Sunday, January 10, 2010

You Don't Want to Hire Me?!?

This post is strictly for the Brides that read my blog, although it can really be applied to any situation where you have meetings with several vendors before deciding on the right one.

Here is the scenario-
We've met, had our initial consultation (which is free) and we reviewed my experience, my skills, my pricing and most importantly, the details of your wedding.  I enjoyed our time together and as I leave, you agree that you enjoyed our meeting and will get back to me as soon as possible to let me know about your decision.  
Then a few days go by so I email you to check in and see how things are coming along.  Nothing.
Then about a week or so goes by and I email/call you to check in and see how things are coming along.
Then a few weeks, and of course, the sales person in me, won't let me just give up so I email/call again and..well, ya, you know

Of course by this time, I should "take a hint" but at the same time, I'm going to want to follow up, just in case you got busy.  I also don't want my lack of follow up to be interpreted as a sign of laziness or bad follow through.  (I'm super critical of myself in business situations, so I worry about everything) 
What happened? 

Well, truthfully, I know what happened, but I would rather hear it from you.  I know that you met with another planner and that you two just "clicked" right off the bat.  I know that because I've been the planner who meets with someone and gets a contract on the spot, when we "click."  

The biggest favor I have, and I'm really begging all of you, is to let me know that.  Tell me what you liked and didn't like about our appointment and why you decided to go with someone else.  You won't hurt my feelings and nothing is better than some constructive critisism from someone who you DIDN'T "click" with.  
You don't have to do it over the phone if you aren't comfortable, just send me an email.  Just say something, even if you don't want to spend the time detailing it out.  Most of the time, when I walk out of our meeting, I know if you are going to book with me or not, so I won't be too surprised about not getting the deal.  However, I will be happy, after spending an hour or so with you, to get some feedback on our meeting.  If you are willing to sit down and share intimate details about your wedding plans, family and friends shouldn't you at least be willing to share some feedback with me on our meeting?  

That's my favor to all you brides out there and I am certain that any planner you meet with will agree that they would love to know why you chose someone else.  How else will we all get any better if we never know what we are doing wrong?  

Thanks in advance, I'm going to go ahead and email you now to follow up.  This time, email me back!  

Happy Planning!


  1. As a Professional Photographer I can relate to your feelings Brandi. Usually I wont continue to waste my time by leaving multiple emails and messages - I figure that it's probably for the best as it may not have worked out anyway. I mean to say that I really love doing what I do and enjoy the couples I work for - I think the feeling is mutual. But a quick email or call back to say they've found someone else is simple courtesy that I would appreciate too!

  2. This morning I got one of these rare email actually telling you that:"Thank you for the time spending with us..Unfortunately we won't be using your photographic services for our wedding.." I did email back and politely asked for the reasons they chose to go with another photographr but I do not really expect at answer. Come to think of it, why not to give the couple aquestioner when you first meet them with one of the question saying: In case you decided to go with someone else, could you please let me know why.

  3. Very interesting post Brandi. Thanks!

    Personally, I don't engage in any hand-wringing as to the "why". Our formula is the same for interviewing with clients so it has been designed and tested and effective. Therefore it isn't really a matter of "what did I do wrong?" in our case.

    Secondly, I think it's a matter of controlling expectations. I'm an old school etiquette hound and agree that it would be "nice" to hear back but, it seems in this age, courtesy is interpreted so differently by some folks.

    In any case, I feel that expectations are PLANNED resentments. Therefore I expect nothing from anyone.

    Plus, are we any different than other professional companies? Art galleries, Mercedes dealerships? Intimate time is spent there with representatives learning prospect's likes and dislikes, finances, aspirations. People don't usually tell the dealer "why"(not).

    This is the age of the "shopper". Just an opinion.

  4. Thanks for the post. I can relate, although I usually don't expect to get hired by everyone I meet with. Especially being a photographer, your style can't match everyone, so I certainly don't want to try to force my services on someone who doesn't fall in love with my work. It is always nice to have feedback either way though. :) Love the picture you choose for the blog.. fits perfectly!

  5. As a professional wedding photographer I know exactly how you feel, Brandi. We do invest a lot of time up front with inquiring couples and it would be really nice to know what they've decided, and definitely educational to know why. I wouldn't make more than 2 follow-up attempts, though.

    However, I agree with Marcinho. Do you tell other businesses when you've decided to go with someone else and why you made that decision? I know I often don't. For example, looking for office space or a home to buy, etc.

    That being said, if one of them contacted me and asked me to let them know what I've decided, I certainly would. To ignore them and leave them hanging is simply rude.

  6. Thank you everyone for your comments! I really enjoy hearing everyone's feedback, and now knowing that we all experience the same situations. I think I'll keep my follow up going on the really "good" ones that I need to hear back from, but I'll limit my super follow up to ONLY those good ones. The rest I'll just try once, maybe twice...if I can help it.

