Between the holiday season, New Year’s, and Valentine’s Day, it should come as no surprise that the beginning of the year is when newly engaged couples are starting to think about their wedding plans. As the initial thrill of saying “yes!” wears off, couples begin scouring Pinterest for inspiration and researching vendors who can help them bring their vision to life.
For wedding professionals, this means it’s time to hustle. You might have your marketing strategies in place already, but you need to also be mindful of your communication habits when responding to inquiries and navigating the sales process. Planning a wedding can feel overwhelming for couples and they need to know that they’re hiring people who will make life easier for them. Of course, any trouble in communicating with you can send a red flag to a potential client, prompting them to look elsewhere.
If it’s high time for a refresher, rest assured you’re not alone. The last year has given us plenty of downtime as we wait for the event industry to reopen, so there may be some cobwebs that need to be cleaned up before you’re back in the groove.
This year, technology will serve a greater role than ever when it comes to communicating with prospective and booked clients. The pandemic drove people online and, as a society, we’ve adapted to a mostly-virtual way of life. While this isn’t permanent, it has still influenced a shift in consumer habits as today’s buyers seek convenience and ease of accessibility. This notion is compounded by the fact that the pandemic is not yet over, so couples may be planning today for an event in 2022 or later.
Here’s what you need to know about client communication in 2021 and how technology will support you throughout engagement season and beyond.
From happy hours to birthday parties, it felt like 2020 was the year of Zoom. This experience isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, as social distancing and risk reduction remains a priority. You may have already started conducting sales calls and client meetings through Zoom, Skype, or another video conferencing program, so expect to keep that up for the foreseeable future. To ease potential clients’ concerns, consider updating your website to make it clear that all consultations and subsequent meetings can be held safely through virtual channels.
With meetings being pushed online, you don’t get the chance to provide your clients with all of the materials that you typically would in a face-to-face setting. Set yourself up on a cloud storage program, like Dropbox or Google Drive, and get yourself situated with all of the necessary documentation you need. For example, if you have a welcome kit you typically hand out in-person, scan it into a “Welcome” folder to share once the contract is signed. You may also create shareable folders for each client so you can collaborate seamlessly from a distance.
Virtual collaboration is the name of the game in 2021, so it’s essential for every industry professional to have a platform in place to support teamwork between your clients, your staff, and other creative partners involved. There are many options available on the market—including top choices like Basecamp, Teamwork, 17hats, Honeybook, and Asana—so explore your options before peak season picks up so you can have your systems in place.
As business owners, we tend to think about social media solely as a marketing tool. However, with planning remaining mostly virtual, social media can serve as a great way to stay in touch with interested leads and booked clients. Throughout the sales process, you might forward inspirational posts to a prospect to show you’re dialed into their vision. Once booked, you may consider setting up a shared Pinterest board to collaborate from afar. Perhaps you even create a private Facebook group to facilitate communication with the clients, their family members, and the rest of the event team. Get creative in how you use your social media channels!
These habits are here to stay; even after the pandemic is behind us, we anticipate that virtual solutions will continue to be preferred by clients living in an increasingly busy world. Fortunately, we’re all equipped with the smartphones, tablets, and computers that facilitate easy, seamless communication, no matter where you are in the world.