It can be hard to hang onto that spark when you’re focused on increasing profits and building your business.
We’ve been there. And we know you can bring that excitement back.
Wouldn’t it be great if everyone could see the incredible potential of your wedding venue?
Does it feel difficult sometimes to convey the benefits of the location and its unique features?
You know you have what it takes to give couples the wedding of their dreams. But how do you get them to walk in the door and book your venue?
When Brenda began building what is now known as The Treasury Venue Collection, she felt the same way. How could anyone take one look at the palatial architecture of The Treasury on the Plaza and The Lightner Museum and not think “dream wedding”?
But something was holding back the magic, and Brenda and her team set out to unlock it. The Treasury Venue Collection now represents two of the most sought-after wedding venues in St. Augustine, Florida.
The key to their success?
They developed, tested, and perfected replicable sales and marketing systems designed to attract their ideal client and close sales.
Sounds simple, right?!
But as you probably already know, marketing and sales systems that work are anything but easy to figure out.
Once a couple decides to get married, they are bombarded with information and ideas on when, where, and how to plan their wedding. No matter how amazing your space is, if you can’t get their attention, they’ll never get to see it.
This is why a formal, focused approach to selling your venue is essential if you want to book more weddings.
Venues that engage in venue-specific sales and marketing training know how to get the attention of their prospective clients.
They are able to cut through the noise and hook couples on everything they have to offer.
Think back to why you got into the wedding business. You wanted to provide a service to couples who were looking for a place to host their dream wedding. And your venue more than fulfills that need.
What solutions does your venue offer to couples who are planning their special day?
Though they’re often used interchangeably, sales and marketing are not the same thing. They do work together to help grow your wedding venue.
Your salesperson has 3 goals:
Effective marketing helps your salesperson find those prospective clients. These are the couples who are most likely to fall in love with your venue. Marketing also helps to build a relationship with these couples. It often provides their first impression of your business. Marketing done right can provide the sales team with warm leads who are primed to sign on the dotted line.
The place where many venue owners go wrong is by not being intentional about the sales and marketing side of their venue business. If you want people to book more weddings, you have to be clear and vocal about everything your venue has to offer them.
If you want to increase profits for your venue, it makes sense to learn from successful wedding venue owners. And every successful venue owner incorporates these 6 tips into their business.
Be intentional with your sales strategy: Use strategic, measurable, repeatable sales processes
Treat your network like VIPs: Networking is your lifeline
Put yourself in the couple’s shoes: Understand the couple’s buyer’s journey
Set your sales team up for success: Sales training is vital
Be specific on the value of your venue: Focus on benefits, not features
Institutionalize strong systems & habits: Consistency matters
Take a few minutes to figure out your venue sales style - you’ll discover both your strengths and where (and why) you might be struggling. Then scroll down to read more about how you can use these 6 areas to help you book more weddings at your venue.
When you make a point to regularly collect data, you eliminate confusion as to what your next steps are. And despite how it sounds, collecting data doesn’t have to be complicated. For example, entering a few numbers into an advertising ROI calculator each month doesn’t take much time. But it can help you make sure you are getting a good return on your investment with your advertising dollars.
Being intentional about your sales can also mean taking the time to understand who you’re selling to and why. Not all brides are for you. They have different tastes, different budgets - and you don’t have time in your calendar to book them all anyway. How much money are you wasting trying to reach couples who are not going to book your venue?
If your sales processes are not planned out and able to be measured, how do you know what’s working and what’s not? How do you know what to repeat and what to change?
What gets measured gets noticed.
When you take the time to identify your ideal client and how to connect with them, you save time and money and increase profits.
There are proven sales processes for identifying your ideal client and tracking your advertising ROI. The best thing about these processes is that they are teachable. This means you can learn them and make them work for you and your venue.
They are predisposed to thinking highly of you, and not only because someone important to them made the referral. In the venue industry, you are writing your own reference letter every time you host an event.
These guests experience your venue first-hand. They are more likely than a completely cold “new-to-you” client to be able to see everything your venue has to offer. So, they are more likely to book their events at your venue.
One common mistake venue business owners make is not following up with the people who have interacted with their venue. Once you’ve built a relationship with a couple, they are much more likely to trust you to continue solving their event-related problems. Plus, they’re more likely to refer you to their friends and family.
Referrals are the easiest type of sale.
