Brent Dickson is better known these days as ‘The Wedding Crasher’ and for good reason. He has quickly become one of the most popular celebrants in Fremantle so it’s no surprise he says being a celebrant is the best job in the world.
In this chat with Easy Weddings’ Head of Client Experience, Alex, Brent shares some lessons learned from his early days, how he continues to work on his business and why he has asked his friends to stop recommending him on Facebook.
Q: Can you give us an insight into how your marketing has changed over time?
A: So when I first started, I remember my first 10 bookings took forever and I was still working full time when I started as a celebrant as a bit of a hobby and I really enjoyed it. But I heard of people doing a hundred weddings in a year and I was just like, “How am I going to do that?” I was just taking whoever came to me basically but I was also happy to drop a hundred dollars or $150 or whatever. I took it personally if someone didn’t get back to an inquiry and it wasn’t because of me and I learned that pretty quick, but I was priced out. I was in the wrong target, I was in the wrong area and people weren’t worried about who was going to be their celebrant, it was how much their celebrant was going to be. So I contacted probably the busiest celebrant in WA, Kirk, to catch up for a coffee and he gave me a few weddings. I took him out for lunch as a thank you.
Q: What other advice did Kirk give you?
A: I asked him what I should do if someone’s not getting back to me and he said you need to do two follow-up emails, maybe within a fortnight and if they don’t come back to you, then you just have to move on. And he also said to get that first email out within 24 hours, like action that straight away.
Q: What’s one thing you regret doing in your early days of being a celebrant?
A: I started getting on these Perth wedding sites and on Facebook. And if someone came up saying ‘Hey, I’m looking for a celebrant’ and I found that maybe two out of every 10 enquiries would want to meet, but they were really price-conscious. So then I’d drop my price. Not sure why I did that to myself. I remember the first time I did this, I was happy to do it and there were going to be like 10 people there. I said I would do it for $550. Big mistake. There ended up being 70 people and I ended up having five meetings. It was great fun but for $550, it was more work than what I would have done for a normal Saturday, big wedding. So that was a real lesson to me to work out my prices.
Q: So what’s your process now?
A: Most of the clients I get now, we don’t have a price conversation. It’s about me. It’s about them. It’s about their day. It’s what they want. So what I do now is send them a price straight away. If they’re happy with the price then we organize a no-obligation meeting. So then we go to the meeting and then they’re like, ‘Yep. Happy to move forward.’ So I think It’s probably nine out of 10 meetings that I’ll secure the booking and I’m probably 50% from all enquiries.
Q: Where are you getting most of your enquiries from?
A: So on Easy Weddings, you’re able to display your prices so it’s pretty upfront as to how much you’re going to be. As a result of that, you’re only getting people who are price aware when they contact you. And on Facebook, I took my name off all those Facebook pages and asked friends to stop putting my name down.
Q: How has your experience with Easy Weddings been?
A: I told this to Chelsea when I first started. I got quite different feedback from various people about Easy Weddings from people saying it was a waste of time and then other people saying it was great. So I started in the low base and I got a lot of inquiries and got a lot of bookings out of it. And then I spoke to Chelsea about doing more weddings in the south so then I went to $260 a month and I look at the overall result. For what I put in, it’s a no-brainer. If I got five weddings a month through Easy Weddings, that more than covers the cost.
Q: How are you making the best use out of your Easy Weddings listing?
A: I always say to couples that if they want to see my reviews, hop onto Easy Weddings and have a look. All my reviews are there. But half the time they’ve already looked at Easy Weddings and then go onto my website and come through.
Q: What advice would you give to other suppliers who are looking to reinvigorate their business after a difficult last 18 months?
A: First of all, you have to make sure you’ve got something to offer. So get your marketing right – your Facebook, your Instagram, your reviews, your Easy Weddings site, your website, get that sorted. But then you have to invest in your business and it’s not always about money. It’s networking. So like three weeks ago I went down south for a week and I organised 10 meetings with venues. I did two weddings and then did 10 meetings with just venues that I’ve never met before. And I went to the venues that I want to do weddings at. So you can’t sit back in your lounge room or in your office and go, ‘Why am I getting nothing coming to me?’ Well, if you don’t go out and give something first, nothing’s going to come back.