No-shows and missed opportunities can be disheartening for any boutique owner. This month, our brilliant panel of Boutique Hub experts share their invaluable insights on how to effectively deal with no-shows and seal the deal with potential clients. Let's dive into the strategies that can turn missed appointments into successful sales...
With thanks as always to this month's experts, Rebecca Baddeley from TDR Bridal Birmingham, Ellie Sanderson from Ellie Sanderson Bridal, Rob and Andrew from Creatiques Bridal Boutique and Jane Palmer from Celebrating Curves.
NO SHOWS - How do you deal with them...
Ellie Sanderson: We have charged for appointments for some years now, Brides at our end of the market expect this so there is little challenge and rarely any no-shows. In our outlet we charge £5 and refund this when they buy, it's a nominal fee but shows a commitment, again it helps with no shows. We also pre-call and connect with every bride, building loyalty and more.
Celebrating Curves: I don't really suffer with these any more (touch wood) I think this is all down to the contact that I have with brides before their appointment even begins. Once the appointment is made
(whichever method they have been in touch - website, email, phone, social media) they receive a text confirming the date and time and giving them some information about what to expect
from the appointment. Within this, it does say quite early on "if you're unable to make the appointment please let us know as soon as possible as we usually have a waiting list for appointments."
Then on the Sunday or Monday of their appointment, they receive a reminder text, again confirming the date and time and giving directions and parking information. It starts with From Celebrating
Curves Bridal - please read in full and respond and further down remind them that someone else might want the appointment if they don't. On rare occasions, I get no response, so I will chase those
up with a couple of days to go for their appointment (particularly weekends). 9/10 they have just forgotten to respond, but if they do cancel at that stage I've still got time to advertise the space on
social media. It may seem like a faff, but I'm into the habit now and it definitely saves me sitting around in the store waiting for someone who has no intention of coming!
TDR Bridal: Honestly, our instances of no-shows are infrequent, likely because of our proactive approach to maintaining communication and fostering a connection with our brides before their store visits. We provide the convenience of online booking and cancellation options for brides, offering ample notice for these adjustments. Moreover, due to our weekend waiting list, cancellations are swiftly filled, ensuring minimal gaps in our appointment schedule.
Creatiques: This is an ongoing issue, at the moment we do not charge so this will come into effect in 2024.
CLOSING THE SALE - What are your top closing tips?
Creatiques: just reiterate all your strengths and benefits of buying or maybe offer an incentive like a free veil or headpiece.
TDR Bridal: I think that it's inevitable that some brides will be indecisive but our job is to help guide them and remind them what they did and didn’t like as they go through the process and help them to narrow down their choices whilst empowering them to make that decision. There needs to be at least 5 touch points with a bride before she comes into the store to start building that relationship so that she is
Know your stock
Build a relationship
Listen to what she says and, importantly, what she doesn’t say
Build trust with her friends and family
Celebrating Curves: It's really just about asking for the sale, but prior to that it's really listening, hearing what the bride is saying and producing the dress that ticks all of her boxes. That way it's easy then to ask her to buy.
To be honest, I'm not a hard salesperson, I've been in sales for most of my life and have never found hard sales tactics work for me. People buy people, they need to trust you, so it's the work you
do with them even before they visit your store that will help to get that sale.
If I do have someone who can't make a decision, some people just need to sleep on it, I will either try to get them booked in there and then for a retry appointment or suggest completing the paperwork (taking measurements etc) so that they are able to just call with the deposit and don't need to come back.
I think it's about reading the bride and understanding what she needs. My conversion is good, so I must be doing something right LOL!
Navigating the challenges of no-shows and successfully closing deals in the wedding trade requires a combination of resilience, proactive communication, creating memorable experiences, tailoring your approach, and leveraging technology. By incorporating these strategies into your business practices, you'll be better equipped to turn missed opportunities into thriving successes. Stay inspired, stay resilient, and continue to delight your clients with the exceptional service that defines the wedding trade.
Thank you again to our experts, an insightful read as always! Add your thoughts to the comments below and get in touch here if you would like to join our Boutique Hub. We love hearing from you and sharing your amazing insights to the reality of bridal retail.