Every job has at least one. You know who I’m talking about….Those people whose sole purpose on earth seems to be to make everyone else miserable. Leaving them behind has been one of the biggest benefits of self-employment.
However, when we work for ourselves, we sometimes have clients who give those difficult people at our previous jobs a run for their money. We all get them at some point. I really only had one actual bridezilla and she took her frustrations out on her parents instead of me. While some of my bridezilla-less career was due to luck, I’d like to think most of it was due to my calm nature and proactive behavior.
Recognize a Personality Conflict Early On
As much as we want everyone to like us, some people won’t. The reverse is also true. I’ve met with potential clients who bored me to tears from the minute we shook hands, tried to run the initial meeting or crowded my personal space. My number one goal from the minute I met them was to talk to them long enough to be polite and to get them back out the door.
If someone gets on your nerves as soon as you meet them, it’s not going to get any better as you endure the hours and stress of planning a wedding together.
Have Them Be Specific About Their Priorities
One of the frustrating parts of being a wedding planner is that our clients rarely understand how much behind the scenes work we do to make their wedding a success. However, you need to make sure you’re spending your time on the elements they care about.
Find out at their first meeting what their priorities are and what they expect from a planner. Try to establish how much communication they expect. Not everyone who needs their hand held is a bridezilla, but you want to make sure you’re up for the challenge of coddling them. You also want to make sure you charge them for the extra TLC.
Under Promise and Over Deliver
When you’re trying to close a sale, never, ever, ever make statements such as, “I’ll hold your hand” or “I’ll be on speed-dial.” Some people will hear, “I’m here for you on a reasonable basis.” Others will hear, “You can call me any time, day or night and I’ll drop what I’m doing to make your wedding my number one priority.”
Great word of mouth comes from people who get more than they expect. If you promise to give them the world, you can’t give them more than they expect.
Establish Control Early On
Make sure your contract specifies how many meetings are included and who will initiate those meetings. As soon as possible after the contract is signed, set up an appointment to establish a planning timeline. Make sure the client knows that even though they’ll occasionally get behind or work ahead, you’ll only be able to make their planning tasks a priority if they stick to a schedule you helped create.
Make sure you’re clear about when you accept phone calls, how long it takes you to return them and how quickly you’ll respond to email. You can’t expect clients to respect your boundaries if they don’t know what your boundaries are. I like to send out a welcome letter to new clients which begins with gratitude and excitement, but segues into clarifying our working relationship.
No matter how many safeguards we set up and no matter how great our couples are, there will still be occasional bumps in the bridal path. However, as the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. “