In today’s episode I am going to be sharing 6 mistakes you are probably making in your wedding business and how you can fix them. I work with wedding pro’s from around the world, and yet I see lots of things they have in common when it comes to your mistakes!
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Becca: [00:00:00] If you’re listening to this in real time, you will know we are in the middle of crazy busy season right now. It’s the beginning of August. As I record this, it’s crazy out there. There are so many weddings going on, which is a blessing after 2020. And also if you’re like me and have kids, the kids are off school and it’s school holidays.
So everything’s a juggle, but here I am recording a podcast. Just for you whilst my kids are in their swimming lessons. So maybe a little bit shorter than usual, but today we’re gonna be talking about the six mistakes you’re probably making in your wedding business and how to fix them. I’m Becca Pountney, wedding business, marketing expert, speaker, and blogger.
And you are listening to the wedding pros who are ready to grow podcast. I’m here to share with you actionable tips, strategies, and real life examples to help you take your wedding business to the next level. If you are an ambitious wedding business owner that wants to take your passion and use it to build a profitable, sustainable business, doing what you love, then you’re in the right place.
Let’s get going with today’s episode. [00:01:00] If you are a long term, listener to this podcast and you find it helpful. You enjoy listening to it while you are out for a walk or a run or in the car, or you just like the information that I’m sharing with you and have found it have an impact on your business. I would love you to help me out.
Perhaps you can go ahead and share it with a wedding industry, friend, or colleague, maybe share it in an industry group that you are in right now and tell people it exists and that it can help them grow their wedding business for free. All they need to do is search wedding pros. We’re ready to grow in their podcast.
Player, whether that’s Spotify, Amazon, apple, or somewhere else. And they’ll be able to find all of the episodes, including this one it’s summer holidays. And I just don’t have loads of time to market it. So anything you can do to help people find the podcast and hear these great resources is amazing. The other thing you can do, which massively helps me out is to rate and review the podcast.
If you haven’t already done that, go below, maybe. A five star rating, if you’re nice and then write a few words to say why you enjoy listening and I will be so thankful I can see all of your ratings and reviews. So thank you to everyone. Who’s already done that for me. [00:02:00] And again, if you’re not a long term listener and you’re new to this, make sure you’ve hit the subscribe button.
So you get this podcast. Every Thursday, a new episode is released a mixture of interviews and chats with me and all sorts of other things. So do go ahead and subscribe. So you never miss out on. Okay. Without further ado. And before my kids suddenly return from their swimming lessons, let’s dive into the six mistakes you are probably making in your wedding business and how to fix them.
Now, if you’re new to my world, you probably won’t know that we are a little bit open and honest here. So. Even if you feel like, oh my goodness, me, I’m making all of the mistakes Becca’s just mentioned, please, don’t beat yourself up. In fact, reach out and let me help you let other people in the community help you.
We’re not here to pretend we are perfect. We’re probably all making some of these mistakes and there’s always way we can improve. We are all on a journey and you are on that journey too. So it doesn’t matter whether you are at the beginning of that journey, or if you’ve been on the journey for a while.
Always mistakes that you’re making that can be improved upon. So let’s dive in [00:03:00] then to number one. Now, number one is not having a sales plan, not having a sales plan. This surprises me so much. When I talk to people, I ask them what their goals are for next year, what their goals are for the rest of the year, how many more weddings they need to their fully booked.
And sometimes they just stare at me kind of blankly and don’t know what I’m talking about. Now, if we were. Industry as in a proper job, not that your wedding business, isn’t a proper job, but imagine you’re in a big office, you are in a sales team. You’ve got a boss above you. You couldn’t just say to that boss.
Oh, I don’t know how many things I’m gonna sell next month because they would’ve set you a target. They’ll sell to you. They’ll say to you that you need to sell this many of whatever it is that you’re selling, and you need to do it by the end of the month. They’ll be tracking it through the month. And if you don’t hit that target, you’ll be having to give them an answer as to why you’re gonna have to make a plan.
You’re gonna have to work out how you’re gonna sell those items, whether it’s cars, shoes, radio, advertising, whatever it is. However, when it comes to our [00:04:00] wedding business, we seem to forget about this kind of system. We just think, well, we’ll just wait and see what comes in and hope for the best I’ll book, as many weddings as I get inquiries for and can convert.
