» 10 Dos and Don’ts from Couples this Engagement Season

Engagement season is here! Couples are getting engaged, starting to plan their dream day, and will be searching to find their perfect wedding team in the coming months. In our October webinar for premium members, we discussed the top 10 dos and don’ts for impressing these clients – right from WeddingWire couples themselves!

The infographic below highlights the 10 ways they indicated to make a great impression, keep your clients happy, and keep the planning process moving smoothly all the way to their big day!

Oct_Webinar_Infographic_DelightDontFright-final

» Tips to Leverage Top Down Selling

Boost your bottom line by leveraging top down selling techniques!

Bringing in more revenue does not have to mean a lot more effort, or even more clients. Learn how to work smarter, not harder, by applying these proven sales strategies when interacting with your clients from WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg. You will close larger sales from your clients, be quicker to book their business, and have more time to dedicate to your business growth!

Top Down Selling Tips

 

» Top Down Selling Tips to Increase Your Bottom Line

June-Webinar_Top-Down-Selling-to-Increase-Your-Bottom-Line_TileWebinar recap!

When it comes to running your business, it is best to try to work smarter, not harder. This attitude doesn’t just apply to your services – it also applies to your sales process! In this month’s webinar for premium members, WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg shared his tips for leveraging top down selling opportunities to help boost your bottom line.

Check out some key take aways below, and watch the full session in the Education tab of your WeddingWire account any time!

Webinar highlights:

  • When it comes to your services and packages, more choice is not always better! More options can be overwhelming. It’s best to keep your services concise, clear and presented from highest to lowest in package form.
  • The three simple ways to earn more money are to focus on higher volume, set a higher average sale, or a combination of both. By getting to know the client needs, and effectively setting your prices, you will be on a path to more revenue.
  • Set the goal to not oversell or undersell for each client. How do you accomplish this? Focus on finding out their interest and needs and trying to sell them the service they want (not what you would want!), avoiding pre-judging any client needs, and selling packages vs. a-la-carte services as much as possible.
  • Work to establish three key packages to keep choices limited and services consistent. Three packages will give your clients enough choice without overwhelming them with options. Consider creating a top of the line package, a standard “featured” package with your most popular services as a medium price point, and a good but more basic package. Then, once the package is selected, allow for add-ons and customization as you see fit.
  • Top down selling works by assuming the higher sale. A higher sale means more work and profits for your business. When consulting with clients, listen to their needs then politely show them your most exclusive offer first, and gauge their reaction. Never start with focusing on your lowest package or you could miss a great up-sell opportunity. After all, no one is ever offended by being presented the best you have to offer!

Sign up for our monthly webinars for more great education, and visit the Past Webinars section within your WeddingWire account for all previous sessions on a wide variety of topics.

» The Paradox of Choice: When More Isn’t Better

This article was written by WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg, CSP. Alan has over 20 years experience in wedding related sales and marketing, and is an author, business consultant, a member of the National Speakers Association, and the wedding & event industry’s only Certified Speaking Professional®. Learn more at alanberg.com.

In my 2014 webinar on pricing, I talk about having better packages and pricing information. I suggest having three packages, where the middle package is the one that you want/expect most customers to buy. I want to delve a little deeper into why this may work for you.

Decision makingIn his book The Paradox of Choice – Why More Is Less, psychologist Barry Schwartz suggests that “eliminating consumer choices can greatly reduce anxiety for shoppers.” Today’s couples have grown up in a world of seemingly limitless choices. But more choices aren’t always better. More choices don’t make choosing easier; in fact, too many choices makes choosing harder. When presented with so many choices, how do you choose?

Give them better choices
It’s your job as the expert in your field to help guide your customers to the right choice. Giving them a very long list of options is only going to delay them from making a choice. It’s also making selling harder for you. It’s simply harder to sell and harder to buy when there are more choices. If you often have customers say “You’ve given us so much to think about we need to go home and process it,” you may be overwhelming them with choices. In addition to presenting them with choices, it’s also your job to eliminate the options that won’t work for the customer and remove them from their view, literally and figuratively.

Imagine you only have one thing to sell – then it’s simply a yes or no decision. Add another choice and it’s either Option A or Option B. But when you add a third choice something magical happens: Option B becomes the easier choice. Adding more choices muddies the middle, and the clear/easy choice isn’t as apparent.

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» 4 Ways to Improve Your Response Time

4 Ways to Improve Your Response TimeBecause today’s world revolves around instantaneous communication, response time is very important. An untimely response to an inquiry or request often indicates poor customer service to your potential clients, and a consistently slow response time can result in the loss of multiple customers and the associated revenue.

If you respond to a lead within 5 minutes rather than 30 minutes, you’re 100 times more likely to turn a lead into a client. Responding quickly to any client communication could mean the difference between getting the sale and losing out to a faster Pro.

Use the following tips to help improve your response time and streamline the response process!

