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Jun 29, 2010

PR Tips 101: Choose Your Wedding Clients Wisely

* Congratulations to Josefa Laguna who won the Island Spray Tan giveaway on our blog post last week!*

I recently read an extremely insightful blog entry from the uber smart Seth Godin. The post was about how as business owners we need to be more choosey about who we work with. We need to decide what kind of clients we want and to seek them.  If we settle for whomever contacts us our business will lack focus and direction. Some of you are probably thinking- well if I raise my rates to brides and someone can afford what I want to be paid-they are my type of client. Really? What if their style will only keep you in a certain league of creditability and respect regarding your video, photo, planning, stationery business? The kind of clients you are pursuing and taking on will directly effect the climate of your company. Seth said, “Sell to angry cheapskates and your business will reflect that. On the other hand, when you find great customers, they will eagerly co-create with you. They will engage and invent and spread the word.” There is nothing more rewarding than when I know I chose the right person to work with. They are kind, grateful, pass my name on to others, and appreciate all my team’s efforts. Then there are those that no matter what you do- big or small,  they will never be happy. Do you know who I’m talking about? Yeah- I bet you do!  I think we can all say which of those we would prefer to work with, so why are we still letting the occasional undesirable slip by?

I think we get trapped, especially in this economy, in wanting to be busy. If there is business we feel foolish turning it down. This is not necessarily the best thing for us in the short term- because its our bottom line at stake,  however business wise it is the smartest thing we can do.

You have to be intentional about who you work with- its part of your long term story- your message- and your point of difference. Not everyone that comes to us for PR, branding or our coaching services are a fit for us. I notice that a large portion of them come to me and then within 24 hours have already announced or tweeted they found someone else. I’m happy they landed what was best for them. Its such a good reminder for me that I was right! That my instinct was dead on and that they were not the client for Be Inspired PR.

I spoke to a coaching client of mine yesterday (a team of two) who have very little experience as wedding planners and we discussed the importance about being intentional with whom they work with from the beginning. How they are perceived is crucial, especially as the new kids on the block. It got me to thinking if many of you out there had to start all over again: WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY?  Who would you market it to and how you would you attract them? Make the shift NOW to start booking the kind of client you have always wanted and say no to the client that no longer is in your best interest to work with. That wedding is probably  a lot more work than you are willing to put into it for the price they want to pay anyways.

It may be easier to take what comes to you but in the long run working a little harder for the type of client you really want to work for will pay off. Seth put it perfectly when he said, “It takes vision and guts to turn someone down and focus on a different segment, on people who might be more difficult to sell at first, but will lead you where you want to go over time.” I am sure that this idea is controversial, that some of you are fighting tooth and nail just to stay afloat in your event based business but in any small way you can, seek the clients you are dying to work for, push yourself. You and your business are worth it and your hard work will be reflected in the direction your business travels in- for your PR efforts and how you are perceived, this means everything!

Photo By Elizabeth Messina

*This post was originally published November 09*

  • Happy Tuesday and thanks for another great tip. I really enjoy reading these articles.

  • Really great post today Leila! Thanks for reminding us that all business is not necessarily good business!

  • read the same thing on seth’s blog and couldn’t agree more. 🙂 well put!

  • kellee

    So true! Sometimes its best to let the “lookie loos” keep looking. If you don’t see the value in our services then its most likely not a fit for you!

    Keep it coming…

  • Leila, SERIOUSLY. I learned a tough lesson about this the hard way. And I totally had a gut feeling when I met with this particular bride. on the opposite hand, I just worked with a client who was the PERFECT fit for jesi haack weddings and it was beyond an amazing relationship the entire process. I now will “interview” my clients as much as they are interviewing me! So important to have a connection!

  • YES YES and YES!!!!! there are those clients out there that really arent a fit for us…we dont need to take them on for the sake of taking them on…it’s easy to say “well i’m not booked yet that weekend…i might as well”! but ultimately, that kind of bride is what you will keep on attracting if you allow yourself to work with people who werent a fit to being with…

  • So true! I finally just let a client go because it was too difficult to come to a point where we could see eye to eye. I know I did the right thing and I hope I can keep following your advice in the future. I am sure it will pay off.

  • Such a great article! I learned the hard way doing styling for weddings on the side before going full steam ahead with Lollipop! It has been so great learning that lesson before we jumped in feet first with our company. It has been so great and we have felt so lucky! We seem to attract clients that are absolute dreams to work with and give us a ton of design freedom! Great article, couldn’t be truer.

  • I couldn’t agree more with your post. Vendor-client chemistry and synchronicity is crucial. If you don’t have it or if you have a bad gut feeling when you talk or meet with the potential client, pass on the business and refer the potential client to another vendor you feel will be a better fit for them. This is the way we’ve run our business for the past 9 years. The contract is between two parties, the vendor and the client, and both have to feel comfortable and happy with the partnership. If one or the other is out of sync, it will show: the vendor’s heart and enthusiasm will not be in the work, and/or the client will feel that their vision was not realized. Only good, qualified business = good business. Taking any/all business or bad business never = good business.

  • Wonderful. Thank you for reinforcing the idea that we should be as selective with our clients as clients are with us. We’ve learned this lesson firsthand, but it never hurts to have a reminder like this post. Thank you!

  • Tony

    Great post today Leila, I will be applying this for new business ventures….

  • Very, very true!

  • Such a great post! Thank you for the reminder!

  • Ahhh—this was so refreshing! Thank you for reminding me to FOCUS on the clients that I want and that are a great fit for my business! A great way to kill a great business, especially as it is just getting started, is to be so desperate to start work that you compromise on getting the clientele that is right for you! Thank you, Leila for your insight on this one (:

  • Leila, I’m LOVING the wisdom of “Be Intential: Choosing Your Clients Wisely.”

    What a difference attracting a *right fit* client makes. I have been so inspired and re-energized by some recent clients— and it’s all because we have shared values. It’s hard to serve a client and have a win-win outcome in the wedding business, when your business has core values that are much different than those of the client.

  • Beautifully said! I’ve adapted the term “We are not for every bride” about a year ago when I met a photographer who charges what some would consider to be a bit pricy just to shoot, as she stated to me “I’m not for every Bride” that really resonated well and I’ve just sort of emulate that and so far it has served us well 🙂

  • thank you so much for posting this! I’ve recently had 2 brides say they loved my work, but I was out of their price range. I played with the idea of working something out with them but ended up not doing it. I’ve been uncertain about my decision but now I know I did the right thing. I don’t want to “sell out” and like you said towards the end, it would be a lot more work for the price they wanted to pay. Thanks again! Great advice/reminder at just the right time.

  • Oh man, Seth Godin is brilliant. Surprisingly, I’m in my last semester of earning a degree in PR and 9/10 I’m the only one in class that’s heard of him. Ridiculous!! Do you read Dierdre Breckenridge and David Meerman Scott? A few of my favorites!

    Thanks for sharing, sometimes it’s hard to read everything Seth posts, you’ve picked a gem I wouldn’t have wanted to miss.

  • I think it’s great to have focus and I agree that you need to decide where you want your company to go and start walking in that direction!

  • I too have learned this the hard way- thanks for the wise words Leila. Happy 4th!!

  • I truly enjoyed this. It is extremely educational and useful. I will return to check on upcoming articles

  • I can’t agree enough! Over a year ago, I decided to choose my clients – and it’s a fabulous way to go!!! I love each of them, occasionally I am reminded of those that I wasn’t choosy enough with, which helps me stick to my intuition. Good advice!

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