And that is true to a point, but actually there’s a lot of proactive work we can do to put it out there. And also we can end up overbooking ourselves if we’re not careful. So it’s really important. You think about how many weddings you want to book we’re in the middle of August. Now, if you’re listening to this in real time, while you’ve got a few more months left to the end of the year, September, October, November, December.
So how many weddings do you want to sell in those few months? And as you look forward to 2022, what would fully booked look like for you financially? How many weddings do you need to take on how much money do you need to make, to break even to make a profit and to be happy and content for 2020. Three, not 2022.
It’s really important. You set yourself goals and targets and not having any kind of sales plan can mean you just kind of [00:05:00] drift along and never actually get proactive and get anything done. So if that is you it’s okay, but start thinking about a plan. Now, if you need help doing this, you can do it one to one with me, reach out to me via Instagram on a DM, and we can look at a one-to-one session or.
Booking some time in your diary to sit in a quiet place, go through your finances, look at how much it’s costing you to run your business. Find out all of the packages that you sell and how much that you are charging for them. And start to do the numbers, crunch some figures and work out. Okay. If I wanna earn this much, once I’ve paid off all my expenses, then this is how many weddings I need to take for 20, 23.
Uh, it’s as simple as that. And then you can start breaking that down through the year. How many inquiries you need to make to get that many bookings, et C. But don’t go into the next year or even the last few months of this year with absolutely no plan whatsoever. The people who do this can then say, actually I’m fully booked and then they can close their books.
It doesn’t matter whether fully booked for you is five weddings or 500 weddings, you need to work out that number for [00:06:00] yourself. But the most important thing is make sure you have a plan. Okay. The next mistake that I see people making all of the time is over on social media. So my second mistake today is being too pretty and never selling yourself.
I know many of us don’t think we are too pretty do we? We’re very hard on ourselves, but I’m talking about your business, not actually you. Now, what I mean by this is when it comes to your social media posting, have a look through your last couple of weeks of posts. How many of them. Been just generally inspirational or real weddings or pretty.
And how many of them have actually had a clear call to action or a sales message in them now in the wedding industry, we like to be nice and pretty because that’s what people buy, but ultimately if we wanna sell a product or service, at some point we have to do some selling and we can get to a point where we’re doing too much entertaining and showing people inspirational and pretty things and not enough.
So, if you are not selling [00:07:00] regularly on your account, have a look through your recent posts and think about how you could have added a clear call to action onto some of them. Now, I’m not saying every post you make should have a clear call to action and sales message cause you don’t wanna sell all of the time after all social media is for being social, but.
But we don’t wanna go too far the other way, which lots of you do, which is never actually telling people what to do next. So calls to action can be as simple as if you still need to book a Florist for your wedding. Send me a direct message now. Or if you still need to book your wedding cake, why not book a consultation, the links in my bio, or to book us for 2023.
Send me a message, whatever it is that you want someone to do, give them a clear call to action and ask them to do it. Sometimes if you give them that call to action, they may just do it. Even if it’s a call to action, you did a month ago or even three weeks ago, someone different might see it. Someone may be in a different place in their buying journey and ready to take action.
If we never ask people will never do it. [00:08:00] So make sure that occasionally through the week, two, three times a week on your posts, you have got clear calls to action and sales messages. If you wanna sell more weddings in winter 2022, over the next few months. Tell people on social media say you’ve still got availability for this Christmas.
Say you’ve got availability this winter and had people considered having a winter wedding say, if you’re still looking to book your wedding cake or your wedding flowers or your wedding dress for this Christmas, get in touch with me via direct message or. Fill in the form on my website, wherever your clear call to action is, but you have to give people that clear call to action if you want them to act.
So that’s your task. Go back, look through the last couple of weeks of posts on your social media page and look at what percentage of them are just pretty posts and what percentage of them are actually having a clear call to action. Asking people to do something to make a sale. We don’t wanna be too pretty and never be selling, but also we don’t wanna be selling every single day either.
So make sure you’ve got a balance. [00:09:00] Okay. The third mistake that I see people making all of the time is ghosting. Now I’m not talking about ghosting as in clients ghosting you. Oh no. I’m talking about a problem where wedding pros ghost their own. Clients not me. You say I would never do that. Well, honestly, I think all of us do it from time to time.
