The ‘Gentle Sales System’ for your wedding business

Show notes:

Today I’m chatting with Carolyn Kulb, the founder of The Bloom Poet, a boutique wedding floral and event design studio in Seattle. We dive into Carolyn’s journey in the wedding industry, starting as a flower farmer and transitioning into the wedding floral business. We talk about the challenges she faced in the early years and the changes she made to make her business more profitable. Carolyn shares her gentle sales system and how she follows up with potential clients, providing valuable information even if they don’t initially reply. Learn why you should pay attention to the Gentle Sales system for your wedding business.

Get a copy of Carolyn’s ’10 gentle sales email’s’ here.

Visit Carolyn’s website

Find Carolyn on Instagram

Time stamps:

he Gentle Sales System [00:01:03] Carolyn discusses her successful gentle sales system that helps her book clients and avoid being ghosted.

Starting as a Flower Farmer [00:02:17] Carolyn shares her journey of starting as a flower farmer and transitioning into the wedding floral business.

Challenges and Mistakes in the Early Years [00:05:26] Carolyn talks about the challenges she faced in the early years, including marketing and sales mistakes, and how she overcame them.

The sustainability of wedding flowers [00:09:41] Carolyn discusses the efforts her business makes to source sustainable and locally grown flowers for weddings.

Setting the minimum spend and pricing strategy [00:11:03] Carolyn explains how she determined her minimum spend and pricing strategy based on factors such as supply chain, inflation, and the need for financial sustainability.

The customer journey and gentle sales system [00:14:38] Carolyn walks through the steps of her customer journey, including website inquiries, automated emails, and personalized videos, to build trust and find the right clients.

The importance of transparency and building trust [00:19:08] Carolyn discusses the importance of being transparent with clients and building trust by providing all the necessary information upfront.

Serving clients by providing information [00:19:51] Becca and Carolyn talk about the value of providing clients with all the information they need to make an informed decision, and how it can save time for both parties.

Taking pressure off initial calls and focusing on helping the client [00:25:18] Carolyn shares her approach to taking the pressure off sales calls by focusing on helping the client rather than closing the sale, and being prepared to refer clients to other vendors if necessary.

The initial sales call [00:29:28] Carolyn discusses the process of the initial sales call, including discussing the couple’s vision, needs, and budget.

Sending the questionnaire [00:30:19] After the call, Carolyn sends the couple a questionnaire to gather more details about their wedding, including specific floral preferences.

Building relationships and getting referrals [00:35:40] Carolyn explains how her gentle sales system leads to strong relationships with clients, resulting in positive reviews, referrals, and repeat business.

The challenges of running a wedding business [00:37:48] Carolyn discusses the importance of learning business skills and the reality of spending more time on marketing and sales than on the craft itself.

Continual learning in the wedding industry [00:38:40] Becca and Carolyn emphasize the importance of always learning and growing in the wedding industry.

Where to find Carolyn and her resources [00:38:51] Carolyn shares her website, Instagram, and Facebook community where she provides resources and support for wedding professionals.

Transcript:

Carolyn: If they don’t reply to anything, I still follow up repeatedly to see if there’s anything I can help them with. Because I want to be helpful, that’s where I’m coming from, is just a place of service for everybody who inquires with me, so I send them like a link to a blog post, like, hey, here’s questions you can ask if you’re meeting with a florist, because you’re probably interviewing other florists, so let me help you with that.

Here are some things you need to know.

Becca: I’m Becca Pountney, wedding business marketing expert, speaker and blogger, and you’re 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. Today I’m chatting with Carolyn Kulb, founder of The Bloom Poet, a boutique wedding floral and event design studio in Seattle.

In two years, she went from one to two weddings and no clue what she was doing to booking out a full calendar of perfect clients, raising her minimum spend to 12, 000 and making a real salary. During these years, she developed and perfected her gentle sales system so that she never gets ghosted. In fact, it’s been so successful, she now often turns work away.

So, what is this gentle sales system, I hear you ask? Well, the good news for you is that’s exactly what Carolyn’s here to share about today, and you are going to love it. Carolyn, welcome to the podcast.

Carolyn: Thank you. Thanks so much for having me. I’m delighted to be here.

Becca: It’s such a pleasure. Thank you for taking the time out. As always, when I have guests from the US, I’m filming or recording this late in the evening so that we can be together so that you’re in the day.

