will be in touch. I look forward to learning more about you and your business and evaluating whether it would be a good fit for our clients.”
Note: I personally love meeting with other entrepreneurs and hearing the story about how they got started and what they offer. However, if I am going to actually get work done for my clients and for my businesses, I need to limit the number of meetings I take. By reviewing an event professional’s website, pricing and marketing, I get an initial feel for whether they would be a good match for my planning clients. If they are, I will be in touch in the future to schedule an in-person meeting or I will offer to meet up at a networking event I am attending in the near future. The key to this done-for-you response is that you still show respect for their business while respecting your own time. If you are a reputable and experienced planner, it may have taken a lot of courage for that photographer or florist to reach out to you in the first place.
Situation: You have been approached to help plan a project with other event professionals. You don’t think the project is the best fit for your brand or you just don’t have time to add another project to your to-do list. Or you need more time to think about whether you want to be involved.
Done-for-you response 1: “Thank you so much for thinking of me. I need to check my schedule and confirm that I can accomplish my client work before I commit. I will get back to you by xyz date.”
Done-for-you response 2: “I’ve recently made a decision to limit the commitments I make so I’m not able to be part of this project. Thank you for thinking of me and please keep me in mind for future projects. I will be in touch if anything changes. I wish you all the best with your project (organization, goals, event, etc.)”
Note: The first done-for-you response puts space between the request and your answer. Before quickly responding, consider the consequences of your response. This response also prepares the requester early on for the possibility that you may not be involved so they can consider other options. The second done-for-you response honors your personal time and schedule. It doesn’t over-explain your thoughts but it is a firm response that shows you aren’t open to discussion. Both responses are gracious AND send a clear message that supports what you need.
Situation: You just met with a potential client and did not get the warm fuzzies from your meeting. There were several red flags raised in your mind during the meeting and you know this client isn’t a good fit for you.
Done-for-you response: “I really enjoyed meeting with you today. After some thought, I realized I am not the best fit for you. I would love to recommend xyz planning company for your event. Here is their contact information (list their website and phone number). They will be a much better fit for what you want to accomplish. I wish you the best of luck with your event!”
Note: If you have a bad gut feeling just from an initial consultation or phone call, they probably aren’t the right fit for you. If the potential client shows any disrespect or talks down to you initially, run, don’t walk away. No matter how big their budget or how great the event will be, it just isn’t worth it. If you don’t want to refer another business, simply leave that part out of your response.
Situation: During a planning meeting, a client describes the style, location and type of event they would like. The event sounds like a $100k event but your client only has a $30k budget.
Done-for-you response: “I love everything you have described. As an experienced planner, I can see that your vision for the event could cost more than what you have budgeted. May I project a realistic budget that we evaluate together before we move forward with planning?”
Note: You CAN and SHOULD set this expectation with your client from the beginning. Budget is a sensitive topic. Don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to make a $100k event happen on a $30k budget. Both you and your client will be disappointed and frustrated during the planning process. Be honest then project a realistic budget for what they want. Then your client can decide if they want to increase their budget or change their vision.
Situation: A potential client has said she wants to hire you. You haven’t received the contract or deposit yet but the client is asking you to start working on her event. Or, your client has said the contract is in the mail and would like to start planning today.
Done-for-you response: “I can’t wait to get started. As soon as I receive your contract and deposit, I will be in touch to start our work together.”
Note: Do NOT do any work for a client without the contract and deposit in hand. You need to be covered by the legal terms of your wedding planner contract and have a financial commitment from your client before doing work for them. At some point, there will be a client who presses you to start work before you receive it. Stand up for yourself and be firm.
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