We have all of the best intentions, but then sometimes we just forget to reply to emails. I know I’ve done it myself. And if you are out there and I’ve not replied to your email, I’m so sorry. Send me another email because I honestly don’t mean to ghost you. It’s either gone into my spam or I’ve just got too busy and forgotten and there’s no excuse for it.
So send me another one. Now you might think you never ghost your clients, however, All do it and we need to avoid it. There’s nothing worse than emailing someone and then not getting a response, especially when we’re trying to inquire or book or pay the money for a service. I recently was trying to book a pizza van for an event that I was running and I [00:10:00] contacted them via email, via social media and by phone.
And they never got back to me. And if I’m honest, it left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. Now it may be that they’re really busy. They didn’t have time to do my event. They also felt like maybe they didn’t wanna do my event. They weren’t interested in me. I tried multiple forms of communication and I never got a response.
Do you think I’ll ever try them again? Absolutely not. Will I ever recommend them to someone else? Definitely not. And would I tell people like I am on this podcast? It’s not great service. Yes, I would. Although obviously I’m not gonna name, check them here, because that would be unkind. Now I know people have different things going on in their lives and you do as well, but it’s really important not to ghost people and to keep in communication.
So, for example, if you go away on holiday or you’re gonna be slower to reply than normal, why not pop on a little out of office onto your email so that people know why you’re not replying to them. If you see an email and you can’t do the date of the wedding, have something saved in your drafts where you can email back and say, thank you so much for your enquiry.
Unfortunately, I’m. [00:11:00] Already fully booked for this date. If you change the date, let me know. If not, here’s a couple of other recommendations of people who may be available on your date, although you can’t do the wedding, that’s super helpful. You’ve been in communication and you’ve helped them out. So they’re gonna remember you now, if they do change their date or they want your services on another date, then they’re much more likely to get in touch with you.
If you’ve ghosted them entirely. I promise you. They’re never getting back in touch. It is so frustrating as a consumer when people ignore you. So make sure you’re not ignoring people. If you can’t respond quickly, put on that out of office, let people know, or send an automated response or have something saved in your draft.
That just says, thank you. We’ve received your email. We’ve got a big backlog of inquiries, but we will be with you within 14 days within seven days. If people know. What they can expect from you then you won’t annoy them when you just don’t say anything at all. Well, it’s kind of frustrating. Now on the flip side of this, I know that sometimes our replies can go to junk mail, which [00:12:00] can be difficult as well.
So maybe someone’s inquired with you. You’ve replied to them and your reply has gone to junk. Now, one way to avoid this, um, is try and send things directly from your. Email now Hotmail email addresses do have a particular problem with this. So if you’re sending an email to a Hotmail, just beware that it might go into junk.
If you’ve got any other way with communicating with people, if they’ve left a phone number, uh, or if they’ve got their social media handles or anything like that, then maybe try and drop them a message on an alternative channel. And even maybe put out a post or a story occasionally on your social media saying just like I did earlier, if you haven’t heard back from me, I’m so sorry.
Sometimes my emails go into junk. Send me a message on here and let’s chat. So you’re giving people alternative options, but the most important thing is don’t ignore people. Don’t make that mistake. I’ve given you loads of alternatives, so there’s no excuse for ignoring them anymore. Okay, let’s move on to mistake.
Number four. Now I realize we are jumping all over the place and this is a marketing [00:13:00] mistake. I see many of you making now what happens, especially when we’re early on in the wedding industry is obviously we’re taking all kinds of work. Perhaps we’re taking whatever work we can get, because we just need to pay the bills.
But in our head we have an aspiration. We have an ideal couple. We know we want to be doing more destination weddings or more weddings in Manor houses. Perhaps we wanna be doing big London weddings rather than local hotel weddings, but we have a problem. The problem is right now, we are doing the weddings that we are doing and not the weddings that we want to do.
So when we are posting on our social media, we’re showing footage and, and pictures of the weddings that we’re working at because we’re busy and we want to show people. But instead of showing people the weddings we want to do, we’re showing people, the weddings we’re currently doing, and guess what that attracts it attracts other people having similar kind of weddings.
