Episode 97 - Screening and Booking New Clients with Holly Chapple
We chat with Holly Chapple about how she screens new clients, navigates contract negotiations, and protects her floral design business.
When starting out, it’s understandable to take on most clients. But as your business grows, you’ll have room to be more selective about who you work with.
How do you screen prospective clients to find the best fit for your paper flower business?
In our latest episode of Paper Talk we chatted with Holly Chapple of Holly Heider Chapple Flowers LTD. You’ve probably heard of her! She is a floral designer, educator, mentor, and more. On the podcast, she talked us through her process of taking on new clients. You’ll want to listen to our entire conversation to hear all she had to say about navigating contracts, consultations, and last minute changes.
In the meantime, here are a few takeaways about how to screen potential customers to find the best fit for your business.
Listen to our conversation to hear:
► Holly’s process for booking new clients from screening to consultations to the event.
► How to choose the right clients before investing too much time.
► What to look for in prospective customers.
► How to scale your business for bigger or smaller events.
► What to include in contracts to protect your business and how to handle retainers.
Provide Clear Information
People should be able to look through your online presence and get a good idea of what you are all about. Your social media should be representative of what you do. Your brand’s voice should be crystal clear.
In the episode, Holly told us about what she includes on her website to help educate clients before they ever contact her. Her client inquiry page includes information about her company, general pricing, visuals of her past work, etc.
You can listen to the podcast to hear about what she includes and why, but in short, that information helps some prospective clients know right away if they want to work with Holly. If they see that higher end price tag and balk, they probably won’t send her an inquiry. Everyone saves time negotiating what will ultimately be a bad fit for both of them.
Create Some Hurdles
Now you don’t want to make it impossible for people to contact you. But if you are shuffling through way too many inquiries, it’s okay to make prospective clients put more effort into that initial contact. Some brides will cut and paste inquiries to a large number of florists, without really doing any research about the businesses. You can weed out these less serious clients by adding some hurdles.
For Holly, this means asking for more information on her client inquiry page. In the episode she details what exactly this entails, but the general idea is twofold. First, only more serious clients will put in the effort to fill out all of the info she requests. Second, that information provides Holly’s team with a better idea of who this client is, what sort of event they want, and ultimately if it will be a good fit for Holly.
Here’s what Holly said about the second reason:
“I get so disappointed when I invest [time] in someone who wasn’t really my client anyway. So by asking those questions, I start to realize the importance of design…and the importance that flowers have in their day. And if I sense that that’s not the case, then it’s not really a wedding I should be bidding on.”
Have a Conversation
If a client submits an inquiry and looks to be a good fit for Holly, her team will put together a proposal. She doesn’t just email it to the client, though. She picks up the phone and has a conversation.
She stressed how important this call is: “If you want a business that’s booking consistently and has good vibes out there in the industry—and your customers, whether you book them or not, have a good feeling about the process of working with you—I think a phone call is always in order.”
This call builds up your relationship with the client and makes them more likely to book with you. It also helps you get a better idea if this client is right for you. Maybe they cleared all the hurdles and looked great on paper, but an actual conversation can reveal things that an internet form can’t. This phone call can help you see any red flags before contracts are negotiated and signed.
Holly shared much more about how to handle those calls and consultations, and you won’t want to miss any of it.