So hopefully my questions will all be cleared despite the late night call. Time differences blow my mind. The fact that it’s a different time where you are to where I am, like it never ceases to amaze me. Anyway, Carolyn, it’s great to have you with us. Thank you for being here. Before we dive into the sales system, which I’ve kind of teased out there in the intro, let’s go back to how you started, how you got started in weddings in the first place.

Carolyn: Yeah, great question. I actually started as a flower farmer, so that’s how I ended up in this wild world of weddings. I, I used to be in public health years and years ago. So when I came back from my last desk job, which was in West Africa, I didn’t know what to do. And so I did farm school for fun and then just never went back to a desk job ever again.

And so I ended up farming my own flowers for a time. and started doing weddings with my own flowers and just never looked back. It’s been an amazing journey and now I’m no longer farming but I am doing weddings and I just absolutely love flowering weddings and So that’s, that’s what Bloom Poet is all about.

Becca: That is a wild ride from being in West Africa to being back in the States, deciding to go to farming school, farming for flowers and then becoming a florist. There is so much in that. Would you say you’re someone that likes a challenge, an adventure?

Carolyn: Yeah, I guess you could say that a little bit. Yeah, I am one of those people that never is bored or boring, so I love to just always try new things and see where life takes me and kind of just how I, I live my life, so.

I could not have predicted that it would end up this way, but here we are.

Becca: I think that’s true for so many of us, especially those of us who are entrepreneurial, that life just takes us on this journey and we follow the wind where our next idea takes us. And here we are today having this conversation.

Now, think back to having that flower farm starting off and then getting your first wedding client. How did that happen? Where did they come from?

Carolyn: Yeah, so the very first client that I ever had was of course a friend of a friend, right? I feel like that’s how so many people get their first client is that you start doing a thing and put it out into the universe and then someone notices and they say, Hey, I have just the person for you to talk to.

So. It was a friend of another farmer, and she was very much wanting, you know, a very small ceremony with only farm flowers from, you know, growers in our area. And so I was like, that’s a thing that we could do. So that was my first ever wedding. Had no idea what I was doing. Winged it. And it was beautiful.

It turned out great. And everybody was happy.

Becca: Well, that’s always a good start. So you got your first client and then where did it go from there? Were they recommending you on to other people?

Carolyn: Yeah, so that would have been probably 2018. And so I, I continued to do more weddings from, you know, the farm community.

And I was doing some other things that were not weddings, like a CSA with flowers and some other things to kind of, you know, have multiple streams of income. And I advertised for a time on some of the big wedding websites and got some work that way as well. And so 2019, I was doing a few more weddings, but it was not steady, I guess would be the word.

But I was booking a lot for 2020, which we all know how that ended up. So, you know, it was just yet another challenge on the road to like having a booked calendar.

Becca: Now, when we look back on those early years, one thing I love to do, because we like to get a little bit real on this podcast, is to look back and realize and share some of the mistakes that you feel that you made right in the beginning.

Because we all make some mistakes when we’re starting out in business. So is there anything that comes to mind and you look back and you think, why did I do that?

Carolyn: Oh yeah. Lots of things, lots of times. Came from a non profit background, so literally, like, the entire business side of things was just a hot mess for, like, many years.

We did not, like, no one gets their, you know, MBA or becomes, like, a business mind before they start their business if it’s based on being really great at a craft. So, I knew floristry really well. Did not know how to like market my business. I didn’t have an intake form. I Was paying for advertising that was not I was not getting the return on investment So it was just money out of the business constantly I had no idea how to like network with other wedding pros to like, you know build sort of referral relationships and that kind of thing Yeah, I think every mistake you can make in terms of like marketing and sales, I made it, which is why I’m so proud to have come out the other side of that and, have a system that is really working for the business.

Becca: And it’s not an unusual story because so many people I meet when they’ve started out their business, they have this passion like you did for flowers. They love what they do. But they don’t understand how to make it profitable. They don’t understand how to do the sales and marketing side. They don’t understand all of the ins and outs of the wedding industry.

So obviously you got to grips with that. What was it that you did? What changed things for you?

Carolyn: I think one of the biggest things that changed for me was realizing that if I were to have a fully booked wedding calendar and a sizable farm that I was going to never sleep and that those two things were just not compatible as far as timing.