So for example, if you’re doing loads of weddings at the holiday Inn in Milton Keynes, and you keep posting about being at the holiday Inn and Milton Keynes at these kind of weddings, chances are other people getting married at a similar kind of [00:14:00] venue will see your pictures and think, great. They look like a photographer for me and get in touch.
Now there’s nothing wrong with doing weddings at the holiday inn in Milton Keynes. Of course there’s not. But if you are actually wanting to do weddings in Greece, or you’re wanting to do weddings in London, or you’re wanting to do high end luxury weddings, then from a marketing perspective, you have to show people what you want them to buy from you.
So this is where style shoots can be amazing. If you want to do a certain thing and you haven’t been booked for that kind of wedding yet. Well then why not create it for yourself? Create a style. In that style of wedding work with venues in that style. Go ahead and second shoot for someone who’s already working at those kind of weddings, make sure you credit both people.
There’s all sorts of ways you can do this, but the most important thing is you have to show what you want to sell. Now I used to work with a fabulous photographer, um, who was a member of mine. And she went and did a style shoot abroad in Mexico. And that got published in a number of places. She shared it all over her [00:15:00] social media, and guess what started to happen?
People started inquiring about whether she could come and shoot their wedding. In Mexico. Now, before that shoot, she’d never had those inquiries. Why? Because people didn’t know that she was happy to travel abroad, happy to travel to Mexico, to shoot your wedding. However, when you start putting stuff out there, people see the gorgeous photos of you taking photos in Mexico, and they’re planning their wedding in Mexico.
Guess what? They’re more likely to reach out to you. So you have to show people what you want them to buy from you. So if you’re sitting there feeling like you’re stuck in that rut right now, then you need to write down. Actually you want to achieve from the weddings that you want to shoot out, or that you want to make cakes for or flowers or whatever service you have and work out a way that you can start showing that in your marketing, even before you’ve been booked for those weddings.
Now that doesn’t mean you don’t take on these other weddings that maybe don’t fit into that category, but it means you don’t necessarily use them all in your marketing or use them in a clever way so that it’s still showing people that aspirational side of your business. It’s [00:16:00] really important. If you wanna move your business forward, that your marketing reflects that before you get booked for those weddings, otherwise it’s like a chicken and egg.
You’ll keep saying I’ll change my marketing when I get booked to X, Y, Z, but you’ll never get booked to X, Y, Z, because your marketing’s not showing people that you want to be. Okay, we’ve gone through the first four mistakes. Hopefully you are feeling okay. If you’ve made all four of these mistakes, please, don’t panic.
It’s a learning process. Don’t rip everything up and change everything. Now just change one thing at a time. It’s okay to keep getting these things better and better and better. Being in business is a journey we’re always learning and none of us are perfect. Okay. So the fifth mistake I wanna talk to you about, and again, I see this all of the time and it drives me crazy is not automating enough in your business.
We are all busy people. We’re busy in life. We’re busy and work. Some of you are juggling a full-time job alongside your wedding business, perhaps alongside a family or pet or [00:17:00] other activities and hobbies, all sorts of things are going on in our lives. And yet we are not helping ourselves. By automating more things.
Now there’s a ton of stuff that you can automate in your business to make life easier for you. It could be your booking process using a software, something like studio ninja or light blue, or, uh, Dubsado so that it takes people through your contract, in your booking process and makes life simpler for them.
It could be that you automate the sign up emails when people sign up at a wedding show so that you don’t have to sit down that show and start writing all the emails to everyone. It’s all automated through a. It could be. And this is the most important one that you automate people booking in for a call with you.
If you don’t currently have some kind of calendar, Calendly is a good example or perhaps another software that you use already has a calendar integrated. Please think about setting it up. One calendar on Calendly is free and therefore it’s a no brainer. You don’t have to pay for it and it’s [00:18:00] really simple to set up.
Now, the reason this is so good is because anytime someone wants to book a call with you or book an appointment with you, you can just send them the link to your calendar and they can choose the time that suits them, that it also shows what time you’re available. So they can’t book in when you’re not available.
