This is very sound advice if you are just starting up in the wedding business or even if you have been going a while.
The reason I am writing this post is I took a call today from a wedding biz buddy who admitted to overstepping the mark and treating a client as a friend. She was relaxed, she said too much about her personal stuff whilst trying to re-negotiate a new wedding date.
It totally backfired on her and she was horrified to see the other side of her client demanding her deposit back.
I am known as the Fairy Godmother of Weddings so often I receive calls from my wedding business buddies here to ask for advice and help, I offered a few ideas, poured oil onto troubled waters and worked out a plan that would work for both parties in this case.
BUSINESS IS BUSINESS
When it comes to business, it stays at business, if you are a planner or supplier your clients are hiring you for a service, not to become their best mate.
Your clients already have their best mates, family and friends, they are not looking to add you to their best friend portfolios, they are booking you for the service you offer and handing over money for that service.
Now I have done this personally, I completely get how easy it is to become what I call overly involved. You become close to your clients when planning their weddings, I have seen this many times within the wedding industry, so if you read one blog post, this is the one to take note of.
BE FRIENDLY BUT REMAIN PROFESSIONAL
As a wedding planner or supplier be friendly but remain professional. Always keep that distance when you are working for them. Don't get emotionally involved, that is for their family to pick up on, or they can hire a wedding coach to work on issues with them, it is not down to you.
The busier you become in your business the less you will want to be offering counselling as this will zap you of your energy, you won't be able to perform at your highest level for all your other clients.
If you have been hired as their planner your job is to plan their wedding, not sort out a spat between them and the parents in law or a bridesmaid. You are not offering counselling as part of your service, nor are you qualified to do so in a professional manner.
If you are hired as a florist, photographer, hair and make up, DJ, etc you are only providing that service, you are not there to offer your opinions as to where they should be seating their guests or what should they do if their best friend is behaving weirdly.
REMEMBERING YOUR BOUNDARIES
If you become the best friend when working with clients it really does open up another can of worms as you move closer to the wedding date.
A good example of this is if they suddenly give you a load more tasks to complete for their wedding day and treating you as if you were a bestie. They don't expect to pay extra as you are perceived as the bestie that will bend over backwards now to make sure everything is done, even if this means spending three evenings wrapping their favours and organising place cards.
If you are now a bestie it becomes extremely difficult to approach them in a professional manner and explain you charge extra for these services.
YOU ARE HIRED AS A PROFESSIONAL SO REMAIN ONE
Always keep this in mind when you feel you are being drawn into a relationship that oversteps the professional boundaries within your contract with that client.
Be diplomatic but also make sure you take the monkeys they are dumping on your shoulders off and defer them away.
If you feel they are becoming too best matey I have plenty of advice as to how to handle this in a diplomatic way without offending your clients.
The key is to have a good trusting relationship with your clients but never to overstep the mark with them. They have parted with hard earned money for your particular service and if something goes wrong the backfire on you will be twice as bad if you have become the 'best mate' and are no longer acting in the professional arena you were originally hired for.
FINALLY, FORMING RELATIONSHIPS WITH CLIENTS
It is a very fine line between being friendly and professional to becoming a bestie, if you feel uneasy about certain things then the chances are you have overstepped that fine line so it is time to try to draw back slightly.
Don't get me wrong, I am still in touch with so many clients from way back and did become friends with them afterwards but during their weddings I chose, from experience, to keep boundaries in place.
When your contract finishes then they either keep in touch as you have developed a great relationship or eventually they tire of needing you and will go off into their married life and happily ever after without needing you ever again as a sounding board.
I really do hope this blog post helps, it is so important to understand offering a professional service as opposed to becoming a friend and always keep this in mind, especially if you are working in the wedding industry.