As a destination wedding planner on Maui, I have occasionally regretted taking clients and, although it is very rare, have fired clients. As I have stressed in other articles, it is a relationship. There are many ways of dividing people into groups. The have and have-nots, the winners and the losers, etc.
For me, professionally, I divide clients into those who are expecting the best and those that are looking for problems. To a very large extent our expectations determine our perceptions. If you’re looking for things that aren’t right, you’ll find them. If you are expecting a wonderful event, that’s what you’ll get. I can usually tell whether the person on the other end of the phone is somebody that I’d like as a client within five or ten minutes. It’s all about attitude.
First of all, clients need to understand that there can be laws and policies that are beyond the coordinator’s control. For example, on Maui all outdoor events must end by 10:00 PM. There’s nothing anybody can do about that, it’s the law. If a client argues about something like that or wants a special dispensation, there’s nothing I can do except suggest an after party. When I get the feeling that the potential client is determined to party till dawn at their wedding location, I’ll give it a pass.
Negativity or an argumentative attitude, especially during the first interaction, sets off alarm bells. It’s not a place I want to go.
Your coordinator is part of this relationship and, if your coordinator is on top of his or her game, he or she knows what can and cannot be done. This doesn’t mean that the destination wedding planner can’t show you how to cut some corners and get the most for your money. In fact most can. If they want to.
Wedding industry professionals in the same often have relationships with other professionals. And this is where we come to the information fishing client. There are times when I will speak several times with a potential client who wants information. Usually that’s not a problem. But we soon know when they’re fishing and trying to use our expertise to plan their own wedding. (These people usually do the same thing with several companies.) And once the word gets out, they will have trouble trying to book anything. Or they’ll be able to book services at inflated prices.
Why is this such a turn off? Firstly it’s dishonest when they represent themselves as somebody that is considering hiring a coordinator. Secondly, they usually take a lot of time which could be better spent. Thirdly, they are calling a toll free number. Toll free numbers are not free, the owner of the business has to pay the phone bill.
If you’re just looking for information, say so. Some companies will terminate the phone call immediately. Others will be more helpful. Bottom line; it never pays to be misleading or deceitful when you are dealing with a professional. Most of us can spot it right away. So be nice. Be positive. And please, be honest.