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Selling in Bridal: Interview with Fleur Kolk, Expert Bridal Sales Trainer “Never Forget to Make it a Unique Experience”

Bridal Sales Trainer, Ms. Fleur Kolk based out of Rotterdam Netherlands, quickly rose in the bridal industry from having her own vintage clothing store to landing a job in a bridal shop where she became a store manager within months. Not only has she written a manual of the valuable 10 year experience in selling in bridal, but she also consults struggling bridal retailers on how turn their businesses around.

“Never Forget to Make it a Unique Experience”

Bridal Sales Trainer, Ms. Fleur Kolk based out of Rotterdam Netherlands, quickly rose in the bridal industry from having her own vintage clothing store to landing a job in a bridal shop where she became a store manager within months. Not only has she written a manual of the valuable 10 year experience in selling in bridal, but she also consults struggling bridal retailers on how turn their businesses around.

Bridal Times had the opportunity to speak with Fleur about her manual and what it takes to sell in bridal.

 

What inspired you to write your manual?

“I had several books about sales. Everything from selling kitchens to cars, but there was nothing specific to bridal. There just wasn’t enough information,” explained Fleur.  It was while working at the store that she felt the need to write down the things that she had learned. “We had new bridal consultants start with us and at the beginning, they didn’t know that an alteration of a dress was even possible. Brides love this kind of advice! Especially when you make the bride feel you are making special adjustments just for her.” Fleur firmly believes her team works better once they have gotten the basics from the manual first before working on the bridal shop floor.

 

What do you feel are the most important characteristics of a bridal consultant?

“A bridal consultant should have an energetic, bubbly and open personality. They have to be able to communicate and be genuine that they really want to help the bride find her dress. It’s important to be empathetic.”

“Be a good listener. Ask the bride questions that are as open as possible. Listen to her and pick up on different hints she gives you, and then filter them in order to help her make a decision.”

“Enthusiasm and Confidence. Confidence comes knowing your materials, brands, and overall knowledge of bridal gowns.”

“Bridal Consultants have to be in the Know-How. They have to want to learn, want to be knowledgeable and really put efforts towards it. There can’t be any kind of lack in passion.”

 

So what are the common mistakes bridal consultants make?

“Bridal Consultants tend to have the mental thought that they are being too pushy. They have this kind of mental thought very strong in their mind, which leads to a lack of confidence. They need to ask the right questions in the right order to get the bride in the mindset of buying. A bridal consultant has every right to ask the question “Is this your dress?” or “Can you imagine yourself in this dress on your wedding day?”

 

How can store managers keep track of the performance of their bridal consultants?

“Group and individual targets help to keep bridal consultants focused. If you have a goal, you are most likely to reach it. It also can’t be acceptable that bridal consultants finally reach their goal but no longer work towards any other future targets. The targets need to be kept in place, whether it be weekly or monthly in order to keep the challenge. The goals have to be realistic and will have to fit the individual, such as someone who is new compared to an experienced bridal consultant.”

 

What can bridal shops do if they notice a slump in overall sales?

“There could be many reasons but this would be the chance for retailers to evaluate why brides are not visiting your store and to identify the source of the problem. In terms of selling bridal and marketing, there is so much that can be gained from social media such as Facebook or Instagram to bring brides to your store. With social media, it’s easy to be get super specific with your target audience.” Fleur also advised that smaller shops with less space, should focus on stocking their store with a main style such as creating an amazing vintage style collection or choose one popular brand and sell it exclusively. This would help to channel more brides to your shop knowing that they can find the specific style or gown they are looking for.

 

What is key to keeping the bride in your store and not walking around the corner to the competitor?

“When a bride walks through the door, don’t just rush her straight to the dresses. Sit her down, talk and listen to her and connect. The first 15 minutes are worth everything. Throw in little hints that she came to the right place, she came to the right store or even drop in the comment “Most brides find their dress on the first try”. Find the dresses that make her feel the emotion and add to it by putting a necklace or accessories. I would have her walk to the mirror like it was her own wedding day. From the beginning to the end, I go through the conversation the exact same order to build up to point of sale. It’s important to make her feel those emotions and right when you feel it in your gut, you can ask her “Is this your dress?” If you ask too early, then she’ll back up.  You have to find the right moment to ask.”

 

What is the best piece of advice you received in selling bridal?

“Teach your consultants everything they need to know about the dresses. You can never talk and advise without having knowledge about the profession.”

“Never forget to make it a unique experience. At the end of the day towards the last appointment, Bridal Consultants can be exhausted but you have to remind your consultants that they have to do their very best in providing this one of kind experience for the bride.”

Bridal Times has provided just a tiny glimpse into Ms. Fleur Koll’s expansive advice in “Selling in Bridal.” She has recently completed her 4th manual and further information on her manual and training resources can be found on her website in English at www.sellinginbridal.com.

Of course Bridal Times will be glad to bring you more expert bridal training advice from Ms. Fleur Kolk in the future!

 

 

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