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How To Sell Your Wedding Planning Services: The 7 Stages Of The Sales Cycle

December 31, 2023

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I'm Candice, your new tell-it-like-it-is BFF (and purpose cheerleader). Are you ready to grow and scale a profitable business with purpose–and one that gives back to your meaningful life? Thought so!

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Are you ready to level up your selling game and boost your confidence in your business? If you're looking to book more couples as a wedding planner, it's imperative that you get comfortable with sales but if you are reading this, I have a feeling you’ve figured that out already. In this article, I'm going to walk you through an overview of the seven stages of the sales cycle and how to sell your wedding planning services!

But before we dive in, I want to have a heart-to-heart with you about the role you play in your business. As an entrepreneur, you wear multiple hats – from the chief IT officer to the financial officer, and even the customer-freaking-delight officer. Amidst all these responsibilities though, sales might just be the most critical. Trust me, I learned this firsthand when I started my own business as a wedding planner. Without sales, there's no business, sister! So in this article, I want to give you an overview of each stage of the sales cycle, and I hope it will help boost your sales skills and confidence. Ready to get started?

Getting Ghosted?

Before we dive into the 7 stages of the sales process and get you to start selling more as a wedding planner, let's take a moment to address a common occurrence that we've all encountered: getting ghosted. It doesn't matter how skilled you are in the art of selling, it happens to the best of us. But here's the thing: there are steps you can take to help it happen less. Sales is like a muscle that you can continuously strengthen. With persistent effort and practice, you can become exceptional at it! So, don't lose heart if you face a few rejections along the way. And always remember, getting ghosted is not always a reflection of your abilities or worth. It's just a part of the journey. Keep pushing forward!

Stage One: Prospecting 

When the sales cycle begins, it starts with marketing and attracting your ideal customers. While marketing and attracting people, you also pre-qualify and vet those customers to ensure they're the right fit for your business. Not everyone who walks through your door will be a good prospect. 

In the prospecting stage, you toss out lots of lines with hooks, trying to catch fish. Some of the fish you catch will be great fits for your business, while others will have to be thrown back. In this stage of the selling process, you vet and filter out leads acquired through your marketing, keeping the ones that are the best fit for your business. 

Stage Two: Preparation

Next, we need to start preparing for the rest of the sales cycle. In the preparation phase, you're likely exchanging a few emails back and forth with a lead, asking questions and trying to get more information. You're also continuing to ensure you aren’t moving forward with any customers that don't align with what it is you do and why you do it. Trust me – you don’t want to book more couples who don’t value what you value. This stage of the sales cycle is primarily about getting the information you need to move forward or release any potential clients that aren’t a good fit.

Stage Three: Approach 

The approach stage is when we have our first meaningful interaction with a lead. It's the consultation, whether by phone, zoom call, or in person. During this stage, you get to sit down and talk to the lead, continuing to pre-qualify. Having already prepared for the call in the last stage, during the approach phase you transition into showcasing your services while assisting potential customers in finding the solution to their specific needs. Now, can you start to see how these stages all work together if your goal is to start selling more as a wedding planner?

Stage Four: Presentation

As a wedding professional, you understand the importance of visuals in our industry. Your customers make purchasing decisions based on what they see. As I like to say, “the eye buys”. After the initial conversation (or “approach”), it's time to present your offer. This typically takes place towards the end of the call and continues through email. Whether it's a proposal, a quote, or a detailed presentation of your pricing and services, the way you present your offerings can make or break the sale. Remember, a poor presentation can result in lost sales. This is easily one of the most important stages in the sales process.

Stage Five: Handling Objections

Objections are barriers that customers present during the sales process. These can be expressed as questions or remain internalized. The reality is that every lead likely has an objection, preventing them from making a purchase today. 

Common objections include needing more research, seeking more opinions, or uncertainty about affordability and time constraints. 

Handling objections effectively is crucial to ensuring leads feel supported and confident in their decision to hire you. However, at this stage of the sales process, it's not just about managing objections, but also about inviting objections into the sales process. This stage is vital but often uncomfortable for many. By answering tough questions and addressing customer concerns, you can guide them from uncertainty to signing your contract and paying your invoice with confidence.

Stage Six: Closing the Sale

Yes – closing the sale is not the last stage as you start selling more as a wedding planner. In this stage, we are asking our potential customers to make a decision. It’s okay to apply some pressure to get them to decide whether they'll move forward with us. If they do, we close the sale by accepting payment and obtaining their signature on our contract. 

And listen – despite what you want to hear, it often requires several follow-ups to successfully close the sale. Unfortunately, many sales fall through prematurely at this stage due to insufficient follow-up. After all, if you are like most of the women I coach, you know you don’t follow up enough! 

Stage Seven: Wrapping Up the Sale

Here's where many people go wrong: we have “love bombed” this person at every stage of the sales cycle. Whether it took us three days or three months to get here, we've been prompt in answering every email and phone call. We've been enthusiastic, and we need to maintain that energy once they sign and send us their money. This is crucial in the wrap-up stage: onboarding the customer and confirming their purchase. We want them to be happy that they said yes and to feel supported and nurtured. By doing this, we can prevent buyer's remorse and service cancellations and ensure they feel great about signing on with us! Don’t take your foot off the gas pedal once you make the sale!

A woman working on a computer at a desk, focusing on Selling More As a Wedding Planner.

