Communicating with clients in this day in age can be very confusing. Technology has transformed not only the way we communicate, but what we should be saying and how we should be saying it.
It’s important to be familiar with the best modern communication practices in order to get more replies and book more couples! In this month’s webinar for Premium members, WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg shared his tips for successful communication in the wedding industry!
Here are the 6 T’s that Alan suggests for better client communication:
- Technology. With literally thousands of apps available for communication–from Messages, to Live Chat, to email, to calling, etc.– it’s difficult to know the best way to get in touch with a couple. At the end of the day, customer convenience is the motto to live by. Follow their lead using their preferred communication type. If you’re making the first contact, email is typically your safest bet, as most couples prefer email over all other communication methods.
- Timing. The faster you respond to a couple, the more likely it is that they will choose your business over others. Most couples expect a response within 24 hours, so if you know you won’t be able to get back to them before then, at least make contact to let them know you will be in touch soon.
- Text. Whatever method of communication you choose, be sure to keep your message short and sweet. Also make sure that anything you send can be easily read on a mobile device. Alan suggests that you avoid using attachments and graphics when possible, as those tend not to load properly on mobile devices.
- Tone. When it comes to your tone, the golden rule is to mirror your client. Get a feel for their manner, and respond accordingly. However, don’t feel obligated to ditch your unique voice, and don’t change your tone once you’ve booked a client. Stay true to yourself and your business personality!
- Transition. Alan says that one of the most important elements to remember (and one that many business owners forget) is to always provide a call to action. Give your clients a sense of direction, letting them know what the next best step is. However, don’t be pushy; you don’t want to rush them or make them feel forced into an appointment.
- Tenacity. Don’t give up on a sale if you haven’t heard back right away! Couples are very busy when planning a wedding, so follow up to remind them that you still care about their sale. Ask for the sale if they ask you a question, but avoid seeming impatient. It’s a best practice to follow up 3-5 times on a lead before you let it go, just remain professional and try different approaches to see what gets you a reply.
For more great advice, watch the full webinar, and be sure to check out Alan’s blog all about the business of weddings!
Pro tip: WeddingWire Messages is a fast and easy way to connect with couples, available now in your account! You’ll be notified about new leads or messages, and you can reply using your email, account or mobile device. You’re easily able to send attachments, manage conversations and client details, and move from inquiry to marked as booked instantly. Learn more here!
A strong reputation is one of the best marketing tools you can have as a wedding professional – so don’t be afraid to network locally with potential clients and build relationships with other wedding pros! By reaching out to your peers, you can create professional connections that can lead to more referrals which means more leads. It’s important to get involved in your community to spread your name and your business skills in order to develop a powerful reputation.
Check out our latest infographic, which provides important highlights from our recent webinar all about building your reputation through wedding industry relationships, hosted by WeddingWire Education Expert Andy Ebon.
To learn more, watch the full webinar available any time to all Premium members. And check out the latest industry data and reports available at WedInsights.com!
Language is an important thing to remember when marketing to the LGBTQ community. You do not want to isolate any couples by using offensive wording, or failing to account for specific terms that welcome LBGTQ couples and make them feel comfortable to use your business.
One year ago this June the Supreme Court passed their decision on full marriage equality! To help celebrate, WeddingWire Education Contributor Bernadette Smith hosted an educational webinar this week to discuss the best practices for LGBTQ wedding language, so you can continue to effectively reach and serve all couples.
Here are some of the great tips for using inclusive language that were shared during the webinar:
- Not all people identify as a single gender, or have a single gender expression or sexual orientation. It is important to recognize that there can be fluidity between each of these categories. Since there are various ways that individuals can express themselves, aim to use inclusive language for all.
- It is okay to ask a client what pronoun they prefer, or by what title they would like to be called (“bride,” “groom,” etc.). It is better to ask your clients for their preferences so you can address them in a way that is respectful, rather than to make assumptions. And, be sure to honor their response!
- There are several offensive terms that are outdated or too risky to use when marketing, especially if you are not apart of the LGBTQ community. For instance, Bernadette recommends avoiding terms like “gay agenda,” “that market,” and “sexual preference,” among various others.
- Millennials often have a different take on the proper language that should be used to refer to LGBTQ individuals. They frequently follow their own trends, and are more likely to have more traditional wedding experiences. Learn more about these trends and the latest statistics by reading the 2016 Survey of Contemporary Couples Report.
- The best way you can show your support of LGBTQ couples is to be inclusive in your marketing, website and language. Show photos of all types of couples, express that you are excited to serve all types of loving couples explicitly, and update your contracts to use inclusive language not just “bride” and “groom.”
Interested in learning more? Watch the full webinar, or check out past blog posts on serving same-sex couples.
For more great education and resources from Bernadette, be sure to visit Gay Wedding Institute, and grab your free download 5 Social Media Tips to Increase Your LGBT Wedding Bookings.
Plus, don’t forget to opt-in to the GayWeddings vendor directory and update your main image to attract more engaged same-sex couples – learn how with our step by step guide. Once you are listed, add your GayWeddings badge to add to your website or blog and get added traffic to your listing!
