Wedding Pros: Need the Words to Say During this Crisis?
With the COVID-19 outbreak, it's almost impossible to know what to say to couples. That’s why we’re creating a resource library with email templates and swipe files to help you know exactly how to communicate with your clients during this difficult time. FREE. NO CHARGE. We just want to do our small part to help your wedding business. Drop your email below to receive live time updates as we create these resources.
Read time: 15 mins
COVID-19 (or the coronavirus) has affected businesses on a global scale, but it’s hitting the event and wedding industry in a VERY real and direct way. From wedding postponements to cancellations, many wedding pros feel understandably unsure of what the next few weeks or months will hold.
This pandemic is forcing our wedding businesses to evolve almost overnight as we focus on guiding our clients through an uncertain time. While we face many challenges, we also know there are still many opportunities ahead.
We fully believe there is light and abundance to be found in this season when we band together and find a way through this.
At The Abundance Group, we know that implementing innovative cash-flow strategies is one of the best ways to fight the anxiety that comes with running a wedding business right now.
We want to serve fellow wedding professionals like you by sharing THREE tangible, actionable, RIGHT NOW steps you can take to get in control of your cash.
Cash-flow has two main components.
- Cash that comes into your business. This includes your revenue, sales, and ARs (accounts receivable). We want more of this, and FAST.
- Cash that comes OUT from your business. This includes any business expenses including bills, costs, marketing, etc.
We’ll be focusing mostly on strategies that bring cash into your business for this article.
But before we start and dig into the strategies, make us a promise that right now, you’ll open up a new tab on your computer, open your calendar, and pick a two-hour time slot for your own cash-flow brainstorming session.
IF you do this and work during your two hour window, YOU WILL HAVE SOLUTIONS for your wedding business. This is THE MOST IMPORTANT responsibility you have right now in your business.
Okay, now let’s dig in.
Incentivize Couples to Pay Remaining Balances:
The first way we can infuse cash into our business is to review any remaining balances that are due in the next few months.
As an industry, many of us are already communicating with our couples about postponing their weddings rather than cancelling. In this case, we know they will be using our services, just at a later date. With this in mind, it makes sense to incentivize them to keep their original balance payment schedule.
Real World: I own one of the largest planning companies in the country (The Simply Elegant Group for those who want to fact check!) so our team has already had experience with handling this.
Our contracts state that final balances are due 14 days prior to their wedding (which is the remaining 50% for us). Our cancellation/postponement policy states that they would need to give us a 30 day notice for their remaining balance due date to update with their new date in mind.
So, as it stands right now, couples getting married in late April could change their date, and their remaining balance would move to 14 days prior to their NEW wedding date.
We need this cash-flow in our business. We have salaried team members and fixed costs coming over the next three months, so we need clients to continue paying those balances.
Our Solution: Offering them unlimited planning hours (instead of our standard 10 hours) when they keep their original payment date.
We will make less money on these weddings (as my employees are paid hourly for their work on the wedding day) so my costs will be higher, yes. I will be less profitable on these spring weddings, but I will have the cash-flow we need to get us into the fall months.
Now it’s your turn: Here is what you need to do.
- Check your contracts.
- What are the payment terms?
- What are the cancellation terms?
- Create 2-3 different incentives you can offer.
- These need to be HIGH VALUE for the client and a LOW cost to you.
- Create a list of clients to reach out to.
Send emails with the offer and method of payment.
Creative Ideas: You know your clients better than anyone when it comes to understanding what services they really love and value, but here are some ideas to get you started:
- Unlimited Hours
- Additional team members (second assistants, shooters, etc.)
- Free upgrades
- Free additional sessions
- 20% off balance
- Free gifts
- Package upgrades
(Hint: If you need copy for these emails, we are partnering with one of the top copywriters in the country. At the end of this article, we are taking requests on ANY templates you need in order to communicate with your clients. Be sure to let us know that this piece is one of them if you would like us to build that resource.)
Upgrade Current Client Packages:
Clients who are getting married later this year are already feeling tense, even though their wedding dates aren’t directly affected by what’s going on right now. A great way to serve them is to openly communicate with them and ask if there is anything additional you can do for them given the current situation.
This is an opportunity to gauge how they’re currently feeling and offer opportunities to additional services to add to their wedding at a lower cost. This not only allows you to create a stronger bond of trust with each couple but it also creates more cash-flow for you or your team.
Real World: At Simply Elegant, we are going to be offering additional planning hours at a discounted rate. We typically charge $85/hour for our pre-planning hours with our couples but now we will be charging $50/hour. This is a steep discount, but it still keeps us profitable, and again, it will bring more cash into our company.
- Brainstorm 10 different “Upgrades” you could offer.
- Create a one-page PDF with these offerings.
- Create a list of clients to reach out to.
- Send emails with the offer and method of payment.
Creative Ideas: Again, you know your business best here. Revisit your profit margins and see how valuable cash-flow is for your business right now. By using this strategy, you will have lower profit margins in the short term but you WILL have more cash.
