Monthly Archives: August 2018

Floral Arches

Cori Cook Floral Design | Laura Murray Photography

Bare Root Flora | Eric Kelley Photography

JF Floral Couture | Jada Poon Photography

Petal Society | Fulleylove Photography

Soil and Stem | Heather Nan Photography | created by workshop attendees: Brynne Parry | Sunwoo Kim| Davy Gray | Sweet Seed Flower Farm | Rooted and Wild | Ella and Company | 3 Leaf Floral | Sugar n Stems

3 Leaf Floral 

Amy Osaba Events | Sarah Ingram Photography

F. Dellit Designs | Catherine Smeader Photography

Poppy Design Co | Jon Cu Photography

Jenn Ederer: The Client Lead Process

by Jenn Ederer (Modern Day Creative/Modern Day Events & Floral)

A value I will always stand by in my business is being honest and transparent with our clients about our whole process, from beginning to end. Its about building trust from the very start of our relationship so that they know theyre in good hands when they book with us.

Before the consultation meeting is even booked, the potential client is required to fill out a questionnaire for us to gather general information about them and some details about their vision for their wedding and/or event. The questionnaire purpose is two-fold – it serves as a way to screen potential clients while also helping me best prepare for our client meetings. Unlike some, our minimum required budget is only listed on our questionnaire and not on our website, which has worked really well for us thus far. We can automatically deter clients who arent comfortable with the minimum. It saves the couple time, and it saves us from meeting with clients who have budgetary needs that fall outside of the scope of work we offer.

When we sit down for the first consultation meeting, I let them know exactly what to expect – that we will sit down for about an hour just to get to know one another, to learn about what theyre looking for, share with them what our company is all about, nail down exactly how we can help them, and to simply connect with them as a couple. I also always ask them, What are you hoping to gain from our time together?. This tells me exactly what they are wanting to get out of our meeting, so I can be sure to touch on those topics during our time together.

Questions I Like to Ask Couples in Our Consultation Meeting:

  • What are you hoping to gain from our time together during this initial consultation?
  • What is your overall vision for your wedding day?
  • What are the top three things that are most important to you for your wedding day?
  • Do you have a favorite flower? Does it have a special meaning behind it?
  • What type of floral design composition do you prefer – loose and organic, lush with minimal greens, gathered and styled, etc.
  • What do you want your personal experience to be like on your wedding weekend?
  • What do you want your guests experience to be like on your wedding weekend?
  • What are your favorite things to do together as a couple?
  • What restaurants do you like to visit?
  • Do you like to travel? What would be your ultimate dream vacation and why?

If you notice, I hardly ask them about the event design at all, and most importantly, I do my best to avoid asking them the standard questions like – how many bridesmaid bouquets do you need? Corsages? Aisle Decor?… We discuss their overall vision, but the details of the design and items needed come later once I get to know them and once they retain our services with deposit paid and commitment letter signed.

This initial consultation meeting is all about the connection between myself and the couple. The mental shift from selling to connecting is whats most important to me during our time together in this initial consultation. If Im simply focused on selling first and foremost, most potential clients can see right through it. However, if Im focusing on connecting human-to-human, this builds trust with the couple and makes for a more memorable and personable consultation experience for them.

When we get closer to the end of the meeting, I close by thanking them, letting them know how much Ive enjoyed getting to know them, and then follow up with the next steps to welcome them into the Modern Day family. I come to these meetings prepared with a folder of information for them to take home and consider.

Consultation Folder:

  • Marketing pamphlet to give them a well-rounded view of our company and services.
  • Featured reviews and testimonials from past clients.
  • Sample proposal with average amounts of what our clients normally spend on key floral and design areas.
  • Commitment letter – to be signed and returned with deposit to officially book our services for their wedding date.

 

Sometimes clients will elect to sign the letter and pay the deposit right there on-the-spot, but others need more time to think about it. Regardless, you can rest easy knowing that youve given them all the information they need to make the best decision for them and their wedding day. If they do book our services that day, I let them know that we will go ahead and begin building a proposal for them that normally takes around 8-12 hours to complete. Then, we will schedule a follow-up meeting where we will dive into all the pretty design details.

Im sure youve been in this position. You meet with a couple, and you connect with them beautifully. You talk details, colors, design, everything they envision for their big day, and then they want to know how much you charge for services. Since you have a fairly good idea of what they want, you go and work for 8 hours straight on a giant, detailed proposal for them. A few days later, they let you know theyve decided to go with another florist who beat you out on price. And now, youve lost 8 hours of your precious time and energy that could have been spent on your clients who have already committed to booking you.

