Let’s Get Real: What to do when your client has off-the-wall ideas

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February 17, 2017

Picture this: You’re all ready for a prospective meeting, with your notebook and samples prepared to show a potential client. They show up and you seem to really get along—but then, they divulge that they want to incorporate something outrageous into their wedding.

These days, it seems like this situation is a common one. More and more, couples are looking to have a unique wedding that suits their personalities. They don’t want to have the same wedding experience as their friends have had, so they’re drawing on other areas of their life like interests, hobbies, and family traditions to help put a personal spin on their special day.

Here’s an anecdote of my own experience with off-the-wall ideas: A couple of ours wanted a local pizza restaurant to cook pizzas onsite for 200 guests. After reaching out to the restaurant to see if they would cook offsite, we had the task of finding a pizza oven to use at the venue. What we didn’t know was that those with pizza ovens don’t want others to make pizzas in their oven. After emailing over 30 companies in a 100-mile radius, we had to accept that we wouldn’t be able to get a pizza oven. Luckily, we had already told the clients it would be a long shot from the get-go, but it still wasn’t easy to tell them they couldn’t have their dream. In the end, they opted for a six-course tasting menu from a noteworthy local caterer and everybody was happy with the choice.

The reason I tell that story is because it shows how we handle off-the-wall ideas. In most cases, we find it worth exploring the possibility. If we can give a client their dream, we will do everything in our power to make it happen. With that said, it’s still important to discuss your concerns in the beginning so the client doesn’t find themselves disappointed if things don’t go as planned.

Budgetary considerations

If you’re familiar with what they want but are unsure of whether it fits in their budget, I encourage overestimating the cost and time of an idea. It’s always better to give them the good news that they’re saving money than telling them they need to pay more. On the other hand, it’s best to avoid making assumptions or giving a quote for something you’ve never done. Tell them you have to do your research and get back to them.

In other cases, it may be clear from the start that their idea won’t work logistically or it won’t fit in their budget. In that situation, it’s important to address the concern immediately and offer alternatives that can achieve the vision for their event.

When it comes down to it, don’t oversell yourself. Don’t make it sound like everything is doable if you have doubts. At the same time, don’t be afraid of doing something that you’ve never done! If it’s possible, your clients will be over the moon and it’ll certainly make for an interesting addition to your portfolio.

 

Jennifer Taylor is the owner of Taylor’d Events Group, a planning firm that specializes in celebrations of all kinds in the Pacific Northwest and Maui. She is also the creator of The Taylor’d Plan, a self-administered class for wedding planners to grow and improve upon their skills.

 

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