Author: Dan Quinn
It’s true that 80% of couples read the reviews of wedding professionals when choosing who to book according to The Knot Worldwide WedInsights Reviews Study, 2019. As a wedding pro you need to figure out how to stand out in a sea of five star reviews. That’s why we turned to our friend Dan Quinn of DQB Entertainment and WeddingPro Educator to share his best tips for earning reviews from your first interaction with couples. Let’s get started!
Everyone’s a DJ these days, right? Or a photographer? Or a planner? As wedding pros, we know that’s not really the case, but let’s be honest, we’ve all seen this plenty of times. One thing that undoubtedly separates the pros from the amateurs is a collection of not just legitimate, but raving reviews that a pro will accumulate as they wow client after client.
But UGH, How do we get those reviews, Dan? I feel like I’m annoying the heck out of my couples, emailing them on their honeymoon and drowning in their inboxes, bothering them when they have a million things going on…
That’s right. Those things are tough to deal with. I had a realization about 2 years ago that my greatest wedding experiences and greatest reviews were about so much more than the wedding day itself. I often tell people in the sales process that “You’re not hiring me for 6 hours, you’re hiring me for a year”, and I really believe that.
As Wedding Pros, we start earning our review from the first interaction that we have with our couples. We build trusting relationships with them, we learn about their family dynamics, hear them out when they’re stressed, help them ease their concerns, and ultimately form an emotional bond with them that culminates in an epic celebration that they’ll talk about for the rest of their lives. We all do this….right?
Well if you don’t, here are some ideas that can help you to get started on the journey to epic-raving-review-land.
1.Building Trusting Relationships
It sounds generic, right? What does it really mean? I’ve learned a few things here…
I spend a lot of time with my couples. Specifically a 2-3 hour creative planning meeting where I really get to know them, deconstruct their story, their family structure, their closest friends, all the moving parts at the event. I can’t paint a beautiful picture if I don’t know what my palette looks like. It’s just my M.O. If I read any bad review about a DJ, it usually boils down to something that could have been solved by spending more time with the couples and getting on the same page.
What happens when you spend time with couples is that you become very honest with each other. You understand expectations, and set those expectations accordingly (both ways). You go beyond knowing the father of the bride’s name to knowing that he’s a very shy guy who doesn’t like to be in the spotlight. You learn that their roommate from college is an incredible singer that you may want to spotlight for an incredible moment. They TRUST that you want their party to be as amazing as they do, and now, barring some gross negligence on your part (You’re a pro, that wouldn’t be an issue), you’ve won them over. It’s no longer a tug of war between what you want and what they want- it’s alignment and a partnership that already has them so excited that they brought you into this celebration.
2. Be a Little “Extra”
We all have limits on our time. We all have lives outside of weddings- family, friends, houses, pets, the gym, and we need to protect that time. But every so often, why not go a little above and beyond what’s expected of you?
As a musician and a DJ, I often find myself learning a new song for a specific couple. A few couples I can think of have even asked me to modify the lyrics to existing songs to be about them or someone important to them. As a DJ, I often make custom edits of songs for special moments. It’s not in my contract. I don’t have to do it. But I do. Because the reaction is priceless. Because if you don’t do this for them, who will? If wedding pros are truly miracle workers and magic makers, why not take the opportunity to shine and do something a little extra?
3. Make Them Feel Like a Priority
Sure, our couples are going to see our work at other weddings. That’s why they hired us in the first place, right? We want them to see that we are experienced professionals who do great work.
But in an age where we’re ALL busy, remember that bragging about being busy isn’t cool. If your couple is trying to meet with you, don’t reply with “OMG, I am sooooooo busy with soooooo many weddings right now, I’m like totally slammed”. What, they don’t count? It doesn’t feel good to hear that. Instead of focusing on what/when you can’t do, focus on what you CAN. Block some time for each couple, Suggest meeting times that do work, and when you do get together with them, put the phone away. Be attentive and present, and make them feel like they’re your only couple. Because in that moment, and on their wedding day, they are.
4. Use Your Existing Reviews in the Booking Process
What better way to plant the review seed than sharing what other couples have said? In our booking process, I have what I call the “slam dunk” email that I usually send to couples as a reference after we speak. It has the pricing we’ve discussed as well as some links- one of which is all of my reviews on The Knot! Sure, I could tell them how great I am, but it’s way more powerful when it comes from someone else. Let your existing reviews do the talking, and instead, spend your time asking them about themselves and what their feelings are surrounding their big day.
5. If a Problem Arises, Don’t Put the Stress on Your Couple
When I was in elementary school, I had a gym teacher who was completely bizarre by today’s standards. He had some motivational phrases handwritten on construction paper that hung around the perimeter of the gym. One of them really stuck with me:
“Winners have answers. Losers have excuses”. Imagine that in a 3rd grade gym class today? Right?
Trust me, your couple is stressed out about enough on their big day. The LAST thing they need is to hear that there’s a tree down in your driveway or that your kid has the flu. Like it or not, there are no excuses on wedding day (and leading up to it) and there is no room for coming up short.
If there’s a tree down in your driveway, call an Uber and deal with it tomorrow.
Have backup plans in place for absolutely ANY emergency. Babysitting, Equipment, Transportation, Software…You need to have an answer for everything, not an excuse.
6. What Happens When You’ve Done All These Things
I’m not without my mistakes. Back in May I had an awesome couple. They were from out of town, but we still made time for each other. We spent a solid half day together when they came to town once. We had synced up with their planner and other vendors. I felt I really knew what to expect with their families. We built a FIRE playlist that I knew was going to be amazing, and had the ultimate trust built. To the point where they invited me to the after-party weeks before the wedding.
One of the things we had planned was this amazing Dirty Dancing Style grand entrance where Gabe was going to lift Sandra over his head- it was flawless. The place went nuts!
I was so excited that After the applause dulled, I walked out and handed the groom the mic for a welcome, COMPLETELY forgetting to do their first dance beforehand.
We went on with the welcome, blessing and dinner, and I was about to bring the parents up for dances when the groom said “Hey man, Aren’t Sandra and I supposed to dance first”? Holy $#&*- I totally forgot their first dance. In all of the excitement. The planner and I looked at each other, my jaw dropped, and I was totally mortified. Embarrassed. Wanted to hide. He could tell. He put is arm on my back, gave me a fist bump, and said “Don’t worry dude, you’re killing it. Whenever you’re ready.”
I truly believe this all happened because of the trusting relationship we had already built. He knew I had his best interests in mind. He knew I wanted nothing but the best for his wedding, and he knew that I was human and these things can happen.
What if I hadn’t built that trust and learned special songs for him and his wife? “Man, our DJ didn’t care- he was OK, Did what we asked but kinda messed something up”.
The next morning I got a text from the groom thanking me for an amazing night and asking where he could write a review for me- which he did immediately- and it was phenomenal.
Dan Quinn, DQB Entertainment