There is not a seminar that goes by where I do not have someone come up and say some version of the following statement:
“I’ve been doing this for (typically 15-20 years) and the phone used to ring. Now I can’t find the brides. Where did they go?”
While the amount of weddings has dipped (in the past 5 years, the total number of weddings have been off by as much as 5%) but usually has remained constant. If the numbers are down one year, they typically make it up the next year). The biggest trend is twofold: 1. The amount brides spend on weddings has reportedly dropped by as much as 30% since 2006 (you can check the Wedding Report for year to year statistics) and 2. The amount of competition has been inordinately increased (in other words, the number of competitors jumping into the fray is more than usual).
Let’s cover what the bride is spending first. Brides are spending less on their weddings, this is documented. That said, there are still the upper echelon brides who have higher priority for what you do who will find the money for what you sell. Let’s face it, in any economy there are wedding professionals who are having record years. Large in part because the brides who have that higher priority for their products and services can find them.
We in the wedding industry focus way too much on the ‘price bride’ and accept her premise of price comparison. The idea remains that when we get more brides to appointments, we end up selling more of our stuff. Most people won’t argue that fact (except for those who are bad/poor salespeople). Let me prove that point: have you ever had a bride who told you her budget was much, much lower that what she actually spent on your products and services? Most people have had that happen because they were able to move the bride to the appointment where she would find out that you were a real person who could give her what she was hoping for in regard to your products/services.
Now onto the subject of increased competition. You are always going to have competition, unless what you do is a really lousy idea or product. I remember back in 1995 having the same or similar conversation about competitors who wanted to go out and make some beer money on weekends because the bride had spent a good deal on me, but went very cheap on a photographer who didn’t have a clue. They had just bought a camera and were not a true professional. They were just trying to score some easy money on the weekend. This photographer was very hard to work with on many levels, but most importantly did not give the bride what she hoped for.
The best method for overcoming the low/no value competitor is to 1. Get out there broader so you can be seen by more brides 2. Build more and better relationships with those of influence in the wedding industry (i.e. venues and bridal gown shops) and 3. Educate on the pitfalls and differences between you and these hobbyists.
If you took your foot off the gas with your marketing, you will feel the effects sooner or later. The key is to use the same determination and effort that got you out there to begin with to get yourself back in the game.
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