» 5 Ways to Handle Losing a Sale

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 the perfect world of butterflies and rainbows, we’d close every sale at the exact price we want – but we don’t live in a perfect world. There are no trophies for second place when it comes to winning a sale. You either get the sale or you don’t, so what do you do if you don’t get the sale? I’d like to give you a little perspective from my many years working in sales management and, more importantly, from working with wedding pros like you.

5 Ways to Handle Losing a SaleHere are five ways to handle losing a sale:

  1. Rejection is in the eyes of the beholder. When you don’t get a sale you might feel like you’ve been rejected, but that’s not usually the case. They just liked / trusted / believed someone else more. Isn’t that semantics? I prefer to call it optimism. When it comes to choosing the perfect pro in your category, there can only be one winner. That doesn’t make all of the others losers; they may like a few of you enough to hire you, but ultimately they have to choose one.How many weddings do you do each year? That’s how many times they’ve chosen you and not another wedding pro. Are you the winner? Yes, but you may not have been their only choice. Had you not been available they would have chosen someone else, someone who is very capable, and nice, and likely at a similar price point. So, while this isn’t like elementary where everyone seems to get a trophy just for showing up, there’s a winner and then there’s everyone else.
  1. You often lose the sale before you even had a chance. Often you lose a sale before you even knew that they were looking for someone in your category. Some couples are looking for you in places where you don’t have a presence (a certain wedding show, Instagram, Pinterest, their wedding site of choice, etc.). To them you don’t exist, but that was your choice; you chose not to be at that wedding show, or you chose to forgo an Instagram account, or you chose to take the free listing instead of paying for the more visible listing. I’ve often said that if you want others to invest in you, you have to invest in yourself first.

Other times they make it through to your website but leave without contacting you. They’re a legitimate prospect, but you lost them, often without even knowing they had shown interest (going to your website is a very big buying signal). Keeping your website’s functionality and content up to date is critical for plugging this hole.

  1. If they wanted to talk on the phone they would have called. If you’re getting most of your inquiries through email these days (and who isn’t?), then you need to make sure you’re learning to have better email conversations. If many of your email conversations stop after the first exchange, that’s your cue to change the way you communicate. Their first email is likely to ask about price, but that makes sense because they don’t know how to shop for your product or service. You also may not have pricing on your website. According to a WeddingWire survey, 88% of couples are looking for pricing information before they reach out to you. So, if you have no pricing information on your website, you’re encouraging them to ask about price. If your first response is trying to push them to a phone call you’re going to lose many of them. Why? If they wanted to talk on the phone they would have called you.

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» Objection Overruled! 4 Ways to Handle Sales Objections

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.

One of the most misunderstood parts of the sales process is objections. Those of you who are not natural salespeople hate objections; you see them as road blocks to getting the sale. I’m here to ask you to see them differently. If they tell you what they want, you give them a price, and you make the sale without them presenting any objections… you didn’t make a sale, you took an order. There was no selling involved. This is what happens in most retail stores these days: you go and pick out what you want and pay for it at the register. There may be a bit of merchandising to get you to find the items that they want you to buy, but unless someone helped you buy something other than what you came in looking for, there was no selling involved. For reference, see my top down selling webinar for ideas on how to increase your average sale.

Tips for handling sales objections in the wedding industryObjections are buying signals and opportunities

If you go through your sales pitch and give them the price, and they ask “what if…” or “but…” – that’s when the selling starts. Sales objections are buying signals and opportunities. If they weren’t interested, they wouldn’t bother asking the question, or voice the objection. When they say “what if….” or “but…” they’re really saying, “I’ll be closer to buying if you answer this well.” It’s really just a mindset shift to see these as opportunities. If they weren’t interested, you never would have gotten the inquiry or the appointment. If they aren’t still interested they would either stop replying or leave the appointment.

Even price objections are buying signals. They’re signaling that if you can show them the value, or another option, they might buy. Again, if they weren’t interested at all, the sales process would just stop. But it isn’t stopping – they’re hanging in there with you. I’m not saying you need to lower your price to get the sale. I’ve done many webinars and live presentations about value, so please don’t lower your price without getting something of value back in return.

Agree when they disagree

One of the best ways to diffuse an objection is to agree with them. If you’ve tried to close the sale and they say, “We want to go home and think about it”, you can say, “Of course you do. I wouldn’t expect you to make such an important decision at our first meeting.” However, if you hear “You’ve given us so much to think about, we need to go home and process it”, and that’s why you don’t close many sales on the first appointment… that’s your fault, not theirs. Your job is to help them reduce the choices down to only the most appropriate, not confuse them with everything you offer. No one needs everything you offer, so listen first, then pitch them.

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» 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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» 3 Rules For Using Body Language to Persuade

Pro to Pro Insights

Traci Brown

This article was written by Body Language and Persuasion Expert Traci Brown. Traci teaches strategic body language for unconscious persuasion in keynotes worldwide. She’s a frequent guest on TV interpreting the body language of criminals and politicians.To book Traci to speak to your team and get them performing at their best, visit www.BodyLanguageTrainer.com.