If You Want to Start Selling More as a Wedding Planner, You Need To Master These 7 Stages of Selling

Here’s a quick recap of the 7 stages:

  1. Prospecting
  2. Preparation
  3. Approach
  4. Presentation
  5. Handling Objections
  6. Closing the Sale
  7. Wrapping up

As a wedding planner, sales might not be your favorite part of running a business. However, it's essential if you want to book more couples and increase revenue. Mastering the 7 stages of selling outlined above helps ensure that you can close each sale with confidence and make sure that your customer feels great about signing up for your services. After all, if you don't maintain enthusiasm and keep nurturing them after the sale is made, they might end up feeling buyer's remorse or canceling their service altogether! 

On the other hand, if done well, you may find yourself continuing to sell to them throughout the planning process, making more money per wedding booked (and offering a better service to your customer overall!). For more ways to make more money without filling your calendar to the point where you never have a Saturday off again, click here.

Before you brush this off as something you'll improve “once things slow down a bit,” I'm here to bring you a harsh reality: if you don't have a strong onboarding workflow for your wedding planning clients, things might never “slow down” again (and not in the good way – where you are sipping margaritas on the beach watching all your Honeybook notifications come in). Without a strong wedding planner onboarding sequence, it's easy to turn into that gif of a cat typing ferociously on a keyboard. I do NOT want that for you.

Not sure what to do once you make the sale?

I don’t gatekeep the next steps over here! After you make the sale, do you know exactly what to do next? If not, you need my onboarding guide for wedding planners my friend! 

Inside, there are 8 critical stages to the onboarding process that you must move each client through. Don’t worry, I will walk you through each phase, and by the end you will:

  • Understand how to guide your clients through the onboarding process
  • Have a complete onboarding strategy that nurtures and affirms the customer's purchase
  • Copy and paste my signature onboarding framework into your business
  • Launch your new onboarding process in just a few hours without second-guessing what the experience should be like
  • Feel confident in how you welcome new customers to your business

Happy onboarding all those new couples my friend! DM me on Instagram and let me know how it goes!

Ready to Elevate Your Wedding Planning Business?

We would love to welcome you inside The Planners' Playbook, the membership for wedding planners who want to elevate the wedding industry and feel confident AF in their wedding planning business (especially when selling!). From masterclasses and workshops to a deep-dive playbook being released every month, The Planner’s Playbook has everything you need to streamline your processes and save time. Plus – you’ll even get a discount on the CC shop!

Explore More Wedding Industry Resources

For More Wedding Planner Business Secrets Follow Me On Instagram

Raise your hand if you let shiny object syndrome wreck havoc in your business 👋🏻👋🏻👋🏻👋🏻

Steven Greitzer from @ourprovenance joined me for a tech talk this week on the podcast! We definitely chat about the mistakes we make when it comes to tech - and how you can be more intentional with the tools you use.

He also shares his predictions for tech this year! 2023 was definitely all about ChatGPT and the rise of AI, and Steven has some opinions about what you can expect in 2024. 

If you’re not familiar with Stephen, he’s the founder and CEO of Provenance. After spending many years officiating weddings and coaching first-timers to do the same, it became painfully clear that the only resources out there for wedding officiants were generic Madlib templates, convoluted blog posts, and outdated scripts.

Today, Provenance has a suite of AI tools that has been helping thousands of couples, officiants, and guests design personalized and meaningful ceremony scripts, vows, and toasts for modern-day weddings.

With over a decade in the tech space, and now a tech founder himself, Steven was the perfect guest to have on this week to break down tech trends we need to watch out for!

It was an awesome episode and I’m excited for you to tune in and hear Steven’s predictions. 

#provenance #weddingplanning101 #weddingplanningsoftware #weddingindustry #weddingideas #candicecoppola #powerinpurposepodcast #aitools #weddingtrends #weddingpros
Did you read the timeline?🙄

One of the biggest problems wedding planners have to deal with is unprofessional colleagues. It’s one of the hardest parts of our job - and we don’t talk about it enough. 

I talked about this and more in my latest YouTube video! 

#weddingplannereducation #weddingplanning #weddingplanners #weddingpros #weddingvendor #weddingvendors #weddingpro #weddings #candicecoppola #plannersplaybook
Is your website built like a museum or an airport?

Engagement sales season is here, and I’m not gonna lie - your website probably needs a little refresh! 

But before you blow some dust off your homepage and start adding your most recent weddings, I’d love for you to listen to my conversation with @alexcollierdesign. She’s a Showit and Brand designer for wedding pros, and in this episode of The Power in Purpose Podcast, Alex shares how your website sets the tone for your client experience.

As a business coach for wedding pros, I know how obsessed you are with giving your couples and clients an amazing experience. You invest in software, templates, service providers, gifting experiences, and business coaches to help you make your client experience the best on the block.... but what about your website?

What role does it play in your overall client experience, and what does it tell a couple about what life will be like for them once they start working with you?

We chat about all this and more - in today’s episode!

#thepowerinpurposepodcast #candicecoppola #showit #showitdesigner #weddingpros #weddingindustry #weddingwebsite #weddingpro #businesspodcast #weddingpodcast
I’m making today a decision day in my business. I do this when I’ve let a lot of decisions pile up to the point where it feels overwhelming to make ANY decision about anything. I feel super stuck on where to focus my energy right now because so many things are ‘hanging in the balance.’ Can you relate?!

So, today is a decision day - and I’m working on laying out my calendar, figuring out my marketing strategy for the year, deciding on new products, launches, roadmaps, and lots of other things.

If you ever find yourself stalled and stuck because you’ve ignored making decisions about big and small things - consider having a decision day in your business, too!

PS - would you like to see more reels and videos like this from me on IG? I’d love to know if you found this helpful! #candicecoppola #honeybook #weddingpro #weddingindustry #businessowner #businessstrategy #decisionmaking #weddingplannereducation

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I believe entrepreneurs who lead with their purpose are more successful, less likely to burn out, and deeply connected to why they do what they do. 

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