Now, this saves you so much time going backwards and forwards on email saying, could you do next Tuesday? No, I can’t do next Tuesday. Can you do next Wednesday at 10:00 AM or no? Sorry. I’m at a doctor’s appointment. Could you do Thursday at 3:00 PM? And before, you know, you’ve wasted loads of time going back and forward.
However, if you send them a link where they can quickly and easily see your diary, match it up with theirs and book in. Oh my goodness. Me. It’s gonna save you so much time. If you haven’t already got this set. I urge you go away after today and get it set up. Then you can send this every time someone inquires with you and you wanna move them onto the next stage.
You can have this link on your website, so people can just book straight in for a call with you before even sending an email. It shortens the process and it makes everything easier for you. [00:19:00] And for them also, if you use something like Calendly you can integrate it with your calendar on your phone. So you can put in appointments and it’ll block out your unavailability and you can also set it up.
Automatically links with like your zoom account and sends them a link to join you on zoom, you can send follow up emails to remind people about the call. There’s so many ways you can save time doing this. So if you haven’t already set up a Calendly link so that people can book an appointment with you.
Please consider doing that. Now I promise you it will save you so much time and then have a look at other areas of your business. Are there other things you could automate? Are there other ways you can do things which are quicker and slicker? Perhaps it’s using QuickBooks to send invoices rather than manually making invoices and having to chase them all the time.
There’s loads of great systems out there. They don’t have to cost you a fortune, but make sure. Automating more things in your business to free you up to do the things you love. You don’t wanna be sitting on your email all day and all night trying to arrange meetings. So set up that calendar link. And if you’re stuck with it, send me a [00:20:00] message and I will help you.
Okay. That brings us on then to the final mistake and good news. My children are not back from their swimming lessons yet, but I know that we are running out of time. So the final piece of information, the final mistake is don’t confuse your customers. So mistake number six, don’t confuse your customers.
Now I’m gonna tell you another story about where someone has gone totally wrong in this area, and hopefully you don’t do anything as confusing as. So I’m going to a wedding in a few weeks time, and I thought it’d be nice for me and my family to stay in the hotel. Now, the couple told me that there was a special rate.
If you were going to their wedding, a special room rate where guests get the room cheaper, which sounded great to me. So I thought, great. I’ll treat us the family to a night in the hotel so we can relax at the wedding. We can have a few drinks and we can stay. So I asked the couple how I went about booking this room and they said, you just got to contact the hotel, say you’re coming to X and X’s wedding on this date.
And [00:21:00] they will sort you out with the special rate. So I confidently phoned up the hotel and said exactly what they told me on the phone. And they said, we’re really sorry. We can’t deal with this with you on the phone. You need to send an email whereby they gave me the world’s longest email address to contact.
This is back in June. I sat down, I composed an email saying all of the details, the dates, the person who was getting married and asked to book the room. No response. I waited and I waited and I waited, no response. Four weeks went past and I still hadn’t had a response. Or if I had, maybe my email had gone into their junk or maybe their email had gone into my junk.
I know I thought I’ll pick up the phone again. So I went back to the hotel. Picked up the phone rang again, got through to someone. Now this time they said, oh, you need to speak to reception. So they put me through to reception. Great. I thought we’re one step closer. Now, when I got through to reception, they said, we’re really sorry.
We have to do this via email. Here we go again. But this [00:22:00] time they gave me an alternative email address. They promised me it would go straight through to them at reception and they could deal with it immediately. I asked them to acknowledge my email so that I knew that they had had it. Yes. They said, send us the email.
We’ll acknowledge it. Guess what? I got off the phone. I sent the email. And no response, no acknowledgement and no response at all. Now I’m getting quite frustrated at this point because I just wanna spend my money. I wanna book the room. I want it sorted and no one’s getting back to me. So I tried a different tact this time.
I decided to phone up the hotel another week later and go through to the weddings department because I figured I’m going to a wedding, the wedding. Uh, department of dealing with the couple, the couple have said they get a discount as part of their wedding package. Maybe the wedding department can help me.
So I went through to the wedding team and I spoke to a lovely lady. She was really friendly, but then she said, we can only deal directly with the couple. Now, obviously a couple getting married. Don’t wanna deal with my room inquiry so this isn’t going to [00:23:00] help me very much at all. However, she said, you need to speak to reception.
