As we always emphasize in our wedding career courses here at The Institute of Weddings, its so incredibly important that you project a professional image in your wedding business, in order to establish trust and credibility amoung potential clients.
As a wedding professional, your business involves the most important day in your clients lives. Customers really have to believe that you are serious about your business, that you are invested in it for the long term (not a fly-by-night), and that you are entirely professional.
Otherwise, how could anyone expect them to entrust you with the details of their wedding day?
The good news is that all of these factors are well within your control.
Now, if you are running a home based wedding business, or if you are preparing to do so, don’t let any of this make you nervous. It doesn’t matter if you are a home based wedding business, or if you are operating from a commercial location — whether or not couples will trust and choose to do business with you all comes down to the signals of professionalism and the sense of credibility that you send out.
In fact, as a home based business you often have an advantage. Home based wedding businesses are often able to provide couples with a higher level of individualized attention and personalized service that larger, commercial operations just can’t achieve. Working “by appointment only” with couples in your home office or studio creates an intimate one-on-one environment that many couples really appreciate when planning an event so personal and important as their wedding. Couples also appreciate working directly with you, the owner, as opposed to “just a hired employee” doing a job, which is often the case with larger operations. So being home based is definitely not a problem if that is how you are operating. In fact, there are many home based wedding businesses that project more professionalism than the same type of businesses in commercial locations – its the details that make the difference.
Here are 5 common mistakes that wedding businesses make which damage their perceived level of professionalism, credibility and trust:
“Free website by …….”
When you use one of those free website builder options, the chances are you have to display a message in the footer advertising the free service. This sends the wrong impression to clients. It leads to the impression that you try to do things on the cheap, and it makes them wonder if your business isn’t doing well and therefore you can’t afford to pay for a website.
The same holds true for business cards that you get for free – the cards are free, but on the back is a promotional message for the company that supplied them. Again, this sends out the wrong message entirely to couples who pick up an unprofessional vibe.
Lack of Professional Photos in Your Portfolio or on Your Website
In our wedding career courses, we explain how to go about building your portfolio – an important marketing tool for many wedding professionals ranging from wedding planners, to floral designers, to cake designers. If you want to come across as polished and professional , its important to have professionally taken photos in your portfolio – not just a bunch of snaps you took yourself with your phone. Lighting, camera angles, lenses…. all of these details will have an impact on the effect your photos will have on your clients, and the reaction they will have to them. Certainly when displaying photos on your website, you need to ensure you are putting on a good show – professionally taken photos will make or break whether your website projects a professional image for your business. Generally, its very easy to arrange to purchase professional photos of your work from the photographer who photographed the wedding. Just make sure you have a model release form signed if there are any people in the photos (more details are covered on all of this in Wedding Planner Certification Course).
Mistakes Made on Social Media
As a wedding professional and business owner, you need to be extremely careful about what you post to your social media accounts, just as any business owner or professional should be.
Use Proper Telephone Etiquette
Always answer the phone professionally and state your business name. Don’t let your kids answer your phone. And if you are unable to take a call, make sure you have a professional outgoing message on your voice mail, clearly stating your business name, asking clients to leave a message, and assuring them you will get back to them promptly. Lastly, if you are working with a client, let your voice mail take incoming calls or use an answering service – its poor form to interrupt a client’s appointment time to take a call from another customer.
Don’t Use Free Email Addresses (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail etc)
Free email address likes Gmail Yahoo, Hotmail etc give off an unprofessional image. Most serious business people either have an email address on their own domain name, or an email address that shows they are a member of a professional organization in their industry (ie: firstname.lastname@example.org). An email address at the Institute of Weddings is included with membership, and it obviously sends out the signal that you are a serious member of the wedding industry. Use that or your own domain name to help reinforce an image of professionalism.