Here's a quick story for all y'all wedding florists getting ghosted...
In 2017-2018 I must have broken some sort of record for the number of wedding consultations conducted to clients booked. And I don't mean some sort of positive, gold metal, on top of the world record...I mean I did hundreds of consultations and only booked dozens of clients. 💩
That was the year I realised my approach really wasn't working. I would have good-enough consultations, say yes to whatever the client wanted. And then it would take me DAYS to pull together the mood board and custom quote (which, by the way, was nowhere near "full price"). I would email it over to the couple. And then....(wait for it)....nothing.
No response. Not even a recognition of the time, energy and effort I had put into everything. Not even a "Thanks but no thanks."
This, my love, is what our industry refers to as "ghosting".
There are SO many things I wish I had learned earlier in my flower business career, so many things I wish someone had told me, particularly when it comes to the whole world of wedding enquiries.
Today, I am so grateful I've learned as much as I have because I can share my foibles and lessons learned with you, my dear stranger on the interwebs.
We've got it all backwards
Our industry teaches us to navigate client enquiries from a totally whackadoo, upsidedown point of view.
For me, I was taught something along these lines:
- The client sends the photos + the wishlist
- You say yes to whatever their demands are
- The client sets the budget
- You make the designs fit the budget
- You must conduct a formal, in-depth, awkward consultation
- Then, you take a tremendous amount of time to do a custom quote, detailed mood board
- A little back and forth, possibly a few questions of how they can get even more for even less
- Then...hopefully...the client finally pays their 25% initial payment
Following this exact process is WHY I got ghosted as often as I did.
Wanna know why doesn't this approach work? Because we, the service provider and expert in the area of flowering and designing, aren't actually looking after the client's needs. We're not answering their biggest questions and we're not making it easy for them to find answers to their questions.
The game changed for me when I learned this one fun fact:
50% of clients book with the vendor who responds first.
And yes, I'm going to challenge you to go one step further. I don't mean "respond first" = "autoresponder" or some generic, "thanks for getting in touch" template. I mean actually giving your clients concrete, helpful information they can make informed decisions with.
Of course, this requires you to break the silence, go against the grain and really blaze a new trail for your business.
Wedding Florists Getting Ghosted: 3 Reasons Why It Happens
Here are three reasons most wedding florists getting ghosted:
#1 You're taking too long to respond
Your clients want information about pricing first and clarity on timing + the process second. You could be losing out on a lot of revenue just because you're taking too long to get back to them with a quick quote and budget recommendation.
#2 Your clients don't see a difference between you and the other girl who is heaps cheaper
When you finally get the courage to price properly, this one feels like a dagger in the heart, doesn't it? All of sudden, you feel like everyone's response is "we found someone cheaper". Wanna know the real reason they're not booking you? They don't see a difference between you and the other girl who is heaps cheaper.
Your potential clients are comparing apples with apples. That's a sure sign it's time to level up your brand, set your sights higher and show the world you're a banana (or a kiwi or a pineapple...or maybe even a cute little lychee).
(Also, be sure to check out this YouTube video for more on Branding + Your Flower Business. And if you're struggling with your pricing, check out this blog post – How to Price Out an Event.)
#3 You're doing everything right and nothing has actually gone wrong
I know, you didn't expect that, did you? But the truth is, if you're booking one in four enquiries, you're on track. Booking one in four also means three of the four are going to say no.
Of course, they might not actually tell you 'no', which means it's possible 75% of the humans are gonna ghost you. That means you're doing it right. Seriously. Where we get ourselves into real trouble is spending hours and hours and hours on enquiries that go nowhere (psst. this is the real problem to solve).
Now, if you're getting ghosted a lot, what can you do about it?
You're here cause you want answers. You're frustrated and irritated and a wee bit disillusioned with the world of flowers + navigating enquiries, right?
My friend, you're in exactly the right place. Remember this one thing: at the end of the day, it's up to you to create a sales process (that's what your enquiry system is), that works for you and your business.
If I could wind back the clock and go back to the beginning, here's what I would tell anyone who feels like they're pushing shit uphill with wedding enquiries...
- You're not going to book every enquiry that comes your way. In fact, 3 out of 4 people are going to reject your offer. Yep, it's very possible that if you're one of the many wedding florists getting ghosted, you're doing it right. But, with that in mind, it means your priority is to create a system that makes the process easy, fairly effortless and ensures you're not spending heaps of time on stuff that's not bringing in the $$$.
- What works for your Flower BFF might not be the right solution for you. Seriously. Just because that person does it a certain way, remember, this is your business and you are creating a custom approach to fit your needs and your client's needs.
- At the end of the day, your clients only have two questions (1) What does my budget get me? (2) How the heck does this whole thing work? Now's the time to forget everything you've ever thought about navigating new enquiries, the song and dance you think you need to go through and get back to basics. Start talking about budgets on Instagram and write a set of helpful blog posts to give your client's guidance and expertise that they can find at a time that is convenient to them (like 11 pm on a Monday night, rather than waiting for you to wake up on Tuesday and email them something). Make your process seem super simple and share it on all your marketing materials (social media, website, create a phone script for you and your staff). And most importantly, take control of the conversation.
- Consultations aren't for everyone. Literally. Some clients don't want them and lots of florists don't do them. So don't assume they are a must. Many clients are happy to book in, pay their initial payment, without ever having met you. So set up a system that addresses your client's core needs and is easily scalable for your business. On the flip side, if consultations are your thing and they help you close the sale, keep going, baby!
- Make it your priority to simplify your process. Yes, you can systemise, streamline and template a huge amount of the process. But remember this: Job #1, get back to your clients with a quick quote and recommendation on how to allocate the budget. Ideally, something more helpful than a general pricelist (humans are so lazy they don't even want to do the math).
- Keep adjusting and refining. Every new enquiry is an opportunity to test out a new idea. The more you keep playing around with new ideas, paying attention to what's working, the less time you'll be wasting on enquiries that go nowhere.
In the end, wedding florists getting ghosted is normal. It's part of the process. Your job is to create a system that frees up your time and energy and makes it easy for your clients to say "Yes, I'd love to work with you, magic flower fairy!"
Make today the last day you stay stuck and start tweaking your approach. Put yourself in your client's shoes and get creative with your thinking. Then start tracking your data.
Your goal is to get to the point of booking one in four enquiries...and if 75% of the humans who enquire ghost you, that means you're doing it right. Keep up the good work!