So, you know, I, I realized that I wanted to do more weddings and, that the farm would have to suffer for that. But I also just realized that You know, in order to book more work and to make more money with weddings, I had to really put myself out there, not as a farmer, but as a wedding service provider, as a wedding florist, and talk to people who were, you know, wanting a wedding florist.

Because that was a disconnect for me. I just assumed, oh, because I have beautiful local flowers all the time, it’s obvious that I can do weddings, but it’s not obvious to someone who’s on your website or looking at your services that like, you know, they’re going to get the same level of service that they would get from.

You know, someone who’s only a wedding florist.

Becca: And that must have been quite a scary move to decide to kind of walk away from the farm. Was that part of your USP? Was that part of the reason people like to come to you for the flowers that were grown locally?

Carolyn: Yeah, it, it was initially. The thing is here in Seattle, we’re very spoiled by local flower growers.

So we have a lot of amazing growers who are excellent at what they do. So I realized that, yes, it’s, it’s really fun for me to custom grow for my clients, but I can also ask my friends who are farmers to help me out with that. And so it’s not as much of a USP as I thought it was. I also had an injury sort of helped me along that decision making path.

And so. When that happened, I realized that my body is not back to normal. It, you know, I still have pain from this injury and, you know, farming was probably not going to be a sustainable thing just for my body and how hard that job is. So that sort of. Gave me a yet another signal like hey, maybe just do weddings and focus on one thing and do it really really well

Becca: I love that.

It’s sometimes the things that happen in life again that just push you on to that next stage But I love that you’re still supporting the local flower farmers Are you getting all of your flowers locally? Is sustainability a big thing for you?

Carolyn: Yeah So I still communicate to my current clients that you know We do as much as we can to source sustainable flowers to source locally I would say some of our weddings are 100% local flowers.

Some are like, I don’t know, 90%. You know, we do our best, especially in like shoulder seasons, but you know, we’re members of Slow Flowers. We care a lot about the environmental impact of the wedding industry at large and our work in particular, because it is, you know, tied to what’s coming out of the earth, how people are growing, what pesticides are being used, all of that kind of stuff.

So Yeah, we do, we do our absolute best to source locally and sustainably for all of our weddings.

Becca: Excellent. That’s good to hear. I know that the sustainability thing is on the agenda. We need to be talking about it more in the wedding industry and locally grown flowers. Definitely becoming more popular here in the UK.

And it’s good to know that the same thing’s going on over where you are as well. Now, one thing that won’t have escaped people’s attention when I did the intro was when I talked about your minimum spend. So we’re going to get to the how in a little while, but I just want to address that because some people are going to have heard that and go, did she say that?

Right? Is the minimum spend really 12, 000 and they’re going to have this massive money mindset issue where they think I’m never going to be able to do that. So talk to me about pricing. How did you end up getting to that price and how did you kind of step forward in confidence with that?

Carolyn: Yeah, well, I mean, the last few years of supply chain and inflation have also sort of dictated some of that for me.

When I started, you know, I had my own farm and my own flowers. So I was undercharging by a lot because I just had infinite flowers. So I was not valuing them the way that I would if I bought them at wholesale. Now that I have to buy everything in from local growers who get paid fair wages and all of that, it’s not cheap to do this work and flower costs have in some cases doubled.

They’re up at least 20% from, you know, 2020. Our hard goods supply costs have gone up a lot. If you can even get things Sometimes we order something and it ships a year later So that’s just kind of the reality that we’re dealing with but I also had to look at you know Given my time my limited time and my team’s limited time.

How much do we need to bring in? How much do we need to profit on every wedding to keep doing this work? Because for me sustainability is not just about environmental sustainability But it’s also about financial sustainability and like energetic sustainability. Like, how can we keep doing this for the long term?

And for me, the answer was, I have got to make a reasonable salary in this business for the insanely expensive city that I’m living in. And knowing that, you know, I mean Seattle just continues to get more expensive People continue to get these massive pay bumps every year because it’s just that expensive to live here So to not do that in my business felt sort of silly like why would I not also get paid more?

When the cost of living has gone up by 20 percent, you know year over year So, you know, those are sort of the facts of why I’ve raised my prices consistently But as far as the money mindset, like, yeah, it’s to go from being like a redneck farmer who makes no money, you know, to someone who’s working with, like, clients who have plenty of money, it feels weird.

