THE ONE MISTAKE YOU DON’T WANT TO MAKE
April 28, 2011
Most of the wedding designers, wedding planners, wedding photographers, and other wedding vendors I meet and work with are very talented. And talent, well, that’s the hard part. So it has always struck me that vendors who have the hard part down (the skills!) are sometimes so bad at the easy part.
So what is the easy part?
You spend many months working on an event: you keep long hours, you take every late night phone call, you deal with every logistical nightmare regarding the wedding flowers, wedding cake, first dance song, etc… By the time you reach the night of the wedding (or other event) and the guests begin to arrive, you’re spent. You’re completely, 100% exhausted, and you think you never want to see any of these people ever again — not that they aren’t perfectly lovely but in that moment and the first few days afterward, you probably don’t want to see much of anyone.
But here’s the thing, no matter how amazing of a job you did, it’s not over when the guests go home. It’s not even over when the stage has been broken down and the last of the chairs and tables have been returned. It’s not over until you follow-up with your team AND your clients — separately, of course.
After every single event you do, you need to have a meeting with your team to discuss what went well and why it went well. Of course that also means you should discuss what didn’t go well and why it went awry. From the client’s prospective, the wedding or event should feel flawless. However, from YOUR prospective and that of your team, there is NO such thing as a flawless event. Something always goes wrong and something can always be done better. Always.
Following up with your client is equally important. You might think that because you did a good job a client will automatically hire you the next time he or she needs a florist or a caterer or a DJ or event planner. But competition is fierce, and there are many vendors who are very good at what they do. You have to make it personal. Call the clients. Ask how they felt the event went. Make sure they are happy. Ask if they have any questions or concerns. Perhaps there’s something that wasn’t taken care of or didn’t happen. Maybe you can help right the situation. Tell them what a pleasure it was to work with them.
But you’re still not done. Sorry! After you’ve met with your team and reached out to the clients, call the other vendors you worked closely throughout the planning process. Maybe you’re a baker but you spent a lot of time with the florist discussing which flowers would decorate the desserts. Call those vendors and thank them for all their help. Tell them what a pleasure it was to work with them and that you hope to work with them again soon.
Remember, your goal is to form strong, long-lasting relationships with not only your clients but also other local vendors and, of course, all of the people who work with and for you. It takes a great many people to make an event happen. Don’t make the mistake of taking any of them for granted!
Now, a few questions for you: How do you say “goodbye” (at least temporarily!) to a client after an event is over? Do you send a little thank you gift or call them? Do you find that meeting with your team of employees after an event is beneficial? What about reaching out to other vendors? Tell me your best practices and how YOU maintain your professional relationships.