Try to respond within 24 hours. Even if you just reply to let them know you’ve received their email but you’re very busy, it helps the couple to know whether or not you check your email on a regular basis. It doesn’t take much to send a quick reply explaining that you are short on time and will get back to them as soon as you have a free moment. This could be accomplished with an auto-reply email or a personalized email response. Don’t forget that many couples reach out to multiple Pros at once, so you don’t want to miss out.

Be careful with auto-responders. Auto-reply emails are a great idea in theory, but the details can sometimes cause Pros to slip up. You don’t need to fully describe your services or go through your business’ mission statement in your auto-reply email! You want to find the sweet spot where you’re providing helpful, valuable information but without repeating everything they’ve already read on your website. You’ll also want to keep it conversational so that your auto-responder doesn’t seem so mechanical. For more auto-reply best practices, use our Pro Tips.

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» Ace the Inquiry! Tips for Better Sale Conversions

Ace the InquiryWebinar recap!

When it comes to booking more business, getting more inquiries is just the beginning. How you handle those new inquiries is crucial! Many Pros do not realize the impact that your response time and communication style to leads can make on closing the sale.

In this month’s webinar for premium members, WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg shared his best tips to improve your sale conversions so you can have your most successful year yet!

Check out the tips below on how you can ace your next inquiry:

  • Respond quickly. More often than not, one of the first Pros to respond gets the business! Most couples only reach out to their top choices, so respond quickly to get their attention and work towards setting up a conversation that may lead to a sale.
  • Respond personally. Couples want to feel special as they plan their big day. Respond with a personal touch to acknowledge their request with their name and tie in any specific details about their day they may have shared. This will make them more inclined to learn more about your services and is a great first touch to establishing a connection.
  • Respond conversationally. Be mindful to be professional in your replies, but there is no need to be overly formal and stuffy. They are planning a very personal life event, and are more likely to want to do business with a Pro they feel a connection with. A conversational reply will make the couple feel at ease and will give a sense of your personality which can help you to stand out as they chose between Pros.
  • Don’t avoid the price question. When a couple is ready to know cost, don’t hesitate to share that information but do explain why you are priced the way you are! Work to make sure they already know about what makes your business special before jumping right into cost so they will be more inclined to appreciate the value of your services. Let them know you are happy to explain the reasoning behind your prices should they have any questions (or sticker shock!).
  • Use reviews. Reviews are a great way to stand out from your competition by letting your past clients do your bragging for you. With 72% of customers trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations, there is no reason not to be collecting as many testimonials to share with potential clients as you can! Use the WeddingWire Review Collector tool to make it easy to gather great reviews.

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» Why You Should Stop Hating Sales

Pro to Pro Insights

Rick Brewer

This article was written by Rick Brewer of Wedding Business Marketing. Rick has 22+ years in marketing and selling to wedding couples and is known for his proprietary approach to the psychology of wedding buying. Rick has worked with over 2100 wedding businesses, spoken to 250 + wedding groups and regularly shares his insight on wedding industry trends and cycles.

Nothing happens until something is sold.” – Thomas J. Watson

In over 25 years of being a salesman, sales manager and sales trainer, I run into people almost daily who say that they hate selling. While it’s fair to feel uncomfortable about being too pushy, the sales process often receives a lot more hate than it should. It’s time to stop hating sales.

Why You Should Stop Hating SalesSelling is a crucial element of business whether you like it or not. While you may offer the best, most perfect product or service in your category, today’s couples need to be sold. In the weddings and events industry, we especially need to be able to sell the couple on what we offer.

Many wedding businesses think that because couples need what they sell, all they have to do is hang out a sign and the business will come. You see this when people research the number of weddings a year in a given area, and assume they should easily be able to book their fair share of them simply by opening up their business. The wedding industry is not the movie Field of Dreams; if you build it, they won’t necessarily come.

Your competition is likely working harder, so you need to work harder. Your competition, most of the time, is not some evil entity down the street going head-to-head with you in back-to-back meetings. Your competition could have more employees, a bigger advertising budget or twenty more years experience than your business, but your competition could also include a novice business offering the same services for half your price. Worse still – some of your competitors could even be friends or relatives of the engaged couple. Brides and grooms today have a lot of options!

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» The Opportunity Cost of Not Asking for the Upsell

This article was written by WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg, CSP. Alan has over 20 years experience in wedding related sales and marketing, and is an author, business consultant, a member of the National Speakers Association, and the wedding & event industry’s only Certified Speaking Professional®. Learn more at alanberg.com.

Are you getting the most profit from each wedding or event? I gave a presentation recently on closing sales and how none of us should sell a client something they neither want nor need. That doesn’t mean we don’t sell them things they didn’t come in for. Most couples don’t know how to shop for what you do, so they don’t always know what’s available.

The Opportunity Cost of Not Asking for the UpsellDiscover the interest

Part of your job in the sales process is to ask good questions to find out if your client is interested in hearing more about some of the things you do, but they haven’t asked you about. That’s called the discovery phase. If they’re not interested, move on. If they are then show them how those things can enhance their event, and then see if they’re interested in adding them. In other words, go for the close.

