How to SELL clients when you are NEW in business

If you are new to the event industry biz, it can be very daunting about how to promote yourself to get business. You may have done the due diligence on your art and business plan, but have no portfolio to show potential clients. So how do you sell?

Let’s flip this. Here is what you SHOULD NOT do:

1.  Talk about your own wedding. Please, if you have in your bio, “……after planning my own wedding in 2007, I grew to love the art of planning weddings and subsequently opened my own boutique, full-service wedding planning business…”

If that is on your website or on any printed sales collateral  (no matter how long you have been in business), I want you to stop reading this and immediately go and delete it. Clients do not care how great your wedding was. The fact that you were able to please yourself with your wedding planning skills is of  no consequence to them, nor their special, special day. And frankly, it screams that you are very GREEN to the business. So please. Do not stop go. Do not collect $200, remove it now and we shall never speak of this again. (p.s. Likewise, it is never a good idea to have just your wedding in your gallery.)

2. Do not lie. Do not tell clients/vendors that you have 10 years of experience in wedding planning, when really you’ve only worked 2-3 weddings over the past few years. Through the gift of Google, people can find this information out. You don’t want to lose credibility and frankly, veteran vendors can decipher how experienced you are in about 5 minutes of a conversation. Vendors refer other vendors. You get the drift.

3. Do not put yourself down. We all had to be “new” at one time or another. If you have a lot of practical experience in event planning with groups or non-profits, then play that up! Real business experience is worth A LOT. A new creative photographer for example, that has taken photography classes and has worked in corporate world for years will be at a higher level than someone with no experience straight out of college. Play up all your strengths.

4. Do not offer up that you are new. Just as you should not lie about your newness, you should also not voluntarily admit in your sales conversations, “Well, I’m new at this….”. You remember the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy the military adopted? Same applies here. Don’t offer up pitfalls for you to fall into. However, if someone asks directly, have a great response prepared in advance so you don’t fumble.

“How long have you been making custom wedding invitations?” 
“While I haven’t been in the wedding industry as long as others designers, I have had xx years of experience in graphic design, meeting deadlines, creating one-of-a-kind flawless designs that have made others stop in their tracks. I am absolutely dedicated to all my clients, in creating a memorable paper experience.”

5. Do not offer up discounts, because you are new. You’ve already learned not to grossly undercharge because of your newness, also don’t automatically assume that clients will want a discount. As a planner, you can imagine how many times I’ve heard: “Well, the photographer is new so they gave me a great deal.” I cringe when I hear this. You don’t have to automatically discount just to get business. Have faith and confidence in yourself.

Happy Selling!