Closing the Reluctant Bride

For many years, part of my trained sales pitch was “You need to be in my Wedding Magazine because you are part of a ‘must buy’ industry”. The fact is most Brides would buy the product or service I was pitching to, but what I did not take time to relate to was the point of view of the Bride (purchaser) or the point of view of the business (the seller). This becomes key in understanding the reluctance of the Bride to purchase a product or service which in many weddings, she has determined she would not go without. The Fact is, that in most case, the Bride “must” buy, the thing is she this “must” buy doesn’t have to be with you. Let’s talk about how to fix that.

Here is what I mean: A Bride decides that she is at the point of talking to a photographer about taking pictures for her wedding. She knows she has to get a photographer and has decided with her fiancé that they are getting a good photographer. She shows up to speak with the photographer and here’s what happens next:

1) 20% of the Brides book on the spot (your closing ration may be higher, but based upon what have heard in speaking to many photographers, this is the norm. It also depends upon how many other vendors they have seen. If you can position yourself as the third vendor they see, your closing ratio will grow)

2) 80% delay the decision even though this photographer meets every requirement that she and her fiancé have set. For one or more reasons they want to “think it over” or “sleep on it”.

Why does this happen? Two reason-In many cases it is plain and simple Sticker Shock-She has never spent that much money on photography before in her life. In most cases it is because of the photographer (by the way, I am not just picking on the photographers-it happens across the board in every industry)

Let me get inside your mind for a minute. What happens when you get a quote for something that you rarely have ever had done? Let’s say you are getting a new roof for your house. In most cases, you put on a roof and it lasts you for 15-20 years, so put inflation into the mix and you don’t regularly get quotes for a new roof. The estimate person comes to your house, climbs around on your roof for 10 minutes, pokes at the eves with their hammer and then comes down and spend 15 minutes in their car writing an estimate (or if they are a bad salesperson, they tell you they will fax it to you). You get the estimate-$6,000. The estimator goes on to say that your decking needs replacing because there is some rot and the facia board is also deteriorating and the cost of roof shingles has just gone up due to import taxes from China, yada, yada, yada (by the way, I don’t mean to infer that this is a bogus quote-but many times that is how you feel-correct?). You first reaction is to balk at the Price because psychologically you are put in a position of stress (you are not thinking of protecting your property right then; you are thinking of draining your bank account or running up your Visa and there goes that Caribbean Cruise next Spring). The first reaction of the typical estimator is to say,

“How about you think about it for a few days and I will get back to you”. Let’s face it the only person thinking about it after he leaves is him because you want to take yourself away from the pain of spending your “pleasure” or “fun” money for something not so pleasurable or fun.

Now let’s get back to the Bride- she wants (or you can say needs) the photography but she is reluctant to buy and the photographer (in most cases) is reluctant to sell. Why? Because the last thing anyone wants to be is “pushy”. As a business owner your habits as a consumer creep in. Here is a Very important statement for you to realize:

You sell like you buy and you buy like you sell.

If you put off buying decisions, you will allow you Brides to do the same. By being indecisive, you will find yourself identifying and saying in the innermost regions of your mind “Hey, I think like that. I would probably do the same thing.” You would then promptly let her off the hook and while she “thinks if over” you have just lost a customer.

I want you to think about the last 10 “Think About It’s”. How many of them actually came back and bought? Studies show that 9 out of 10 “Think about it’s” never come back. Here is a follow up I will ask when this comes up with me: Just to make sure I’ve covered my bases, what are the top items that you need to review before you make your decision?

There are other items to the sale that need to be there before she will buy. Here are the top three:
The right decision maker- if you don’t get all of them to the appointment, getting the sale will be rough at bestMaking sure the budget matches the priority- this is different than simply asking “ how much did you plan on spending” Making sure the personalities match up-this is particularly true with vendors who provide services rather than products. A great personality will trump talent almost every day.

Learn to meet the Bride where it matters to her and on the items that matter to her and you will be able to start to overcome Bridal Buying Reluctance.

Until Next Week, Here’s to your Success!


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