Yesterday, we held this month’s educational webinar, Build Your Reputation Through Relationships & Referrals, hosted by WeddingWire Education Expert Andy Ebon. In this session, Andy explained an important, yet highly underrated part of a successful marketing strategy, which he calls “reputation marketing.”
Andy provided several tips for developing relationships within the industry and expanding your inventory of reviews and endorsements. By following his advice, you can build a reliable reputation, grow your business, and book more clients!
Here are a few ways to build a positive reputation within the wedding industry:
- Track particular keywords or phrases about your business on Google Alerts to know what people are saying about your business and/or about your competitors. These updates are delivered straight to your inbox.
- Create a blog where you can promote your own business, as well as those of your peers, whose professionalism you can trust and recommend. WordPress is a great platform to get started!
- Collect more reviews from past clients and and peer endorsements from other vendors on WeddingWire. This will help to further develop your strong online reputation, and let potential clients know you are reliable!
- Get involved in your community by attending events, joining associations, or accepting leadership roles in your favorite industry group. Not only can you become a figure of authority in your local community, but you can also demonstrate important skills that people will associate with you as a business owner.
- Make an effort to learn all aspects of the wedding industry by grabbing a casual lunch or coffee with a peer and get to know the challenges they face on a daily basis, or share business tips. If you better understand each other’s work, you can refer each other when the time comes!
For more information, watch the full webinar, available within all Premium member accounts any time! For more education from Andy, visit his blog.
We’re excited to share our latest infographic which provides important highlights from our recent webinar all about serving same-sex couples and the modern market today!
After all, over the past 20 years, much of the general understanding of same-sex wedding trends has stemmed from anecdote, intuition and misinformation. With a lack of widely accessible or reliable research, it’s been challenging for many wedding professionals to recognize accurate information and advice. But understanding the real story around what goes into planning a gay or lesbian wedding is key for pros who want to be prepared to proudly serve all couples in the increasingly competitive modern market.
To learn more and to get in the spirit of Pride month, watch the full webinar available any time to all Premium members. And check out the latest industry data and reports available at WedInsights.com!
Plus, opt-in to the directory or further promote your listing on GayWeddings with these helpful resources:
Stay tuned for more trends, stats, education all month as we celebrate Pride – and the one year anniversary of full marriage equality in the United States this June!
Being accurately informed and understanding the real story around what goes into planning a same-sex wedding is key for pros who want to be prepared to proudly serve all couples in the increasingly competitive modern market.
As we approach the one year anniversary of marriage equality in June, this month’s educational webinar hosted by Kathryn Hamm, Publisher of GayWeddings.com, and Andy Whittaker, Director of Market Insights at WeddingWire, discussed the latest LGBTQ wedding trends, how LGBTQ weddings differ and are the same as opposite-sex weddings, and how the landscape for same-sex weddings has evolved.
Here’s a snapshot of some of the interesting insights shared during the webinar:
- Gay-friendliness and customer service often outranks industry experience in importance to same-sex couples when it comes time to select their wedding team
- Self-identified same-sex couples who married in 2014 & 2015 remain much more comfortable breaking with traditionally-defined gender roles than previously-wed couples
- Same-sex couples are more likely to have blended wedding parties than opposite-sex couples
- As marriage equality has become the law of the land, legal elopements and out-of-state ceremonies are on the decline for same-sex couples
- Non-LGBTQ couples who value inclusion continue to rise as more couples look to work with wedding professionals who serve all loving couples
For more information, watch the full webinar, available within all Premium member accounts. And stay tuned for more in depth information on the latest wedding trends for today’s same-sex couples, coming soon!
Plus, don’t forget to opt-in to the GayWeddings vendor directory and update your main image just for GayWeddings.com to attract more engaged same-sex couples – learn how with our step by step guide.
Already listed on GayWeddings.com? Grab your GayWeddings listing badge to add to your website or blog and get added traffic to your listing!
Are you ready to sail through wedding season?
Late spring means that busy season is here for the majority of wedding professionals! While this is an exciting time to see your clients getting married and their perfect day coming to life, it can also be a stressful time to try to balance workload and client expectations – all while maintaining your business’ day to day operations!
April’s webinar for premium members hosted by Jennifer Reitmeyer, WeddingWire Education Expert and founder of WeddingIQ and Firebrand Messaging, focused on helping you stay sane and productive during the busy months ahead.
Check out the five keys to keeping your sanity during wedding season:
Busy wedding season is here (or very close!) for many wedding professionals. Along with this exciting time of the year often comes long days, needy clients, and plenty of unexpected surprises along the way.
It’s important to not lose your sales and operations momentum while you are hard at work executing your events so you can keep your business thriving year-round! In this month’s one hour webinar for Premium members, WeddingWire Education Expert Jennifer Reitmeyer shared tips to manage your business, your clients, and even your stress-levels like a pro!
Here’s the five keys to stay sane during wedding season:
- Take stock of your business as it is right now. Get real about your business, and take stock of where you are in the important areas of sales, marketing and operations before things get too busy.