So it’s definitely not, you know, it doesn’t always make sense to my brain still. But I love working with people who have, you know, enough money that we can do the type of work that we do really well, the volume of flowers that we do really well, the statement pieces that we make, and get paid enough to do this for the long term.

And not just burnout in five years because we never made any money.

Becca: Absolutely. And when you start looking at budgets like that and upwards, it means that you can focus on quality over quantity. And I’m guessing that’s the space you’re now getting to within. The industry where it’s not about how many inquiries can you get in per week?

It’s about let’s find the right people, which is going to bring us on to talking about your system. So, as I mentioned in the intro, you’ve developed this gentle sales system, which I believe, and correct me if I’m wrong, probably works better when you’re looking to get. Less clients, but at a higher quality rather than a huge volume of clients.

So walk me through your initial customer journey. What that looks like for your potential clients right now. If they come across you on a website or an Instagram, talk us through those steps and what happens.

Carolyn: Yeah, absolutely. And so your point about quality over quantity, I think this type of system will work for any volume that you’re looking for, because, you know, people do have to trust you to buy from you.

So that’s sort of the crux of this system. But right now, When people, you know, find me, they are asked to inquire on the website, which just has a really quick intake form, where I ask them, you know, their date, their, you know, just all the critical details you need to know. That goes into HoneyBook, and then they get automatically sent a brochure that has like, Tons of info, all of our services, all of our pricing, excuse me, some add on things they can have.

If that’s, you know, rehearsal dinners, rentals, they want candles lit at their wedding. Like that’s all in there. There are prices for that. That’s not a thing you get to like, ask us the morning of your wedding to do, you know, it’s an extra person or two. So that’s all there. And then they also get a series of emails.

Let them know, you know, thanks for inquiring. Here’s all the info you wanted, but also here are some expectations. Here’s me. Here’s about me. Here’s why I love doing this work. Here’s why I’m an expert. And you know, I tell them what past clients have said. I tell them about my marriage and how much I love being married and why I love weddings so much.

I talk about our expertise, the kinds of weddings that we’re really great at, the kinds of weddings that we love to do, and then I invite them to book a call to just talk about their needs. And so they get probably, I want to say like four emails before I even ask them to book a call because I want them to know about me so that if they don’t like me, they can leave before I ever talk to them.

I just, I want to work with people who like me and who are going to get along with me. And then we have that call where we just talk about their needs and their expectations. And then if I think I can help them, then we move on to all of those, like, design details, which for floristry can just be, like, a lot of information that we need to be able to price things out correctly.

So we send them a questionnaire with all of the, like, you know, how many bridesmaids, how many grooms, you know, that kind of stuff. And then we develop a customized proposal for them. And walk them through that and then send them booking documents if everything looks good. But for us, it’s a very iterative process that’s co collaborative with our clients.

Because we want to nail it before asking people to, you know, give us money. So that’s how we do it.

Becca: That makes total sense. So now I want to dig into it a little bit deeper. Because this is the kind of geeky conversation that I absolutely love to have. So if I land on your website today, can I see your minimum spend right out the door?

Or is that coming once I get your brochure?

Carolyn: Both. So if you go to our services page, it’s on there. Here’s what our wedding typical range is. And then when I send the brochure, all of that like minimum spend is here. Here’s what our couples typically spend. All of that is there.

Becca: And are all of those first four emails automated or are you sending them personally?

Carolyn: Everything is automated except for one email that I send personally, which is my welcome video. So I literally send them a video of myself saying, Hey, Becca, welcome to Bloom Poet. I’m so excited. You’re here. Here’s what we do. Here’s how I think I can help you. I can’t wait to learn more about your wedding and I can’t wait to meet you.

So everybody gets that one video, but it takes me like, Maybe two minutes to do. For me, that investment is super minimal, but that’s the only one that I do send manually, but everything else is automated.

Becca: And whereabouts does the video come in those, that sequence? Does it come right after the brochure?

Does it come a little bit later?

Carolyn: It depends on how busy I am. So I kind of send it when I have time. If it’s a wedding week, it might be after a few emails have already gone out. And if it’s not, then I can send it pretty soon after they inquire. So.

