» 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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» #WWEDUChat Recap: Pricing Questions with Alan Berg

#WWEDUChatYesterday, we hosted our first Twitter Chat for Pros, featuring WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg.

Alan answered the biggest pricing questions so you can be better prepared to deal with ‘how much?’ this engagement season. Missed the chat? No problem! Find below a full recap of our Q&A with Alan, or check it out on Twitter by following along with the #WWEDUChat hashtag.

Q1: How should you respond when a couple’s first question is ‘how much?’

  • A1: Don’t be evasive, that will turn them off. Give them an idea of cost, without committing to a specific price. #WWEDUChat

Q2: How do you stand out among competition to book the business besides having the best prices?

  • A2: Use reviews to show the value of doing business with you beyond your price. #WWEDUChat

Q3: Do couples find price more important than the quality of work?

  • A3: They’re buying something they’ve never bought so they default to price. Let them ask & start the conversation #WWEDUChat

Q4: How can you shift early convos from price to service quality?

  • A4: Tell them, “I don’t want you to pay any more than you have to, to get everything you need and want” #WWEDUChat

Q5: What is the best way to offer a deal or discount in pricing convos?

  • A5: Discounts and deals work best when there’s a sense of urgency or deadline. Make them clear and simple #WWEDUChat

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» Announcing our First #WWEDUChat! Pricing Questions with Alan Berg

We are excited to be hosting our first Twitter Chat for Wedding Pros, featuring WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg!

We hope to have you join us and tweet all your pricing questions to @alanberg and @WeddingWireEDU next Thursday, 12/18 at 1pm ET/ 10am PT.

Twitter Chat Details:

#WWEDUChat: Pricing Questions #WWEDUChatwith Alan Berg

Now that it is officially engagement season, get ready to hear from lots of new couples! Along with inquiries about your services, you should also be prepared to answer pricing questions to more effectively close the sale. Join @WeddingWireEDU Guru @alanberg for a Twitter Chat to discuss all your pricing questions on Thursday 12/18 at 1pm ET, 10am PT.

Never been a part of a Twitter Chat? It’s easy!

Simply log in to Twitter and tweet your questions using #WWEDUChat and Alan will share his answers to top pricing questions from Wedding Pros. We look forward to having you join us!

RSVP for the Chat in less than a minute to add the Chat as a reminder to your calendar, and spread the word via social media and email to other Pros.

Have questions about the Chat, or want to suggest some pricing questions ahead of time? Email pros@weddingwire.com and we will be in touch soon.

» 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

» Why You Should Avoid Groupon Weddings

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.

If you’ve never used Groupon to find daily deals in your area, you’re in the minority. The deal-of-the-day website features discounted products or services in your area which you can buy for a limited period of time. These types of deals are often successful because they raise awareness about a business and bring in a rush of new customers.

Several years back I actually praised Groupon for their effective use of email marketing – since the deals on Groupon change daily, they send daily emails to alert users to new local offers. These emails are also based on behavior, which means Groupon can send emails with more relevant offers to users. It’s a great email marketing strategy that yields high open and click through rates.

Through the past few years, Groupon has grown to include other offerings like Groupon Getaways to help travelers book cheaper travel deals. However, the giant misstep I see with Groupon is that it has recently started the Groupon Wedding Shop, which offers wedding products and services at dramatic discounts.

There are three main reasons why I think Groupon Weddings are a bad approach for your wedding business to consider:

Why You Should Avoid Groupon WeddingsThe wedding industry is a specialty industry. A wedding professional’s experience, training and personality come into play in their business as well as the results for the client. What we offer is typically unique to us as providers. You can offer what you sell for twice the price of a competitor, but your business’ quality could be totally worth the difference. The products and services we provide cannot be lumped into one price or discounted rate – there are too many other factors involved.

The only differentiating factor on Groupon is price. This thought process is a true disservice to couples searching for wedding professionals. Focusing on price will talk many couples out of the professionals who can truly be a perfect match for their wedding. In weddings, there are no “do-overs.” Lower-quality vendors with little experience can easily ruin one of the most important days in a couple’s lives. Your business should be able to justify your higher price to potential clients rather than offer discounted rates to compete with other local Pros.

