We’ve all experienced it. The one line email asking “How much do you charge?” or the person who wanders up to your stand at a wedding fair and starts the conversation with the same question.
It sometimes seems that the only thing brides and grooms care about is how much their wedding is going to cost. But this is not the case – very few couples choose wedding suppliers on the basis of price alone.
When couples ask about price early on it’s usually because they want to qualify potential suppliers. They want to know that your prices are around the right range for their budget. They don’t want the embarrassment of saying “We can’t afford it” after 20 minutes of detailed discussion.
It may be the first thing they ask, but it won’t be the only criteria. Couples are essentially looking for value from their suppliers rather than the cheapest.
There is a lot of “price elasticity” for wedding suppliers. It’s rare to find 2 suppliers offering exactly the same product/service. It’s not like buying a pint of milk or the latest smartphone. Even if your dress boutique sells a popular, widely available brand, you can differentiate your shop through your customer service and additional extras like alterations. Know what makes you different from your direct competitors and promote this.
Here’s some useful tactics for dealing with those people who ask about price first:
Ask a few further questions – wedding date, number of guests, what sort of thing they have in mind. Try to get a feel for what’s important to them without turning it into an interrogation.
Do have an answer ready – you don’t want to appear evasive (or sound like a politician who never answers a direct question!). Use things like “My basic package starts at X”.
Qualifying works both ways. If you sense there’s a big gap between your prices and their budget then say so – in the nicest possible way. If you can, refer them to someone that caters more for their budget.
Remind yourself what you are worth – and stick to it. Some negotiation is fine, but you shouldn’t reduce your price without reducing what you are offering.
And remember, you will never be cheap enough to suit everybody, so don’t even try.