Becca: So the idea is then, that by the time they’ve looked through your website, filled out the form, got the initial brochure, had a good look through it, received a couple of the other emails, they really have a good grasp on whether they can afford you, whether they like your work, whether they like you, before you even have a conversation.

Is that right? Yes.

Carolyn: They, they know as much about me as I’m like, willing to divulge without having a face to face conversation. But like, it’s… There’s no surprises like what you see is what you get and that’s kind of what I how I want to start building trust with these clients because a lot of times couples are frustrated at the lack of information or the lack of Transparency with wedding businesses with pricing specifically But I think with a lot of things where we’re just being gatekeepers for no good reason And I want my clients to instantly feel like oh my gosh, this person gets me You know, I know what they’re about and I feel like this is worth having at least a conversation with them.

Becca: Yeah. And so much of it, they can do. Because they don’t have to speak to you. They can get all that information themselves. That’s something I talk about a lot is that right now in the world that we’re living in, people want answers and they want answers now, but we as business owners don’t want to be giving them the answers all day and all night because we have lives and we’re busy and we’re doing all the other things.

And so if they can get all the information. As much as we can possibly give them up front to help them make an informed decision, that’s only going to help our cause. So I love all of the things that you shared about that. Now, what happens if a client wants to jump the process? So, you know, someone recommends you, they go to your website, they fill out the form, they get the brochure and they already know they want you for their wedding.

Can they jump straight to the call or do they have to wait for all the emails?

Carolyn: They’re still going to get the emails because I am not going to go in and turn them off for them, but I will, I’ll reply if I see that they’re like chomping at the bit to talk with me and I’ll just send them the link to schedule a call so that if they’re that excited, go ahead and schedule, can’t wait to talk to you kind of a thing.

Becca: Fantastic. I love that. I just love everything about this system and you are right. It could be used for everyone, not just. Low amount of inquiries. I absolutely can see how this can work for a high amount of inquiries too, if you’ve got, and I guess, you know, the time is going to be spent initially getting it set up, getting your systems working, getting your automations, but then the time saved in the long run when these things are going out is incredible.

Carolyn: It’s incredible. Like having this all set up, it does take time and it does take effort to write all the emails, get all the links, you know, do all the things. Right. But. Once it’s set up, I mean, for me to spend two minutes replying to an inquiry and then everything else is automated is Insane, like I love it.

It’s so easy and it you know, no matter I don’t know if you guys get this But I get a lot of Sunday night 11 p. m. Inquiries You know people are freaking out about their wedding on the weekend and and staying up late on Instagram And this system allows me to get them information right away and send them the right information at the right time so that You know, they have peace of mind or they at least know what they’re getting into.

Becca: Yeah, and it’s fantastic because also it means they can filter themselves out before they spend any of your time. So if they look at the stuff and they see your emails and they think, no, actually this isn’t right. They don’t even have to spend the time on the call or you don’t have to have that awkward conversation wondering why they’ve disappeared because you kind of just let them go.

I’m guessing. Do you do any chasing outside of those emails?

Carolyn: So I do have a little sequence. So my sequence is 10 emails, I think, which is a lot, but not everybody gets all 10. So if they book a call, like I sort of turn it off and say, okay, great, we’re going to chat. That’s all we need. If they don’t reply to anything, I still give it the old college try and follow up repeatedly to see if there’s anything I can help them with.

Because I want to be helpful, that’s where I’m coming from, is just a place of service for everybody who inquires with me, so, you know, I send them like a link to a blog post, like, hey, here’s questions you can ask if you’re meeting with a florist, you know, because you’re probably interviewing other florists, so let me help you with that.

Here are some things you need to know. I send them like a Pinterest tutorial, like, Hey, if, if you’re worried about your vision and that’s what’s getting you stuck, here’s how you use Pinterest to put together a mood board. And I’m, I’ve been doing this for years. I’m happy to help you with your vision. Let me know how I can help.

So even if they have no interest in booking me at that point, I still want to help them on their journey because like it’s a lot of work to plan a wedding yourself. Like it’s just so much pressure and it’s so much work. So anything that I can do to lighten their load is a win for everyone else and the florist they go to, you know, the other wedding pros that they go to, because.

