In a time where research is at the tip of our fingers on any smart device, it is essential that our online presence is established and credible. Couples of today heavily rely on testimonials to make educated and influenced decisions in their wedding planning. With countless online resources that generate testimonials nowadays, this seems easier said than done!
As a floral designer, we are often confident that we have provided our clients with impeccable service and thus it will yield a testimonial with NO problem. If you are like I was a few years ago, I thought that testimonials would magically appear the next day after the wedding or immediately after sending a request. Wrong.
Bending backwards for a couple, providing extras that most undoubtedly had to be noticed, and doing everything in your power to deliver the best wedding EVER, will somehow get you a detailed and raving florist review, right? Wrong, again. Dozens of weddings did not equal dozens of testimonials. For me, going the extra mile didn’t always go noticed, or even appreciated for that matter.
That is when I sat down and decided that I had to develop a way to gain testimonials in a strategic manner without being overly persistent or seem desperate. I knew that I wanted genuine testimonials where my couples were eager and happy to provide the minute that there wedding day ceased and/or I requested them. This is where I then developed a 5 step system that educates my couples from the get-go to not only understand the value of a testimonial, but to also make it a priority and privilege for them to provide me with one.
Step 1: Establish a Positive Client Experience
My client experience starts the moment that I am first contacted by potential business. I make sure that I am professional and timely in every correspondence I give leading up to our first meeting. My client on-boarding process includes different steps to ensure that my clients feel loved and valued so that trust is established immediately. This trust is what is going to get you the sale and continue fostering a positive experience for the many months of planning to come.
Step 2: Educate
During the consultation process, I take the time to educate my clients on my creative process and on what to expect as the planning unveils over time. We need to remember that most couples are getting married for the FIRST time and this process is all new to them. I provide my clients with automated emails and checklists that are thorough to navigate them on this journey. A little hand holding goes a long way to avoid miscommunication, stress, or any frustration as the wedding gets closer.
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Step 3: Set Expectations
Aside from the wedding education I provide, I also take the time to set expectations as their floral designer. I am candid about my business and let them know that I pride myself in customer service first. During the consultation, we examine testimonials when I discuss my business. Not to brag, but to put yourself in a vulnerable position that creates trust. I make it clear that the only way I can do my job successfully is through a clear line of communication and trust. The expectation is also communicated for them to also provide me a testimonial at the end of their wedding planning experience as well.
Step 4: Condition Your Testimonials
Sometimes, testimonials aren’t provided because of time. But more often than not, it is because our couples feel that it will take to long to write it up or they quite frankly don’t know how to put how they feel into words. In order to get a detailed testimonial that not only highlights my business but allows me to change and grow, I send out a questionnaire/template that allows my clients to craft up a more thoughtful testimonial. My templates allows for my clients to think through a process of questions that allow them to relive their experience and remember all the details they noticed, loved, and appreciated.
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Step 5: Client “Bribe”
Why not sweeten the deal with a bribe that will ensure that you get your raving testimonial? If a client does not provide me a testimonial on their own within 7 days, I email my request along with my templates. If I don’t get a response within 7 days, I go in for the “bribe”! Now, some of you may be thinking, that is “unethical” or “I don’t have a budget for that”. Think about it, isn’t a $5-25 giftcard worth the lifetime testimonial that is given? My answer is heck YES! Not only is it worth it from a business side, but the gift is also a token of my appreciation for taking the time to do that for me. Additionally, I provide them with direct links to all the websites they can leave a testimonial on and encourage them to “copy and paste” the same testimonials on each link to save time. And guess what? My clients are always more than happy to do this for me, with or without the “bribe”.
I’m Cristina Barragan, Owner and Chief Creative Officer at Posh Peony and I have always had a love and passion for all things floral and design. In 2005, I started teaching elementary education and at the same time, launched my full-time floral business. It was a balancing act, to say the least! Over the years, I have built my business from the ground up with no formal training or education. It was all a learning curve that I have been able to streamline over the years. I have been able to grow and scale my business which has allowed me to pursue my love of teaching in the event industry. Today, we are a boutique style studio that provides full-service design and educational workshops at a local and international level. Being able to serve my clients well, teach aspiring business owners, and promote community in the event industry is the greatest joy!
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