Dear Preston: A Potential Client Was Rude To Me

bride wedding preston bailey

(Image via ispwp)

Dear Preston,

Recently I had a great first meeting with a bride. I’m one of two popular florists in my area, and this bride loved my work. Her wedding is also going to be one of the biggest in our area this year.

After our meeting, I was sure I was going to get the job. But then a week later I found out she was going with the other florist. I was very disappointed, but I accepted it.

What I found shocking, though, is that I never even got an email from the bride letting me know she was going with someone else.  I feel so angry and hurt at her rudeness.

What should I do?

Sincerely,
Shocked

Dear Shocked,

I empathize with you as this has happened to me more than a few times. It’s really very simple: some clients have a difficult time saying no, and they’d rather just ignore the situation.

I don’t mean to make excuses for this bride, but it sounds like the idea of telling you no was very hard for her — after all, she really liked you and your work. Over the years, I’ve learned to stop trying to figure out why clients choose the vendors they do. You never know, maybe the other florist has a long history with the groom’s family. It could be anything.

Write the bride the sweetest letter possible: wish her all the best for her wedding and marriage, and let her know that you’re always available if she needs anything at all.

About a year ago, I ran into a former potential client, and she told me the only reason she didn’t hire me was because she worried my company was too high profile. Like I said, you just never know.

After you’ve written the bride your letter, let it go, and move on.

PB

Dear Readers, has this ever happened to you? Would you have the courage to ask a bride why she decided to hire someone else?

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  • http://www.threesistersflowers.com Susan

    I agree, Preston. This happens all too frequently simply because it’s uncomfortable for some people to say no. Don’t take it personally. I always look at it as an opportunity to book another, better event for that date.

  • http://YOURWEBSITE Chris

    Hello!!! I made bridal gowns and most of the time when the bride decide to work with someone else, never call back… So its not surprise to me that… Only one time one bride call me and said that her budget dont allow her spend $$$ in my dress and she was very sorry hahahaha thats the onky bride who call back

  • http://www.mysparklingevent.com Ebony {Sparkling Events & Designs}

    Hello Dearest Preston,

    This happens a lot lately. In January I received more inquiries than I ever have since opening my business, averaging at least one per day. I met with tons of brides, sent tons of proposal and 90% of them I never heard from again. I have a two week follow-up and then I move on. I don’t like to hassle them but I wish that they would give me feedback on their decision….was my price to high (doesn’t mean I would change it), did we not connect (that’s ok and will happen) or they just decided to work with someone else. Feedback – positive and negative is essential for growth. What can you do to help brides give you open feedback?

    Signed – Optimistic but Frustrated

  • http://YOURWEBSITE Angela

    This happens ever so often. sometimes the brides may even lie that the wedding was cancelled or the dates had been moved to avoid telling you the truth. i think sometimes come people find it difficult to say what it really is especially when it may be a cost issue…

  • http://lilytheflowershop.com lina Dakkak

    people shop around before they decide where to go , i don t think it is rude that she did not call you , she never said the job was yours, you are taking it too personal.

    and i disagree with Mr. Bailey to sending her a letter wishing her good luck with her marriage, what is there to gain from this action. sometimes too much kindness is misunderstood

  • http://www.sullivanowen.com Sullivan

    My response is to Ebony.Congratulations on getting so many inquiries, how exciting. Do you send clients any starting price information so they are aware of your starting prices before the meeting? I’ve found this to be really helpful in making sure I’m meeting with brides in my price range. Also I find there’s no harm in a follow up email and if I get a response, I ask for feedback as to why they went another way. The worst that can happen is that they don’t respond.

    Also, do you ask where these brides found you? Is someone referring them with incorrect information? I know this happens to Preston when people assume he’s too expensive : )

  • http://YOURWEBSITE Kathlee

    It is difficult to accept this especially if you are so passionate about your work. But when it does happen I do send them the sweetest email and wishing them the best of luck which is really in my heart. Now this reflects you as a person and that what you do is not just a job but something very special and dear to you.

  • http://www.paradisecocktails.com Paradise Cocktails

    It happens all the time, they want information and then find someone cheaper. I give them 3 weeks from the initial contact and if they haven’t responded I assume they have chosen someone else. We are a small company and get multiple requests for the same dates so I will let them know that if they wait too long chances are we won’t be available.

  • http://www.ILoveMyPlanner.net Vanessa Alce (I Love My Planner)

    Letting a vendor know that you are not going to hire them is an uncomfortable situation for potential clients. It happens to me too. I do ask what influenced their decision if they call or email me to let me know they’re hiring another wedding planner. If I don’t hear back from them at all, it’s assumed that I did not get that client. Especially after my follow up emails and/or phone calls.

  • http://YOURWEBSITE Walid Khalaf

    Preston..As always You are a Class act ! That is the enlightened thing to do. Good Advice my Dear Friend.

  • http://www.metasflowers.com Meta

    If it is a bride that I thought I had made a connection with, I will send them an email asking if they can provide feedback for improvement and development purposes. i have had several answer, but most don’t. The one’s that did answer were not the answers that i had assumed. As Preston stated, one stated that they decide to go with a family florist who had offered a really good deal, but the one the one that I cherished the most stated that she really loved my designs and wanted to use my services, but when discussing it with her family, it was decided that although i had great designs that they went with some one with more experience, simply because of the numbers of guests they were expecting. (South Asian wedding with large number of guest). she was honest.

  • http://www.VelvetRopeEventsCo.com lia tee

    I agree with you Preston. It may be for different reasons that a potential client does not book with me, but sometimes it does affect me as business owner knowing that for some reason, I couldnt close that deal! I try to learn from all experiences! I’m fairly new to the industry – therefore mistakes are made!
    I will say something in response to a previous responders words about shopping around. Yes….potential clients DO shop around. But generally speaking through online searches and word of mouth, potential clients have an idea of what to expect from you as a business provider. They wouldn’t have contacted you in the first place if they weren’t drawn to your work! Also the next thing is not only if they are satisfied with our services or costs, also take into mind that connection is the most important thing! The client SHOULD feel that connection with the individual/company they are hiring. With comfort, they will feel more understood in explaining what their needs are! Hope this advice is helpful! :) xoxo and happy v-day!

  • http://www.weddingsfromtheheart.net Jean Neuhart

    Unfortunately this does happen all too often. I agree that the main reason is that it is uncomfortable for them to tell us no. They don’t want to be the bearer of “bad news.” It certainly is frustrating though, especially when all prior contacts have been very positive. Preston, I love your idea of writing the bride a sweet letter. There is never a wrong time for kindness.

  • http://www.raeaffairs.com Sileola

    Very well put Mr. Bailey, I think it is very normal that some clients don’t give feedback; this happens for many different reasons. You never want to make a client feel like bed for not using your service, it is courteous to give a way out, though you promote your service still make them feel comfortable to make their decision. Wish them well and hope for the best with future clients.

  • http://Jeffloftinphotography.com Jeff

    I meet with a lot of brides. Some choose me, some don’t. In the end I always have plenty of work. What bums me out is when a bride calls or emails me to tell me she’s chosen someone else. Most of the time it’s been long enough after our consultation that I’ve moved on and forgotten about them. All the bride does is remind me that they haven’t chosen me. As far as I’m concerned I’d much rather not hear that they’d rather work with someone else whatever the reason.

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  • http://www.allforyourwedding.com/ Sandra

    Dear Shocked, Such things happen all the time, like Preston said it could be something related from the groom side, and various other reasons, you cannot take things to your heart. You need to be more stronger and you need to get over with such small issues. I am sure you are one of the best florists in your area, and you will do well in life.