What’s your style of working with clients?
Do you offer information and resources as suggestions, or do you TELL the client how it is? Is it your way or the highway? If they choose another path to take other than the one you’ve planned, do you get upset and resentful? Do you withhold the best of your creativity from your working relationship? Ugh, I’ve been there. I’ve done it. Guilty as charged. Without meaning to, of course, no malice aforethought, just an overworked, burned out wedding planner who lacked perspective. But let me tell you, managing any type of business to consumer relationship in a dictatorial fashion is one of the fastest ways to foster distrust and discontent. And what a damn shame that is, truly. Why? Because you may maintain control of the details but you’ll lose the client. Planning and designing weddings is not just about the day itself. It’s the journey to get there in the months and weeks of working closely together that, if unpleasant or stressful, will either mean a broken agreement, a dearth of referrals or a dead end relationship.
What can you do to STOP it?
In my experience, you first have to see it for what it is. Uncomfortable! For you and for the client! Being honest with yourself that something is currently not working with your method. Once you’ve come clean with yourself that it sucks and needs to change, helps you move to the why? Why are you holding on so tight? The willingness to acknowledge the toxic emotions under the surface may help end your damaging approach before it’s too late to salvage the hard won connection. So, are you a dictator?
Here are FIVE QUESTIONS to help you determine “Am I a Dictator with my clients?”
1) Does everything revolve around you? Not the client. Not the bride and groom. Does everything have to mold around your schedule, your idea, your vendors, your vision?
2) Do you obsessively control every aspect of the wedding, from the event professionals and the scope of their work, to each minute detail? Can you delegate tasks to the client, their family, or other vendors? Or do you keep it all to yourself?
3) Do you use fear to inspire loyalty, creativity and partnership?
4) Do you need to be right? Always? If the client makes a point or request, do you claim it or rip it apart? all because you just have to be RIGHT?
5) Are you ever wrong? Do you pass the blame to others when something doesn’t work? Is being wrong even an option?
When you tell anyone the way it has to be, that advice is not coming from a place of generosity and wisdom. Rather, it’s coming from your own sense of fear and insecurity. Seriously, do you know what the real motive is behind your inflexible direction? In many cases, as it often was for me, it stems from a desire or need to control the situation. Yes, CONTROL, that 7-letter word that is both a project manager’s friend and foe. But, I’m sorry to say, you can’t control it all. And certainly, you can’t control the client’s every move. Or the hundreds of professionals and guests involved!
And, frankly, if the client chooses NOT to follow the plan or advice you’ve offered, so what? Let it go. Don’t let their decision to go another way impact your own sense of self worth or professional value. Each client has his or her own goals in mind, not to mention, the background story, relationship intricacies, financial parameters, and marketing perspective that you may not be privy to.
Think of it like asking for directions, either they go the direction you say or they don’t. One way or the other, they’re probably going to get married anyway. Why twist yourself into a pretzel in the process?Comments ( 0 ) | Posted in Perspective, Random, Small Business, Wedding Planner Coach