What would you do if you could talk anyone into anything? Would you get more out of your networking? Negotiate better deals for yourself? Would your sales network be two or three times bigger or more? When you can persuade, you hold the keys to the universe. Anything you want can be yours.

But who has time to learn how to get these big results? Follow these three quick rules for using body language to persuade and you’ll be well on your way to becoming extraordinarily influential and getting lots more of what you want.

3 Rules For Using Body Language to PersuadeRule #1: Stop Judging

We’re wired to always be judging everything around us. This comes from millions of years of having to be highly concerned for our safety at every moment. In the developed world, lions and tigers aren’t out to get us any more so it’s safe to be non-judgmental. Avoid pigeon-holing people into your own boxes. Ask yourself what thought patterns are present to create their presenting behavior. Once you understand them, you can do what you need to do to change their behavior to something more beneficial to you (and them!).

Rule #2: Get Them into an Open Position

People who demonstrate closed body language are creating thought patterns that are closed.  Where the body goes, the mind will follow! So when you see someone with crossed arms or legs (or both), this is not the time to present your ideas you want them to buy into. Before you go into your sales pitch, get them to move out of their position. Give them something to hold like a drink or a pen, take them for a walk, or get sneaky and ‘accidentally’ drop something and get them to pick it up. Just do what it takes to get them to move and interrupt that negative pattern!

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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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» What a Relay Race Can Tell Us About Marketing

This article was written by WeddingWire Education Guru, Alan Berg. 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/

relay-race

I’ve often said that Wedding Pros have more in common than they think when it comes to their marketing. It transcends categories, with photographers, florists, caterers, and dress shops all using the same basic principles when it comes to attracting new business. It also transcends borders, cultures and languages.

I spoke about marketing at a WeddingWire Networking Night and I used the analogy of a relay race where the baton is passed from one runner to the next.

Only instead of runners, you have these steps: advertising/marketing/social media > your website > email/phone > you.

Your marketing is only as strong as its weakest link, where the “baton” is getting dropped the most.

Follow the bouncing baton

Your prospects find out about you through your advertising, marketing and/or social media. Their next likely step is your website. If they like what they see on your site they email you, use your online availability checker or fill out your contact form. You then have an email conversation with them (phone if you’re lucky). If you do that well you get them in for an appointment. If the appointment goes well you get the sale. At each of those points the baton is getting passed. At any, or all, of those points the baton can get dropped.

If your ad is not compelling or well designed, they won’t go to your website. If they don’t like your social media presence they’ll move on. If they do get to your website, but aren’t moved to take action, once again, the baton has been dropped. If they do like what they see on your site and contact you, but your email communication skills are weak, you don’t get the appointment. If you do get the appointment but your sales skills are lacking, you don’t get the sale.

You don’t have to get it right every time

Very few people get it right at every touch-point, which means you’re losing potential clients at almost every step. You can never get it right every time, so the goal is to minimize the drop-offs and maximize the “conversion”. Conversion is getting someone to take action. Clicking from your WeddingWire Storefront to your website is taking action. Clicking from your website to contact you is taking action. Engaging in an email conversation or phone call is taking action. Scheduling an appointment is taking action. And of course, buying is taking action. Those are all positive actions. 

Seeing your ad but passing it by and clicking on another ad is also taking action. Visiting your website and leaving without seeing any other pages (it’s called bouncing) is also taking action. Emailing you but not agreeing to an appointment is taking action. And of course, coming in for an appointment and not buying is also taking action. These are all negative actions and they’re costing you business.

Accentuate the positive

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» How to Stand Out in a Competitive Market

Sales is an integral factor for your business’ success! Sales lead to booked events, which allow you to do what you love and grow your business. However, the event industry is a competitive market, and oftentimes many event Pros do not love the “selling” aspect of business. These 5 tips from WeddingWire Education Guru, Alan Berg, teach you how to effectively close the sale and stand out in a competitive market.

» How to Stand Out in a Competitive Market

Yesterday, our monthly educational webinar focused on how to close the sale and stand out in a competitive market! WeddingWire Education Guru, Alan Berg, presented top tips to effectively sell your business, and ultimately close the deal! Each one hour webinar for premium WeddingWire Pros is designed to inform you about the latest industry tips, and give you the tools and education you need to Power Your Business.

As wedding and event Pros, too often we do not correctly value, sell and close the deal – and end up losing out on business to the competition. In this webinar, Alan shared recent findings from a sales survey on how wedding and event Pros sell their services, how long they have been in business, how they feel about the sales process, and more. Additionally, Alan shared how to identify your brand, honest closing techniques and even how to deal with common objections.

Check out some interesting take aways from this month’s webinar:

  • Of respondents to Alan’s recent sales survey, pver 40% of Pros indicated that 75-90 percent of their business came from weddings
  • Over 50 percent of survey takers had been selling their current product or service for up to 10 years
  • Over 60 percent of survey takers indicted they do like the sales process
  • Sales is all about asking lots of better, open-ended questions
  • It is important to make your client feel like it is “all about them”
  • The #1 skill you need to close more sales is to listen
  • It is important to remember that being the best value does not mean having the lowest price

All of our past webinars are available in our Education Center for upgraded Pros, and stay tuned for information on next month’s webinar discussing the latest in new technologies!