- Discounts on hourly rates
- Added service
- Adding on additional team members
(Hint: You might only get one shot at this cash-flow strategy so be thoughtful about the kind of incentives you offer to clients. We also recommend you do one of these concepts at a time. Then, in a few weeks, you can extend any other offers if more cash is needed.)
Referral Incentives for Your Close Network:
Getting additional clients on your books would be a huge help right now. This is a great time to be extremely intentional in your referral conversations. When done tastefully, this method can absolutely bring you more clients during this time of transition. We see this in our wedding planning business all the time, which we’ll talk about next.
Real World: This is a story of how we have prioritized giving referrals to others at Simply Elegant. Even during this crisis, this particular vendor continues to get business from us based on our referral partnerships.
As planners, we are hit up ALL the time for people to get referrals from us. As a larger company, it probably comes as no surprise that we probably get 10-15 emails PER DAY from vendors who “want to be on our preferred vendor list.” But which vendors do you think we actually add? Which ones do you think we actually want to support?
The ones who have built a personal relationship with us.
I want to tell you about my friend Brian. I haven’t had the privilege to meet him yet, but his impression on myself and our team has been long-lasting.
Brian is a successful wedding photographer in Chicago (please go check out his work here.) whose work is impeccable and absolutely stunning. Brian connected with our team in 2019 and was interested in working with our most in-demand planner, Ashley C. EVERYONE wants to be on Ashley’s “go-to” list, and I’m sure Brian knew how valuable that was.
So what did Brian do?
First off, he reached out via Instagram with a simple message to learn more about the company. Then he had a great conversation with Ashley where she was able to learn more about his business model and how well he served his clients. Soon after, Ashley had a client in need of a photographer so Brian stood out right away. Ashley connected her client with Brian and they booked!
Right afterwards, Brian connected with Ashley and thanked her profusely for the referral and asked for her mailing address. Ashley assumed that it was to send a Thank You card as she received often. A few days later, she received a package.
Inside that package was a signed Green Bay football by Aaron Rodgers, Ashley’s favorite player. Brian had gone out of his way, researched online, found out Ashley has a deep love for the Packers (we won’t hold that against her) and Aaron is her favorite player.
Do you think Brian gets business from Simply Elegant today? YOU BET he does.
My point here is not about giving gifts. It’s about making others feel thought of and important while doing the work it takes to ensure you are adding value to referral partners on a personal level.
- Brainstorm 10 different wedding vendor friends.
- Create a list of people with a list of incredible gifts, offers, or incentives you can give them.
- Brainstorm 10 past clients you loved.
- Again, create a list of people and things they would love.
- Send off PERSONALIZED emails to each connecting on referral incentives.
The idea here is to dig deep and be thoughtful.
What can you do to stand out to them right now??
Creative Ideas: Once you have your list, do your research! Look up their website and their social channels (and while you're there, give them a little love in the comments!) Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Did a photographer you loved working with have an older camera bag?
- What about a planner friend who has a love of craft beer? (Points at self...)
- And a florist who is obsessed with Billie Eilish?
- A venue manager who has 10 pictures of her labradoodle on her desk?
- Catering lead that follows the NBA religiously?
- DJ that has a crazy collection of Disney memorabilia?
My point here is everyone has something that is important to them. If you find out what these things are, you can SHOW THEM they are important to you. This is how you build strong relationships and gain referrals during times of crisis.
(Hint: Do you need help with what to say in these emails?? We are working on swipe copy, so if you are interested or have additional needs for swipe email copy, please let us know...)
We truly hope that these three ideas give you action items and help you feel a little more in control during these uncertain times. Our goal in creating this article is to show that even in the unexpected moments, there is always room to think in an abundant way that leads to innovation and stronger client relationships.
To help our fellow wedding pros, we have been recording multiple Facebook Live videos inside our free Facebook group, Wedding Pros Guide to Abundance. Come join us to talk more about cash-flow strategies and connect with a like-minded community who can give encouragement and advice during the pandemic.
We’re also planning to create an archive of email swipe copy and other written communication you can use to communicate with your couples AND allows you to give your couples an idea of what they should send their guests. See below for more information.
Was this resource helpful? If so, it can probably help other pros you know too. Be sure to share with others in the wedding industry!
Please copy this link:
And share on Facebook!!
About the Authors
Dale & Ashley
The Abundance Group
Together, Dale and Ashley are the dad/daughter duo behind the membership for wedding pros, helping you get the results you’ve been striving for in your wedding business. We provide education and support to help our wedding pros abundantly navigate and grow through any situation—yes, even the coronavirus pandemic!
Kayla Hollatz Expert Copy Writer
Kayla Hollatz is a website strategist and copywriter who works with wedding pros and creative entrepreneurs to create messaging that connects and converts. Working with clients like ConvertKit, Showit, Flodesk, and Interact, she takes her knowledge of conversion strategies and fuses it with her knack for brand voice development and storytelling.
Need a Specific Resource Written for Your Business?
We are creating additional email and copy writing templates every day as we listen to what the wedding pro community needs. To submit your request, email our team directly so we can add this to our list of resources to build for you. Our email: [email protected].