Here we go again, to try and book your special rate. Definitely be able to help you. I explained that they hadn’t helped me so far, but she assured me it would be fine. She’ll put me through to reception and they’ll help me immediately. And then she hung up. Well, maybe she put me through to reception, but it definitely hung up on me, and
there we go. Now, six weeks after I sent the initial email and after all of these phone calls, finally out of the blue, someone came back to me, however, They’d made the process so complicated that by this point I’d given up, I’m not gonna be giving them my money. I was ready to pay my money and book the room, but now I’m gonna go for an alternative.
Why? Because I don’t want the hassle and they’ve confused me and they’ve been complicated. And to be honest, they’ve given me the runaround, which I don’t have time for. Now, why am I telling you this story? Because it’s so simple for us to get [00:24:00] confused with our own processes and to end up sending people round in circles.
Now, if you’ve got a customer that is inquiring with you, like I was to the hotel and ready to give you some money, you want to close that sale as quickly as possible. Now, when I made the initial phone call, I would’ve paid there. And then on the phone for that hotel room, but actually they’ve lost a couple of hundred pounds from me by sending me on a run around their process is too complicated.
And nobody seemed to know how it worked properly. They need to go back to the drawing board, simplify that process and stop losing money. and it’s the same for you when someone inquires with you, they’re actually interested in giving you some money ultimately, and buying your products or services. So you need to give them a really clear route guided through.
From that moment, they make the inquiry right through to giving you the money. It needs to be clear. You need to give it to them one step at a time, and you need to follow it too, so that you’re not confusing your potential customers and possibly. Out. So think right now, what is your buying process? If someone comes to you [00:25:00] today and says, I’ve got some money and I’m ready to book something with you, what do you do next?
Do you send them loads of questions on an email? Do you say, sorry, I can’t deal with you on Instagram. You’re gonna have to send me another email. Do you say, sorry, I can’t speak to you on the phone, but if you ring this person, they’ll be able to deal with it. Do you tell them to go and send a form on your website?
How can you simplify it so that you don’t give your customer the runaround. If they contact you on Instagram messenger about booking, then chat with them on Instagram messenger and try and get them to the point of booking a phone call and then send them the link to book. Don’t tell them to go away and fill in a form somewhere else, because guess what?
They might not do it. And you might just lose them, make your process and your booking process as simple as possible. You want that gap from the moment they inquire to the moment they give you some money to be as short as possible. Because the longer you leave it, the more likely they are to change their mind, find someone else or go along with somebody else.
And the more work you are putting in which may not come to fruition. So take a look at your processes. [00:26:00] Are you confusing? Your customers is your customer journey too complicated. And are you clear on it yourself? Or could you tell me clearly in a few sentences, step by step, how someone goes from making an inquiry right through to making a payment and a booking.
Don’t be like that hotel and stop losing your customers. Okay, before we finish. And before the kids get back from their swimming lesson, let’s quickly recap those mistakes that you are probably making. Again, first up, not having a sales plan and not knowing how many weddings you even need to book for next year to be fully booked.
Secondly, being too pretty and not selling enough. Are you giving clear call to actions and sale messages on some of your social media posts? Thirdly, ghosting your customers or your potential customers. Are you getting back to people in a timely manner? Are you replying to them? Even if you’re fully booked.
Go for it. Don’t ignore them. Next up is showing people where you want to be, not where you are now. So if you wanna be doing bigger and better weddings, you’ve got to be showing bigger and better weddings in your marketing. People can’t buy what they [00:27:00] can’t see. So you need to change it. Number five is not automating enough.
Are you making your life more complicated than it needs to be? Or could you be using some of these free or cheap tools to make life so much easier for yourself and your customer? And finally, mistake number six is being too confusing. Having mixed messages about what people need to do next and not giving them a simple plan to walk from a, to.
Now you may be making one or all of these mistakes, but it’s okay. I’m here to help you. If you need help. After this podcast, reach out to me via DM and I will talk to you and help you work out what to do next. Whether it’s sending you a resource, giving you some advice over Instagram or suggesting that you book onto one of my programs, I’m here for you.
Don’t suffer in silence. And most importantly, don’t beat yourself up. We’re all on a journey and you. Got this, I’ll see you next week.[00:28:00]