I recently read about Carter Racing, a case study presented in business schools across the country over the past 30 years. Students have to decide whether or not to race a fictional car with recent engine problems, but may give them big sponsorship money if they finish in the top five. Do you greenlight the race car knowing it might blow up?
I’m not going to dive into the case study, because you can learn about that elsewhere, but I do want to highlight an insight that’s worth a more in-depth look:
If you don’t ask the right questions you won’t get the right information to make a good decision. Or said another way, people get unimportant and even misguided information from answers based on the wrong questions.
Wedding couples don’t know what they don’t know
If you’re in our Ideaction Community book club you might recognize this discussion from Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World. David Epstein’s big takeaway is on page 241: “Business professors around the world have been teaching Carter Racing for thirty years because it provides a start lesson in the danger of reaching conclusions from incomplete data, and the folly of relying only on what is in front of you.”
If MBA candidates struggle with asking the right questions before making decisions where grades are on the line, what makes you think couples looking for planning or photography or beauty services know any better?
Why would a happy couple who just got engaged think they need to prepare for the inquiries they’re going to make with wedding vendors? Don’t you open a bottle of bubbly, flip through IG, and DM wedding pros?
Tell me, does this sound familiar? “My fiancé and I just got engaged. Are you available and what are your prices?” Or, “What packages do you offer?”
Yup. Maybe not in your DMs, but these certainly sound like many inquiries you get from potential clients.
Help couples go backward before going forward
The most significant value you offer potential clients when they inquire isn’t giving them information about your services. It isn’t giving them information about your pricing. It isn’t even giving them information about your availability for their date.
It’s getting them to learn more about what they really need. This is the kind of helpful insight they can apply to you and every other vendor they choose for their wedding.
Now, they’re not going to come to you with questions like, “Can you help me learn what I really need to know about planning my wedding?” Boy, that sure would be nice, though!
In the real world, they come to you with what they want – and that’s always going to be pricing. The trick is not to answer that question until you know they’re ready to hear the answer. When’s that?
Only after they know what they really need.
If you’re not doing that right now, that’s okay. You know why? My guess is that all the other vendors they’re reached out to have totally blown it too!
Ask the right questions
If you want potential clients to choose you, then it’s crucial you guide them to discover what they don’t know.
Let me repeat that:
They do not know what they need.
So, you have to help them. You have to guide them. You have to lead the way. What questions can you help them ask to get the information they need to even have a context for the services you offer?
If you want a good starting place, check out the specific questions you can ask during the discovery call to get them on the right track.
Wedding pros who get good at helping couples discover what they need, win more business, charge higher rates, and build more trust. Will that be you?
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