What if they don’t buy them today?

For most wedding and event professionals there is a gap between when you make the sale and the event date. Therefore there’s plenty of time to revisit some of the upsell opportunities with your client. But do you? Is the sale done and complete the first time, or do you call, email or bring up the other items during subsequent meetings? If not, why not?

What’s the opportunity cost?

If you’re not asking for the upsell with your client (I’m talking about upsell items that will legitimately benefit them), both you and the client lose. They lose the chance to enhance their wedding or event (and of course they can decline them) and you lose the revenue. The revenue you lose is called the “opportunity cost,” or more appropriately the “opportunity lost.” Over the course of a year this can add up to a lot of revenue. Just imagine an extra $50, $100, $200 or more, in profit from each event. What would that mean to you?

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» How to Deal with Pricing Questions

Handling pricing questions can be tricky. In our November webinar for premium Pros, WeddingWire Education Expert Alan Berg shared his top pricing tips. Our latest infographic has Alan’s tips for how to deal with common pricing questions!

Want more great tips? Premium Pros can watch the full webinar at any time to learn Alan’s four ways to best respond to the dreaded ‘how much?’ question with ease.

How to Deal with Pricing Questions

» The Price is Right: Tips for Dealing with ‘How Much?’

The Price is Right: Tips for Dealing with ‘How Much?’Webinar Recap!

Whether it’s in person, on the phone, via email, or on your website, handling pricing questions is a delicate art. In this month’s webinar, WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg shared how to effectively deal with the dreaded question ‘how much?’ in order to establish a better rapport with your customer, make more appointments, and close more sales.

Find out some top highlights from the webinar below!

  • A key to making a sale or handling a pricing question effectively is to tell the client why not just what. Make a bullet list of the outcomes of the client going with your business so they can visualize you being a part of the day, and how these great services lead to the price. This will help explain and justify your prices.
  • Remember your brand is defined by the words your customers use, not just your own claims. Leverage online reviews and collect client testimonials for your sales and marketing communication to let them do the work and sell your services for you.
  • Ask yourself if your pricing challenges are self-inflicted. Do you clearly communicate the service that you provide and effectively explain your price? Do you know what matters most to the client? Easily avoid pricing issues before they arise by keeping your pricing transparent and getting to know the client a bit to tailor your sales pitch to their needs. Focus less on selling and more on helping the client buy.

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» Closing the Sale Through Education

Closing the Sale Through EducationOne of the hardest parts of the sales process in most industries is closing the sale. In the wedding industry, once you get the lead, getting the appointment is typically the next logical step and (hopefully) takes a bit less work. However, when you get through an appointment it can be hard to walk away with the sale. WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg addressed this topic in his discussion of the “dreaded” price question.

Why do couples always ask about price first? They ask “how much” because they don’t know what else to ask. It’s not that they’re price shoppers or that they can’t afford your services; sometimes they just don’t know where else to start the conversation or how much to expect. After all, everyone needs to know how much a product or service they want costs at some point and no one wants to overpay.

Remember that each couple you meet is trying to plan an event they have never planned before (for the most part). They’re not always looking to haggle on price. Sometimes they just don’t know enough about your business to differentiate it from the rest of the Pros out there. That’s where closing the sale through education becomes a viable strategy.

Avoid the immediate “How much?” by educating your prospective clients about your offering in general as well as about your business! Think about the most important things a couple should know or might not have considered. Then think about how your business goes above and beyond to meet those needs. These are the talking points to use during your appointment!

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» How to Prepare for Your Face to Face Meeting

Pro to Pro Insights

Rick Brewer

This article was written by Rick Brewer of Wedding Business Marketing. Rick has 22+ years in marketing and selling to wedding couples and is known for his proprietary approach to the psychology of wedding buying. Rick has worked with over 2100 wedding businesses, spoken to 250 + wedding groups and regularly shares his insight on wedding industry trends and cycles.

As a wedding professional, you may find yourself asking, “How do I better qualify my appointments?” We all understand that if we come prepared to the appointment, it means we have a higher probability of being able to close the sale (assuming that the couple is ready to buy). These tips will help you do your best to set-up the face to face meeting so that you’ll be able to better close the sale.

There are a few crucial elements to a proper appointment. These two key tips make a big difference:

  1. All or most decision makers/influencers will be there
  2. They understand what will happen at the appointment (primarily how much time the appointment should take)

How to Prepare for Your Face to Face MeetingHow to prepare for the appointment

The first part of preparing for the appointment is all about who is attending and getting the key decision makers involved. Many wedding professionals ask “who else will be joining the couple at the appointment?” The problem with this question is it leaves a wide gap for the couple to sneak through by simply saying something like, “Oh I will be there by myself” indicating other decision makers may not be there, and therefore that they may not be ready to buy. After that response, you have no room to move. If you ask them a follow up question related to who is coming then you are acting “salesy” which will put the couple on the defense.

The best way to get the decision makers/influencers is to ask the following question:

“Who will help you in making this decision?”

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