- Create a plan. Determine how you will get all business-related items done while you are also executing lots of events. By setting a basic weekly routine, deadlines, and creating helpful resources such as an event prep list, you will stay organized and efficient.
- Embrace (and communicate) your boundaries. Most client and vendor-facing issues can be avoided by simply setting expectations. Make your boundaries clear on items such as working days and your service process, and communicate them clearly to each new client.
- Assess and re-asses. Remember that every good plan is flexible. Set aside time each month to check in with yourself and your business. Ask questions like “Am I continuing to make time to sell new clients?” or “How are my weddings going? Am I upholding to my standards and promises made, or do I need additional resources?”
- Treat yourself with the same respect and consideration with which you’d treat others. Make time for yourself or you will burn out! Schedule time off, set aside time to do the things you enjoy on a weekly basis, prioritize your sleep, and maintain your physical health. You will stay happy, and so will your business!
For more great advice, watch the full webinar, and be sure to check out Jennifer’s blog all about the business of weddings, WeddingIQ.com!
Don’t forget that your clients also get stressed during the wedding planning process up to the big day! Do you have any expert tips you would like to share with WeddingWire couples? Submit your tips here, and they could be included in an upcoming consumer campaign!
The ability to listen is one of the most important sales skills a pro can learn. It sounds simple (and it is!), but listening more than you talk during appointments can help you ask better questions in order to learn more about your prospects and tailor your sale to the custom needs of each couple.
Our March educational webinar for premium members hosted by WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg provided key insights on how talking less, but with thoughtful intent, can help you make more sales in less time. Get Alan’s top 4 tips in our infographic, below!
Don’t forget that all past webinars are available in the Education Center for Premium members to view anytime right from your WeddingWire account.
Webinar recap: Learn how you can benefit from listening up to sell even more!
Like it or not, sales skills are an important part of every successful wedding professional’s job! Do you ever talk yourself out of a sale? When was the last time you had a couple sell themselves?
This month’s educational webinar for premium members hosted by WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg provided key insights on how talking less, but with thoughtful intent, can help you make more sales in less time. After all, we all want to do business with people we know, like and trust!
Here are a few key tips:
- If you want more sales, ask better questions – and really listen to the answers!
- Ditch the pitch and instead focus on what details matter to the individual client to customize your sale to connect with each couple.
- Let the potential client the majority of the talking so you can learn more about their day, and don’t answer questions they haven’t asked.
- Don’t try to rush the decision making process, it can be a big decision to choose their wedding team that can take time!
- Remember that listening applies not only to appointments and calls but also emails and texts, so don’t data dump or over-share without finding more about their needs and wishes first.
- Close the sale when you see and hear buying signals (such as asking about price, or availability for a specific date), and don’t be afraid to ask for their business!
Want to learn more about these tips? Watch the full webinar!
All past webinars are available in the Education Center for Premium members to view anytime right from your WeddingWire account.
Many pros consider this time of the year that is more quiet a bit of an ‘off-season’ before busy wedding season picks up in in few months. Even if you may be less busy during this time, it is important to focus on your business, and set yourself up for a successful and profitable year ahead!
Check out these four ways to stay profitable and focused even during the ‘off-season’ from WeddingWire Education Expert Andy Ebon. Want more information? Watch the full webinar here!
Many pros use the first few months of every year, often considered as the “off-season” to regroup before the upcoming wedding season begins in the Spring. While it’s great to use this time to refresh your business, it is important to maintain a sharp focus and use this time effectively to leverage your impact during the ongoing engagement season, and to set yourself up for a profitable year ahead!
In this month’s webinar for premium members, WeddingWire Education Expert Andy Ebon shared his perspective on how to stay productive and maximize your business impact during the off-season.
Here are a few of Andy’s tips focused on improving your profitability:
- Grow your professional network: Join or attend a local networking group or industry event, and make new industry connections with pros you admire that you can leverage to connect with more clients in 2016, and in turn recommend their services to your clientele.
- Calculate your gross wedding income: Make sure you take the time to find out how successful your 2015 year was for your business by determining your gross income. To find this number, determine your overall wedding revenue in 2015, and divide that by the total number of weddings you serviced. That will show your overall income per wedding. Set a goal for your gross wedding income for 2016 and evaluate how you will get there— an expanded team, more booked weddings, higher prices?
- Compute your marketing expenses: Take the time to track your marketing expenses to determine your overall spend, and apply that to your marketing plan for 2016. Expenses include association membership, online advertising, print ads, wedding shows, continued education and more. Review your overall spend, and determine how you will use it effectively in 2016 to help reach your business goals.
- Determine your variable cost per wedding: How much do you spend per wedding on average? This amount impacts your overall revenue, and should factor into your prices. To find your variable cost per wedding, add up the cost of good, travel and delivery expenses, payroll per event, and any additional costs you may need to consider. Then, simply divide that number by your total number of weddings last year.
For more great tips on staying productive and profitable, watch the full webinar! Plus, all past webinars are available in the Education Center for Premium members to view anytime, on topics including marketing, sales, client communication and more.