They know, okay, this is what I should expect to spend, or this is how I use Pinterest well, or these are the questions I should ask, like anything I can do to educate them before they go out into the world and unleash themselves on my colleagues, that’s a win for everybody.

Becca: This is, this is so good. This stuff that you’re sharing is so good because you’re right and you’re having that attitude of service is something that I love.

I love to share and I think that’s how we should all live our lives in an attitude of service. And it always comes back round because even if you don’t get that booking, they’ll remember you. They might pass you on to a friend, a family member that’s more suitable. The other florist. that are getting your clients that decide not to go with you are going to know you.

There is so much good stuff. And what’s really smart and clever about it is yes, you put in the time up front, but all this stuff is happening and you’re serving people incredibly well without actually having to do anything other than just watch those inquiries go through your system. And so if you’re listening to this and you’re thinking, I need to get something like this set up, you could go ahead and do that yourself.

You can outsource it, find someone to do it. If you want to reach out to me at the Wedding Pro Agency, my team can put together a nurture sequence for you or that kind of thing for you. But just start thinking, how could you serve people? How could this system work for you in your business? Now, one of the things I know you love to talk about, Carolyn, is taking pressure off the initial calls.

Like, talk me through how you do that. How do you take the pressure off yourself, off the couples?

Carolyn: So like you said, this attitude of service, I think the biggest thing to think about with these calls is that the goal is not how can I close this sale or worse, I really need this sale. I really need this money.

So the goal instead is how can I help this person that’s in front of me as a person. And so for me that completely takes the pressure off because I know I can help somebody. I’m an expert in the wedding industry. I know a lot of people in this town who can help them if I can’t. So it’s just a completely different mindset and a completely different conversation.

So coming along with that is this preparation that I have that I’m willing to refer people out right on that call. If their wedding is not something I can help with, so, you know, I have my little list of florists that, you know, if their budget is X, Oh, well, so and so can help you, you know, ask with them and if, if they don’t reply, like, or if they’re booked, come back to me and I’ll help you find somebody.

So that’s a potential, like, that’s a, that’s a potential that I’m always prepared for on my call is like, if referring someone out is the way to help them, I’m prepared to do that. Of course, I would love to, like, have another wedding booked, but if it’s not a good fit, why bother?

Becca: And that definitely takes the pressure off the client, particularly, but also for you, because I think if we go into these kind of conversations with that feeling of desperation, it just doesn’t end well for anybody.

Carolyn: No, yeah, I mean, I personally think that people even on zoom or, you know, on video, like, can pick up on what you’re putting down, like your energy, the way that you’re approaching something. And so if you’re desperate to make a sale, or you feel the pressure to like, get a yes from them on this call, it just doesn’t feel good for anybody.

And so, you know, I know, people get really nervous about sales calls, or they feel like they have to nail the sales call. And it’s like, Or you could not, you could just do it differently and just help this person the best that you can. And they will recognize that you’re trying to help them. So I just, I really run my calls very differently now than I used to, which used to be like the, I’m in the driver’s seat.

I need to collect all the information from you so that, you know, I can give you a price on the call and tell you like, I need a, yes, give me your money. Let’s get this deposit. Like that’s. Completely not at all how I do things now, so yeah, it’s a very different approach.

Becca: Okay, so what do your calls look like now then?

How do you end your calls? Are there certain questions you go through? Do you go through a framework? Or do you just let the meeting take you where it takes you?

Carolyn: Kind of a mixture of all of that, but I do have questions. I mostly am hoping to listen to them on that call, so it’s a lot less about what information I need from them and a lot more about what they need to say out loud.

To feel good about moving forward or not. So I basically prepare with basic info from their inquiry form like their venue and their date and all of that stuff and just confirm that I have all the details right because I have definitely had typos on my inquiry form before with dates. So that’s always important.

I always introduce myself briefly and talk about something about their wedding that strikes me as particularly interesting, exciting. Something that I’m looking forward to just to kind of establish my competency as a, as a florist and also Like let them know I did read it. I I did read your your form like I’m prepared And then we just talk through their forms.

So we talk about their vision for their floral design We talk about their needs if there’s anything they like really really want or really really hate And then we talk about their budget and that’s, that’s it. At the end, we just talk about what the next steps are, or I’m going to refer you to somebody else who can help you.

