In recent weeks, we’ve seen the industry shift to experiment with new ideas in order to continue booking weddings while social distancing guidelines are in place. While most couples are rescheduling their weddings for dates when they can proceed with a large gathering, we are also seeing many couples honor their original dates with a miniwedding or microwedding. These changes have challenged industry pros to think differently about their business and innovate on their existing offerings in order to create new revenue opportunities. Our conversations with pros have been so inspirational that we wanted to bring the details of these new ideas directly to our WeddingPro Community live on Instagram.
This week’s conversation was with WeddingPro Educator Troy Adams of Carolina DJ Professionals. From pared down packages to virtual parties, here are the top 5 takeaways from our chat.
Takeaway 1: New Pared Down Packages (For Now)
Instead of reinventing services, Troy and his team have taken a look at their current offerings and made small adjustments in an effort to serve clients looking to move forward with miniweddings and microweddings. But rather than restructuring all of their packages or leaning solely into serving microweddings and miniweddings, Troy and his team have taken a look at their existing services and trimmed down some of the usual features. “I like to try to keep things as simple as possible,” says Troy. “We’re not sure that it’s going to last long-term,” he adds. “It’s constantly evolving.”
What That Looks Like: Instead of packages with 4-5 hours of coverage, they’re offering 2-3 hour packages. Fewer hours also means fewer meetings between the team and their clients and pared down elements on the day-of.
Takeaway 2: Protect Your Profits But Be Flexible
Whether it’s an existing client trying to understand their options or a new client inquiring about a date in the fall, the key for Troy and the team is to be open and communicative and ultimately seek out a win-win solution. “You always hear people say, don’t devalue your product, protect your profits,” Troy says. “But you also have to recognize that this is a once-in-a-lifetime event and you can’t be tone deaf to what’s going on.”
What That Looks Like: While they’re not returning deposits (because those cover the time and work already spent on their clients), they are giving clients lower priced packages and options for smaller weddings. “So the question is first how can we help you and then how do we make it make sense for our business,” says Troy.
Takeaway 3: Lean On Existing Clients to Test New Revenue Streams
When it comes to trying out a new idea or revenue stream, “Start with your existing clients,” suggests Troy. Pitch it to your client base and then welcome any and all honest feedback. “Your clients–the ones who trust you the most–are the ones who will be able to give you a feel for what’s going to work and what’s not as likely to take off,” says Troy.
What That Looks Like: Troy and his team reached out to clients to help them understand what they were doing to adjust their business and then also to collect feedback. “Remember, too, that these are the clients who are going to help you build it,” he adds. “It’s a lot easier to work with existing clients than it is to find new ones.”
Takeaway 4: Don’t Be Afraid to Refer Business
Instead of trying to be all things to all clients, remember who you are and what you’re good at. And don’t be afraid to say no to a request and to refer it along to someone else who you know can do that for them best. “Put people first at all times,” says Troy.
What That Looks Like: “If someone comes our way asking for an over-the-top AV setup for a big virtual event, we’re probably not going to be the right ones for them,” Troy says. So in that case, he and his team would refer that client along to another pro specializing in that sort of thing. In other words, stick to what you do best.
Takeaway 5: Virtual Parties For Now (And Beyond)
While he admits he certainly wasn’t the first to jump on board with virtual events and parties, Troy and his team are preparing to embrace the virtual party option. “I’m careful about what I jump into,” he says. “It’s just not in my nature to do something that I’m not sure I can do really well.” Now, he and the team have decided that they have the right setup to make virtual parties really work well for his clients, so they’re planning to offer up those services.
What That Looks Like: Because he just so happens to have a bandshell in his backyard, he has taken this time to outfit the stage with backdrops and all the proper equipment. So long as clients are loving it, the plan will be to continue offering virtual party options even after weddings and events have returned to large-scale.
Watch the full interview with Troy Adams to learn more about the innovative things he is doing to continue to sustain and grow his business. Stay tuned for more conversations on the Future of Weddings and what it means for pros.
About the author: Anja Winikka is the former editor of TheKnot.com and The Knot Magazines turned educator and contributing editor @WeddingPro. She’s on a mission to help creatives, community leaders, and wedding businesses own their stories and tell the world about it (follow along via Instagram @editorinchiefmedia).