This article was written by Alan Berg, a WeddingWire Education Guru. Alan has over 20 years experience in wedding related sales and marketing, and is a member of the National Speakers Association, an author, and founder of The Wedding Industry Leaders Conference, an organization dedicated to the educating and consulting of highly motivated individuals and businesses. Learn more at http://alanberg.com/.
As I travel around the country, and the world, this is one of the questions I get asked most often: “Why do couples almost always ask about price first?” There are so many important things that our prospects need to know, yet so many seem to ask about price before getting to the other details. Why is that? We all know that price is not the most important factor, but couples will still ask about price first.
I contend that they ask “how much” because they don’t know what else to ask. If they did, then they would ask the more important questions first. So often they don’t even tell you the date of the wedding, or the location, yet they ask you how much it costs. It’s not that they’re price shoppers, or that they can’t afford your services (everyone needs to know how much it costs at some point and no one wants to overpay)—they simply don’t know where else to start the conversation!
We’re all guilty of it at times when we’re the customer. When I needed window tinting on some windows in my house to protect my piano from sun-UV ray damage, I emailed 3 companies and asked them “how much?” and it wasn’t that I couldn’t afford it, or that I was price shopping (at least not at that point). It was simply that I didn’t know what else to ask. Once I met with an expert, and therefore got my education on the process, I could then ask better questions.
Many, if not most, inquiries come in through email these days and “how much does it cost?” is often the first, if not the only question. So, how do you handle that? What are some ways to deflect the question?
The first thing you should always do is thank them for their inquiry. They’ve just put you on the menu. I like to point out to my audiences and clients that in this economy, it is very common to be think “price first” when selecting their top Pros. Think about how many other companies there are that probably didn’t even get on their top list for your area of expertise. Be sure to acknowledge that it is a privilege to get a chance to communicate with them, and that your business is being considered.
Next, it is important to start a conversation with the engaged couple. Whether it’s in email, on the phone, a live chat, at a bridal show, or in your office— you’re having a conversation, so keep it conversational. Don’t write an email like a formal business letter, or as if your high school English teacher is looking over your shoulder. Write it as if you were speaking it to them. Use your “voice” because that’s the voice she’s going to hear when she actually speaks to you. It makes your business come to life, and gives a sense of who you are. Be professional, but friendly!
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Next, acknowledge that you’re going to tell them how much it costs… as soon as you get some more information about their big day. Then, continue the conversation by asking a couple of questions at a time. Don’t bombard her with everything, all at once. You wouldn’t do that on the phone or in person, so don’t do that in email.
Should you try to get her on the phone? Yes, a phone conversation is great, but she’s probably at work and can’t call you now. Should you try to get the appointment? Of course, in person meetings are ideal at establishing a connection. But if she wants to continue the conversation via email, be prepared to do it, and be better prepared than your competitors!
Top email tips I recommend when communicating with engaged couples:
- Mirror their tone – casual or formal
- Mirror their energy – upbeat or reserved
- Mirror how much they writes – if they send you 3 sentences, don’t send her 5 paragraphs
- Don’t send attachments she didn’t ask for – do you open unsolicited attachments?
- Don’t answer questions she hasn’t asked – it’s a basic rule of selling
- Be careful with what you write, nothing in email is private – enough said!
Remember that it’s a conversation, so keep it conversational and let your personality come through. Keep in mind that they put you on the menu, so be genuinely thankful that they’ve given you a chance. Lastly, put yourself in their shoes. What would you want if you were the customer? If you do that, it’s hard to go wrong.