This is why I no longer propose before a client commits to booking us.

Believe me, I used to do this for years. I know exactly how it feels to spend countless hours on clients who arent going to book our services. I spoke with another designer recently who told me that when she went back and tracked her time, she had spent 45 hours in the past year designing proposals for clients who didnt end up booking her. Imagine how well you could serve the clients who DID book you with that extra time.

At the end of the day, I created this policy out of necessity. It cut into my time spent taking care of my company, my clients, my staff, and my own well-being.

Because of our screening process, I spend most of my time meeting with clients who are already a great fit. Sometimes, however, even our dream clients have more questions for us and they can be difficult to answer.

Price Shopping

Something that was difficult for me to address early on in my career were those clients who were really just price shopping. I knew that if a couple came and were price shopping, they probably werent going to book with us. We specialize in luxury events, and we arent the right fit for every clientespecially those who are looking for a bargain or the best deal out there.

My philosophy when it comes to price shopping is this: youre not comparing apples to apples. Instead of selling your price, start selling your services, your expertise, and what you do differently than everyone else. At the end of the day, thats what matters and it’s how I gained confidence in the services we do provide.

Do I meet with as many brides as I used to? No. But, because of the way I approach this process, the couples I meet with now are more likely to book us. Our booking retention rate is now around 95%.

So, How Much Will This Cost?

This is another sign that these clients are looking for their florist based on price only.

What I do is give them our client averages in their packet of information, so they have a good idea of what our clients normally spend on their bridesmaids bouquets, bridal bouquet, boutonnieres, corsages, elevated arrangements, ceremony designs, etc. Im comfortable with our pricing, and I dont apologize for it. I know that what were delivering is an impeccable, superior product. Being transparent about the average pricing combats the question of wanting to know exactly how much this will cost them before they book.

You have to be confident in exactly what you bring to the table, and what makes you different than the other designers theyre meeting with. In addition to knowing it, be sure that you can articulate this to your potential clients in a warm and honest way. There is NO shame in practicing this! I know I had to practice my approach before I was comfortable sharing it with my potential clients. If you work to clarify this and start practicing, soon it will become totally natural and effortless.

Im sharing the way I approach these meetings as inspiration for how you can approach your client lead process. But, I encourage you to remember that you have to do what works best for your business model and for your unique personality. At the end of the day, as a business owner, you get to call the shots and decide exactly how you handle this.

Im wishing you the best of luck with all of your consultation meetings! Id love to know more about your process. Feel free to let me know how you approach these meetings in the comments below!


All photography courtesy of Kelly Braman Photography  with exception of floral chandelier which is courtesy of Karyn May Photography

We invite you to read Part One (Top Tools for Wedding & Event Professionals) and Part Two (Growing & Leading a Team) of Jenn’s 5-part series if you missed them!

Jenn Ederer: Growing & Leading A Team

Do you ever look at extremely successful peers in our industry and wonder how they do it all?

We hear people say all the time that we have the same 24 hours in a day as someone with a HUGE empire, like Oprah. Technically, yes… it’s true, but they’re missing the fact that Oprah has a massive team supporting her and executing her business every step of the way – a luxury that we, as small business owners, don’t have. However, there is a way to make it a little more manageable.

Having someone on your team to support you is the best way to go from simply surviving to fully thriving.

When I opened Modern Day all I knew was that I wanted to own a creative floral and event business, but I didn’t know the first thing about running a business or managing a staff. It has taken me many years to finally figure out what the perfect equation is for my
business model.

The first instinct when hiring for your team is to start looking outward for someone to fill in the holes within your company. However, before this happens, I strongly encourage you to begin by looking inward at your current staff. Specifically, I encourage you to look at two major areas – your personal weaknesses and where you are wasting the most time.

Identifying your weaknesses: This is necessary to hiring the best fit for your team. If you hire someone with exactly the same strengths as you, you’re no better off than you were before hiring. The key is to find someone who has strengths where you have weaknesses. A great way to learn more about your personal strengths and weaknesses is by taking a personality test. I absolutely love the DISC and Enneagram assessments. Whichever you end up choosing, remember to keep an eye on your personality’s typical struggles, and identify the opposite type of personality to consider hiring.