Becca: Great. So you’re listening, you’re getting all the information, you’re letting them talk, you’re building that rapport, you’re building that trust. So if they’re making signals again, like they’re interested, the budget sounds good, they’re ready to go, what happens next in that customer journey?

Carolyn: Yeah, so if they’re ready for the next step, I tell them on the call, this is what happens next, you’re going to get a questionnaire, and it’s going to have all of those details that you’ve been dreaming about.

So just fill that out, and that’s the next step. And so then, after the call, we just send them a questionnaire that has, you know, it’s the same template for every couple. It has the million questions that we’ve got to ask as florists. How many tables, you know, what kind of centerpieces? Are they long or round?

All of that like really inane detailed stuff. And if there’s a planner, we like CC the planner on that too. And that’s the next step for them to do. And then after that, we can put together a full proposal with like. The number of tables, the number of bouquets, the, you know, the correct numbers for things.

And then we ask them to have another call, a quick call, half an hour for that, so that we can walk through. The mood board, the proposal, the floral palette, all of the things that we’ve done our homework and put together for them based on those responses.

Becca: So you do a huge amount of work up front before they sign a contract, before they give you any money.

Does that pay off for you? Have you ever had it where, you know, do all the work and then they’re like, actually we changed our mind, like how does that go?

Carolyn: I don’t think that’s ever, that maybe has happened to me one time with this system, but it’s at that point that they’re like gonna do a long questionnaire for me.

They’re pretty much in. It’s just a matter of hammering out details. And so, the way I describe our design process with couples is that it’s collaborative, it’s iterative, like, I want to make sure that you love it before, you know, we move ahead with anything that’s like contractual, and obviously there’s room for changes if changes need to happen.

So the whole thing is sort of engineered to give them security and flexibility so that they never feel like, Oh my gosh, I’m locked into this thing and it can’t change. And I have to have all my numbers exactly right. Like if we’re 12 months from your wedding, I know you’re not going to have guest counts.

That’s fine. You know, get our best guesses in. But yeah, it’s, it’s never, I think maybe it’s happened one time where my gut said, this person is not a good fit. And I went ahead and did all of the things anyway, and then they ended up not booking me and I was like, I actually think that’s a great thing, but I actually asked for a call with the person who was in charge and said, Hey, can we talk about why you didn’t book me?

And, they thought my process was like too much and they didn’t want to give me access to the couple to like meet with them. And they thought that that was not, I don’t know, that I was asking too much. And I was like, great. I don’t want to work for people that I don’t meet. So that’s excellent.

Becca: It red flags for you.

And again, if you know your process and people don’t fit into that process. Let them walk on by because you’ll find someone else who absolutely will. And presumably the whole point of all that work you’ve done up front is that by the time they get to this point, they pretty much already know what’s involved, what it’s going to cost, like they’re ready to go.

If they, you know, if they had any concerns, you’d have already addressed them in all those emails up front.

Carolyn: Yeah, and even on this, the quote unquote, the sales call, that first call that we have together, you know, when I talk about budget, I asked them like, what feels like a stretch for you? You know, what feels like you would be happy to spend?

Is your budget flexible? Like, just so that I know what constraints I need to work in to make this work for them. Because I never want to say, yeah, I think that’s doable. And then show them a proposal that’s got like, you know, 4, 000 of extra florals tacked on that they weren’t expecting. So it’s really important that I understand kind of their, not just the number, but kind of how they’re feeling about their budget and make sure that I speak to that when we do finally have like.

The brass tacks laid out. Excellent.

Becca: And do you find that once you’ve got brides and grooms through this process, they, they have your flowers, they love your flowers. I’m sure they do. Do you then get recommendations to people, send people back to the top of the system again?

Carolyn: Yes. So that’s the beauty of this system is like, not only is it mostly automated and I’m able to serve people without doing very much at all.

But by the time they book with me, we now know a lot about each other and that relationship just keeps building as we’re working on their wedding. So, I mean, we’re talking about sales, but really it’s more than just that when you get someone booked because then you’re welcoming them into your business officially.

You know, we’re sending them check ins. We’re telling them what we’re doing behind the scenes. We’re keeping in touch with our clients. We don’t book them and then eight months later do their flowers. So throughout that time, you know, we’re, we’re continuing that relationship building so that by the time that they get our flowers, like we are friends.

