When you first meet with a client, how do you learn everything you need to know to create an exceptional, personalized event, and make you look like the guru you know you are?
The most important aspect of a successful client meeting is the ability to question in a way that invites your clients to share everything you need to know in order to make their event a success. This level of questioning does not come naturally to every event pro, so here are some helpful thoughts on effective questioning and getting the most out of client meetings:
Getting to Know You
Begin with questions that help you get to know your clients and get a sense of what they are looking for overall. Get a sense of their personalities and delve into their occupations and hobbies to determine what they will expect during planning.
You can develop a list of general questions to help you ask the right questions, but learn to deliver them naturally; don’t just read them off of a checklist.
Take notes during your initial meetings, writing key words and phrases that you’ll need later, and then ask more questions depending on their answers.
Your first questions will naturally be general in nature--how many guests are you expecting, what kind of venue do you have in mind, or what are your first thoughts about the menu?
When you hear something interesting that you think might flesh out a concept, ask more open-ended questions. Do not rush. Take your time so you get the best chance of getting to know your clients.
You can explore your client’s social media presence to find out more about their taste. Scan their Pinterest pages for trends to which they are drawn. We also use Aisle Planner’s Design Studio to help develop a concept for our clients.
Some couples are easier to read than others. If you don’t initially seem to be connecting, see what you can learn about their lives. How busy are they? How involved? What’s holding them up from answering the questions? It could be anything from lack of interest to lack of experience planning a big event. Try to tease out their motivations and find a different path to connection.
Remember that listening is an art form. Make your meetings valuable for both you and your client. Learn how to ask questions that lead to the answers you want and need. By doing so, you will truly get the most out of your client meetings.
Emily Sullivan is the owner of Emily Sullivan Events, a full-service wedding planning company based in New Orleans and serving couples everywhere.