Marketing and sales work hand-in-hand to guide couples from that first awareness of your venue to signing a contract. This is called the buyer’s journey, or the process a prospective client goes through leading up to the actual sale.
Your goal is to deliver the right content at the right time to ensure they choose your venue over your competitor’s.
Marketing is essential during the awareness and consideration phases.
Marketing is meant to support sales. This way, the sales team will spend less time working with couples who aren’t a good fit for your venue. They can focus on wowing those couples who’ve intentionally chosen your venue and closing the sale.
Some things to consider…
Fortunately, there are proven strategies and processes that can help you with every step of this journey.
To create an effective buyer’s journey for your couple, you must understand their desires, needs, and behaviors. You then use this knowledge to anticipate their questions and provide solutions. They’ll begin by searching for venues in their chosen area (awareness).
Then they’ll narrow their focus to the venues that seem to have what they’re looking for (consideration).
Finally, they’ll pick a few venues to visit and choose the one they can picture hosting their special day (decision).
Remember, the best sales processes are teachable and repeatable. Save time and money by learning these processes from experts who can prove their methods work.
And if they can provide you with the exact scripts and templates they’ve used to build successful venues, even better!
If you’re like most venue owners and sales leaders, your salespeople don’t have years of venue-specific sales experience. And you don’t have the resources to let them learn through trial and error on your dime.
That’s why it is essential to get venue sales training for yourself and everyone on your sales team.
For a couple to truly grasp why they should choose your venue for their special day, you need to paint a picture of what their special day will be like at your venue.
For example, maybe the location is easy to find so their guests won’t worry about being late for the ceremony. Or, the side entrance ensures the caterers can easily get in and out with everything they need for the reception. Or, the architectural design or beautiful views mean their pictures will dazzle people for years to come.
What is it about your venue that makes it special? Is it the location, architectural features, or history? When we're asked this question, the first thing we do is start listing features.
Keep in mind that you aren’t selling a building - you’re selling an experience.
By making sure your salespeople and marketing materials focus on benefits, not just features.
How do you communicate the value your venue has to offer?
For example, this is what our website has to say about the Exchange Gallery area of one of our venues, The Treasury on the Plaza:
“The Exchange Gallery is a lovely, intimate space just off The Grand Ballroom. It serves as the perfect area for guests to relax, sip on drinks, and enjoy hors d’oeuvres before entering The Grand Ballroom. During the reception, the Exchange Gallery has plenty of space to be used for buffet-style dinner service.”
We’ve listed the unique features this space has to offer, as well as how these features can be used to bring a spark of magic to a couple’s special day.
When you can entice couples with visions of their dream wedding, they’re more likely to want to see it come to life at your venue.
Salespeople don't need to be particularly lucky or creative to be successful. They just need to implement the best practices that others have found success with. Particularly the practices that have proven their effectiveness time and time again.
We’ve listed below five habits of highly successful venue salespeople, but this is just a start. It’s vital for anyone involved in sales on your team to receive expert training to develop the habits that will take your venue to the next level.
Effective wedding venue salespeople...
Follow-up. Your clients are busy, and sometimes things get missed. Follow up on leads, follow up after tours, follow up after proposals - and even follow up after the event. Make it easy for couples to consistently choose you and keep you front of mind when they’re making referrals to their friends and family.
Learn from the experts. What are successful venues doing well? How can you incorporate their strategies and systems for your own success?
Actively listen to couples. Being fully engaged builds trust with your prospective client. It also gives you insight into how your venue can be the solution they're looking for.
Remain up-to-date on the venue and everything it has to offer. What’s possible in this space? And what would it take to make those possibilities a reality?
Incorporating sales processes into your venue can take time. But when practiced consistently, they can bring you consistent growth and profits. To determine your next steps, use this quiz to get a clear picture of your specific strengths and how you can tap into your venue owner potential.
It’s frustrating to put so much work into your business and feel like you’re not getting where you want to be. It’s time to reignite that excitement and regain your momentum.
Focus on finding the couples who will book them
if you want to book more weddings on a consistent basis
Lean on and nurture the connections you’ve already made
Empathize with what couples are looking for so that you know what benefits to lead with
Be consistent and persistent in your strategy
With the right mindset, training, and techniques, you can tap into your wedding venue’s potential and show couples that you have exactly what it takes to deliver a wedding beyond their wildest dreams.
Growth and success for your venue are possible.