I am running into an issue with a bride who is seriously dragging her feet on ordering. She had a deadline on her save the dates, and we barely met that deadline. (I had to have them drop-shipped from my lab directly to her for there so that she could send them out on time. Otherwise, it would have been nearly a week late as I would have had to ship them to her after receiving them from my lab.) She is really excited about the engagement photos, and she has been posting on Facebook at each step so far: scheduled the session, about to have the session, just had the session, ordered the save the dates, about to order engagement photos, etc.
It was about 2 weeks from the time that the save the dates were ordered before she could come into town to order the rest of her photos from the session, and it was 2 weeks from the time that we booked the consult until the time that we actually sat down. Knowing that her mom was going to sit down with us and order that day, she didn't give her mom a way to look through the images other than what were posted online as a sneak peek. She also didn't compile a list of her favorites or take measurements where she would like to hang photos. I even offered to do a pre-consult consult over the phone to get the process started.
We sat down for over 2 hours, went through the "like it/love it" process of the proofs and left when there were pressures for them to end the meeting for family plans. All that got specifically picked out for an order were 2 5x7's for holiday gifts, and they agreed they would like a guestbook. It came out over the 2 hours time that the bride (whose wedding was exactly 4 months away from our meeting) has not put deposits or signed contracts with her ceremony and reception venues, saying "I think they have me penciled in." She also said, "I just got paid, so I really want to spend money right now." Money and liking the photos aren't the issue, but her ability to commit to make purchases is.
I know there are a LOT of things that are specific to this situation which makes it especially frustrating, but my question is general (as to some extent, I imagine there are a lot of brides and photography clients who drag feet and just don't get it together): When you have talked product from the first contact with the client, how do you handle a sales consult when the bride has done nothing to prepare and refuses to commit to anything? I suppose this question applies to clients in general who don't know what they want and don't do their homework to figure it out. I know I can't force decisions, but I know there are certain tactics in these situations which I have not learned yet. How do you nail down the sale in a situation like this? Does it mostly stem from a problem of not educating the client enough from the beginning, or do you have advice on handling the situation in the consult?
Thank you so much!