We’re not just a business owner and a customer. Like it’s way beyond that. And. You know, on the wedding day, like, of course they love the final product, but they are as invested in my success as I am invested in their wedding going well. And so what that leads to is I get fabulous reviews. I get referrals to their friends and family.

I get repeat business. I don’t normally do like. Daily deliveries or that kind of thing. but I tell my clients you’re the only people I will do that for And so sometimes somebody’s birthday happens or there’s a baby shower or something else and I do those little things one offs for my clients And that’s, you know, extra money in the bank.

Like, so it just, this relationship is just so fruitful and it just, most of my business now is, is referral based because of that.

Becca: I think it’s really smart. I love everything you’ve done. There’s so many great nuggets of information in what you’ve shared. It’s the kind of episode that people are going to have to go back and listen to two or three times with a pen and paper to just.

Unpick because there’s so many good things in there that you share. And I think it’s going to be really inspiring for people listening to help them think differently about that initial inquiry process. And you’ve got something great to share with the listeners of this podcast. I’m really excited about.

So if they’re listening and they’re thinking, this sounds amazing, this nurture sequence, these emails sound incredible, but I don’t understand how they work. Tell us about what you’ve got to give people.

Carolyn: Yeah. So I figured the easiest thing was just to kind of show you like literally behind the screen of my business.

So you can get a peek at exactly what I’m doing. So I have the gen, the 10 gentle sales emails that I send to my wedding clients. Ready for you to download. You can just go to carolynkulb. com slash ready to grow and get your copy. You’ll see all of the emails in there exactly what I say to people. And I also put in a little blurb of like, why am I sending this email specifically in this moment?

And so I hope that that gives you like a little bit of inspiration and some, I guess, theory behind why I’m doing it this way. And, and ideas for your own sequence or what else you can automate in your business to make sure that you’re building that trust with clients so that they can buy from you.

Becca: That is so generous of you.

It’s such a great resource for people to download. I’ll make sure that I pop the link to that in the show notes. So if you’re listening to this, make sure you go and grab a copy of that. Go through it. Think of your own creative ideas, but learn and see how Carolyn’s done it in her business. Now, Carolyn, I always end my podcast with the same question, which is what’s one thing you wish you’d known sooner in your own business?

Carolyn: I think we touched on this at the beginning. But knowing that it’s not enough to be great at your craft, at planning, at floristry, at photography, whatever, this is a business. And so at some point you are going to have to buckle down and learn how to be good at business if you want to make a living from this.

So, you know, maybe 20% of my time is spent doing my amazing craft that I love. And the other 80% is marketing, sales, you know, taking care of clients. Doing all of the business y things, doing my taxes, like all of the stuff that we don’t like to think about, that’s most of what you are going to be doing in a business.

So if that doesn’t sound good to you, like you probably are in the wrong business and should maybe like keep it a hobby, but when I started I thought, oh, it’s gonna be amazing. I’ll just flower all the time. I’ll get to play with flowers all the time, and it’s gonna be great. And while it is great, I’ve also had to learn a lot of things along the way to be a profitable business.

Becca: Absolutely. And we’re always learning all of the time. Carolyn, thank you so much for being here today. If people want to find out more about you, about your floristry business, where’s the best places for them to find you?

Carolyn: You can see my floral design business at bloompoet. com. That’s for wedding clients.

But if you want to take a look at it, it’s there for you. If you want to learn more about my sales system, my emails, all of that good stuff, go to carolynkulb. com. My Instagram is at carolynkulb. And I also have a Facebook community called the wedding expert community on Facebook. I go live every Tuesday ish to like help people with various parts of their systems and businesses and sales and all of that good stuff.

So if you would like to join that group, I would love to have you.

Becca: Fabulous. I will make sure that I put all of those links in the show notes so that people can find you. Thank you for being here, Carolyn. Thank you for sharing and I’ll speak to you soon.

Carolyn: Thank you so much, Becca. Thanks for having me. It’s been an honor and a privilege, and I’m just so grateful for the opportunity.

Thank you.

Becca: Didn’t you just love all of that information from Carolyn? She was incredible. So many great pieces of information. Things that I just, they’re so simple but yet so effective. So do go back and listen again, take notes, and make sure you go and get that download because that will be invaluable.

I’ll see you all next week.

Becca xo

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