One of the most popular questions I get asked is how to onboard new wedding clients. It definitely isn’t an easy process to get started with, and that’s why I love this article written by Angie of Virtual Angie.
Onboard New Wedding Clients
Are you wondering how to onboard new wedding clients? Onboarding is simply a collective term for organizing all your contracts, documents, and information together for a specific client, straight after the contract is signed. Done well, it can really streamline and strengthen the relationship and the way you work with your clients.
A popular way of onboarding a wedding planning client is with a welcome pack. Today, it is generally done online, a lot of the time via a CRM like Aisle Planner, HoneyBook or Dubsado. Here are some of the typical elements you will find in an onboarding welcome pack.
#1 Welcome note
A personalized message always goes down well with a new client. It demonstrates that they are not just another wedding couple to you and gives a nice, personal touch. If you want to follow up with a token gesture, this can be very much appreciated too. How about a congratulations on their engagement? Maybe a gift voucher or bottle of bubbly. By doing little things like this, it shows you care and should make a great impression.
#2 Client Portal
If you have a system like the ones mentioned above, you will be able to create a client area for each couple you book. This area or portal is just for them, with their own login details, and you can communicate and upload documents for them in this space. It is a great tool that enables your couple to see all the documents assigned to their wedding, plus see any updates from you.
#3 Contact details
Chances are, your client will have these by now, but it’s good to have a document with everything on it just in case. Supply only telephone numbers and email addresses that you wish to be contacted on.
With every relationship, there needs to be boundaries set in place from the very beginning, and this relationship is no exception. These do not only protect you, but they protect your wedding clients too. Some boundaries are already set out in your contract, but let’s just go over a few.
Firstly, as mentioned above, your contact details. Only supply the details that you don’t mind being contacted on and that you don’t need to respond to immediately. For example, if you have a business-only cell number, just supply that. When you are unavailable, you can turn it off and let your answer machine pick up any messages. This also goes for your social media channels: Can they contact you for a quick chat on Facebook Messenger on a whim?
How about times you can be contacted? It is important that you establish at the beginning the days and times you work and thus can be contacted. You don’t want to be calming down a hysterical bride at 3 am, do you? State the days and times that you are available and let them know that you will contact them within a certain time if you happen to be unavailable. For non-urgent inquiries, this tends to be 24 – 48 hours.
Outline some examples of what an urgent or emergency query might be. For example, hearing the news that the couple’s florist has gone out of business two days before the wedding would constitute an emergency. A bride deciding that they no longer like their color scheme is not.
One more boundary you need to highlight is what your job entails. Have you ever heard of scope creep? It is a real thing and it happens all the time. Clearly define everything that you and your team will and will not do. You can add charges for any extra add-ons the couple might want here too.
This is the nitty-gritty. This is where you set up your payment terms and schedule. A good idea is to discuss these with your couple first, then confirm them in writing, getting the couple to sign and date that they agree. It is vital you set out the conditions of this and what will happen if the schedule isn’t adhered to. Do you pause your services? Terminate the contract? Place an extra charge? These things should be considered in the event a couple does not, for whatever reason, uphold the payments for your services.
A little obvious, this one! Every wedding needs a timeline of sorts. This is where you set out everything that needs to happen from the beginning of this process, right to the very end of your couple’s wedding day. CRMs like HoneyBook and Aisle Planner, as mentioned before, have great tools to create timelines. Whether you have this type of software or are just doing it manually, it is essential to plot out everything that needs to be done, who needs to do them, and the deadlines they need to be done by. Again, this should initially be discussed with the couple before documenting.
This should give you a bit of an overview on the types of things to include when onboarding a new wedding planning client. Everybody does it a little differently, though, and you may want to add more things in or take something away. Remember, to build up a good, trusting relationship with a client, you need to be clear, helpful, and accommodating, but also firm.
Angie, of Virtual Angie, is a virtual assistant who works specifically for wedding business owners. She lives in the UK and has a vision to be the go to guru of support for wedding professionals worldwide.