  7. If I get an interview, I get a booking; to me they are the same thing. When I don't get as far as a face-to-face meeting, i am usually the one who has followed up, so I am usually told first hand when I call to make an appointment. It is always a disappointment but you have to live with it.
    You know what annoys me more? It is when the wedding professional lets the client down without reasonable feedback. Four f my brides in the last 12 months came to me when their photographers cancelled on them, usually with very little notice, and never with an acceptable reason.

  8. Brandi - I know the same feeling you are experiencing. There are some couples that walk out of my office I just KNOW they won't be booking. This is either simply because we didn't "click" (which honestly is rare) or in most cases, my price was not in their budget. However, I have had couples go home, talk it over, and rearrange their budget so they could afford me. For example, one couple decided that chair covers are certainly beautiful, but won't make/break the celebration. However finding the right Master of Ceremonies/DJ to orchestrate their reception from start to finish and create a very fun and memorable evening for them WAS way more important to (that was my 7/7/07 couple btw!). I used to be that guy that would call and email and call and email until finally hearing back or eventually just give up. I MIGHT do one follow up call or email after our meeting, but I don't go chasing them down anymore. I have enough demand for my services that keeps the phone ringing (which I am blessed with). They know how to contact me and if they WANT me, they will get back in touch. And they know they won't have too much time to mess around, because I might be booking their date with someone else if they take too long. However, I'm like you - if they don't book, I would really like to know WHY. Maybe I said something "off" during the consultation that rubbed them the wrong way, even though it wasn't intentional. Maybe that's just where we didn't click. But like you - I want to learn and grow and always improve. That's where some feedback would really come in handy! All the best! - Brian Harris

  9. Thanks for your thoughtful post and the questions you've posed, Brandi. I can only echo what others have said -- because I, too, know when I've met a couple and they're going to decide to work with me. Over the past dozen years, I've learned to just let the others go -- and sincerely thank and bless those who follow up enough to email and let me know they're not booking me.

    I think they might be uncomfortable if I asked for more feedback -- so I just roll along to the next meeting. There are SO many variables involved in this decision making process -- and what I'm doing as an interfaith officiant seems right for so many. Just my opinion, Marian

  10. Very true for all os us in the wedding industry. Thanks for expressing it!


    Wedding Photography Miami

  11. Brandi,

    I understand the yearning to know. I used to wonder "what did I do wrong." But I've come to accept that not everyone is going to book me and that some are just not meant to be. I think that some people are not comfortable telling others that they chose someone else or why. It makes them feel uncomfortable. It's like breaking up, no matter how short the relationship. So, I don't dwell on it. My SOP is to follow up twice (unless there is some unusual circumstance) and move on. I just don't have the time or energy to chase someone "playing hard to get." I can only think of one client that I had to follow up with multiple times before they booked me.

    FYI, I enjoy your blog!

    Best Regards,

    Amy VanMeter

  12. Amy
    I worry about the whole level of comfort they are feeling as well, which is why I posted this, to give people the "right" to tell their vendors why they didn't want to hire them. Not only will (most) vendors NOT be offended but a majority will be grateful for the feedback.
    Thanks for reading the blog!!

  13. Honestly as a bride I had a few vendors do that to me (hound me after and ask why I didn't hire them) and it put me VERY off. Not only did it put me off, some of them I was thinking about hiring and I didn't because of it. I don't like confrontations and I don't like to be in a position to tell someone something that will hurt their feelings. Because if I didn't book you, it is personal no matter how you spin it.

    Professionally I follow up with a thank you note/email and thank them for their time and leave it there. If they want me, they'll book me. If not, well it is their loss and we obviously weren't meant to work together.

    I never EVER want a client to hire me on guilt. It would be the wrong foot to start off on.

  14. Corey,
    That's a great view point and I'm glad to hear it from a Bride! Another good opinion for all of us vendors to consider when doing follow up with clients. NOTHING would be worse than working with a client who only hired you because they didn't know how to get rid of you!!!

  15. Great post! I used to be so stressed out about this when I started 3 years ago. But now, my philosophy is..."You win some, you lose some". You can only do so much and I do agree with Corey B, I don't like being put in a position where I have to tell people "why I don't pick you". Some things are better left...unsaid. Hehehehe... ^_^

  16. As a bride-to-be who googled "How do I tell a wedding planner I don't want them" this post was very helpful.

    You'll be glad to know that I emailed all the people I contacted (even the ones with whom I only exchanged one email) and let them know that I "clicked" with someone else. They were all very professional and responded with a "Thanks for letting me know".

    As a bride, this post was very helpful because those emails were hard! It was a little bit like breaking up with someone. It's nice to know that they are appreciated on the other end.