Time-Tracking: Where do you waste the most time throughout your work day? If you don’t already, make the extra effort to jot down what you are doing and how long it takes you for one week. This task should lead you to big insights into your personal time management! Once you have a better idea of where you need help on a daily basis, the better you will be able to assess what to look for in a right-hand employee. This is key to a successful employer-employee relationship.

Running a business is a marathon, not a sprint. And please do not feel like you
need to go out and hire an assistant tomorrow. For this process to work well, it will take
some time. However, I encourage you to start exploring to see if this might be a solid
next step for you and the growth of your business.

Please let someone step into your world to help. The time and financial investment will pay over ten-fold. The process might be trial and error for you – I know it was for me. But once you find the right people for your team, you’ll know. And it will be so worth it.

  •  In-House Assistant – This is the most traditional assistant to hire, and an
    extremely valuable asset to any business owner. Perhaps this is someone that you hire specifically for this role, or an intern that you train up to eventually become this key player. Depending on your needs, this role could end up being part-time or full-time.
  • Virtual Assistant – Bringing on a full-time team member can be scary, but hiring
    a virtual assistant is a nice way to dip your toe in the water before fully diving in. Oftentimes with virtual assistants, you can purchase tailored packages that fit
    what you need at the time. They can also help with a lot more than you may realize – general admin work, calendar management, appointment setting, email detox, online marketing support, customer service… usually anything you can dream up!

When writing a job description for an assistant role, be sure to include those areas you
would define as your weaknesses, and also where you need help managing your time.
Meaning, I’m looking for a person who is naturally skilled at the things I often struggle
with. Being open about this from the very beginning of the hiring process is crucial! So,
where can you find candidates for this key player to your team?

  • Local Universities – Hiring people in school, or recent graduates, may be a
    time investment, but can be super beneficial, too. This could end up being an
    amazing opportunity to work with people who are young, excited, trainable, and
    full of fresh ideas for your business.
  • LinkedIn – In the past, we’ve had some luck finding candidates on LinkedIn who
    have specific skills and experience we’ve needed for certain positions. If you’re
    able to find someone with the assets you’re looking for already, this can cut down
    on necessary training in the long run.
  • Referrals on Social Media – This can be an incredible source of potential team
    members. With the power of social media – family and a network of friends – we
    can usually find a handful of great candidates with great referral sources.
  • Word of Mouth Referrals – Look to other prominent industry vendors around
    you who might have connections with people they’ve worked with in the past and
    feel may be a good fit for your team and business model.

After quickly moving up from an intern position, Amanda’s initial role was handling my
email and new client inquiries, scheduling appointments, and basic daily assistant
responsibilities. Eventually, I moved her into sitting in on all client meetings. Together,
we worked on building her confidence while also establishing a working relationship that would greatly serve our clients and staff in the long run. My main objective was to duplicate myself as much as possible through Amanda.

Fast forward to today (6+ years later), and Amanda is now taking on full events with little to no guidance from me, and we are currently training up another assistant to work under her. Trust, time, and mutual respect is what has gotten us to this point. We have invested in one another and she knows I have her back every.step.of.the.way, and vice versa!

Amanda is the right combination of moxie meets brains, and is thick-skinned and energetic enough to keep up with me. I trust her 100%. Aside from Amanda just being an amazing person, our personality traits are perfectly compatible. Looking at our DISC test scores side-by-side, you can get a sense for why we make a perfect match. I am an extremely high DI personality, while Amanda is much more even across the board with her scores. This is what professional compatibility looks like, my friends!

The video below provides a deeper dive into my relationship with Amanda and what this looks like in my wedding and event business.


Read Part 1: Top Tools for Wedding & Event Professionals – click here

All photographs in today’s post courtesy of Kelly Braman Photography

BB Podcast Episode 24: Meg Connelly

“Something I’ve always done my whole life is go with the harder option.”

-Meg Connelly

Today we’re sitting down with Meg Connelly, owner of Meg Catherine Flowers in Indianapolis, Indiana to discuss:

  • how her music & art background led her to floral design
  • the benefits of working in a flower shop prior to opening her own business
  • how she managed to start a successful business with her preschooler by her side
  • the backup plan she’s put in place in case of emergency
  • how & when she decided to set a minimum spend for her weddings
  • the history behind her home studio
  • her favorite flower
  • how her clients find her

Betsy Blue Photography

Links mentioned in Episode Twenty-Four:

Cory Weber Photography

Links of Interest:

 Website |Instagram | Facebook

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Today’s episode is brought to you by:

To find out about upcoming HHC events, click here.

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BB Podcast Sound Engineer: Landon McGee