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» 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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» The Internet: Your New “Permanent Record”

This post is by Jennifer Reitmeyer. Jennifer has worked in the wedding industry since 1997. In addition to owning MyDeejay, an award-winning wedding entertainment firm serving the Washington, D.C. market, she also maintains a wedding business blog, WeddingIQ, and a blogging and social media service for wedding businesses, Firebrand Messaging. Jennifer is available for small business coaching, speaking, and writing opportunities. Read more at jenniferreitmeyer.com.

As valuable as the Internet is to couples planning a wedding, it’s equally invaluable to Pros in the business of selling weddings. Websites, blogs and social media have made it easy to adjust your pricing, roll out promotions and even overhaul your branding. However, keep in mind that the Internet has become a permanent record of sorts, with archive sites and mirror sites creating a history of practically everything that’s ever been published online.

The Internet: Your New “Permanent Record”That’s why it’s so important to make strategic decisions and take a long view approach when branding your business and setting your rates. Savvy clients and smart business owners tend to watch the market over time — they’re aware of what various companies are offering and how much they’re charging. And when a company constantly flip-flops on its pricing or drastically alters its entire image, people notice.

In my own market, I’ve heard lots of buzz about Pros who’ve arbitrarily doubled their rates, halved their rates, blasted people with coupons and threatened massive price increases. All of these changes, and the branding confusion that results, have been documented forever, thanks to the Internet.

Obviously, every business owner needs to make adjustments to accommodate a changing market. I’m all for making tweaks to your image, and even rebranding completely when it makes sense to do so. However, with your every business move captured online and added to your “permanent record,” it’s essential that the choices you make are carefully considered. Can you explain a huge price increase or reduction when someone’s aware of what you used to offer? (And believe me, even if your clients haven’t yet noticed, your competitors have!) If you’re rebranding, do you have a clear reason why, and are you able to account for how the “new” you is different from the old you?

If we’re all stuck with that online permanent record, let it be one that documents a series of logical, strategic growth and transformation over time.

» New Wedding Businesses: Beware the “Pricing Trap”

This post is by Jennifer Reitmeyer. Jennifer has worked in the wedding industry since 1997. In addition to owning MyDeejay, an award-winning wedding entertainment firm serving the Washington, D.C. market, she also maintains a wedding business blog, WeddingIQ, and a blogging and social media service for wedding businesses, Firebrand Messaging. Jennifer is available for small business coaching, speaking, and writing opportunities. Read more at jenniferreitmeyer.com.

When you first hang out your shingle as a new business in the wedding industry, nothing is more exhilarating than signing clients. Signed contracts equal more than just money; they also equal validation. Someone out there sees what you’re offering, and sees the value in it. They see the value in you.

New Wedding Businesses: Beware the “Pricing Trap”Ironically, many new business owners – and even some established ones – miss the most important part of what I just wrote: value. Eager to attract clients and booking dates, they fall into the “pricing trap” where they under-price themselves to make sales that fill their calendar. They’re playing a numbers game, realizing that low prices attract more people.

The sad fact is, except for a few low-end, volume-based companies, no small business owner wins at the numbers game. Clients who book based solely on price will never truly value your service or product. Below are a few reasons why the “pricing trap” can be damaging for new wedding businesses:

  • Pricing yourself too low attracts clients who only care about price. Ideally, we all want to work with clients who are eager to use our service or product and believe our pricing is fair and worthwhile. When what we’re selling isn’t actually important to a client, that client’s only going to be looking at the bottom line, nitpicking everything along the way. If you’re a florist working with a couple who claims to not care at all about flowers, lowering your price isn’t going to raise the value in their minds.
  • Pricing yourself too low sets a precedent that’s hard to change later. When you enter the market as a “budget-friendly” business, you need to be absolutely sure that that’s how you wish to market yourself. It may be tempting to keep your rates low when you first start out, but it can cause problems if you want potential clients to see you as a high-end company later. Online reviews, word-of-mouth among engaged couples and industry gossip can make it difficult to remake your image.  Continue reading

» How to Climb to New Profits

Pro to Pro Insights

Brian Lawrence, Sell the BrideThis post was written by Brian Lawrence, one of the industry’s foremost authorities on marketing in the wedding industry. Brian has consulted with many wedding professionals and wholesale suppliers at www.brianlawrence.com. Brian also owns Local Traffic Builder, a nationally-known web design, marketing and social media firm serving the wedding and event industry. He is the author of “The Wedding Expert’s Guide to Sales and Marketing” and “The Invitation Business Report” and has helped thousands of industry professionals with his marketing insights through personal consultation, books, seminars, blogs and articles, and speaking engagements at leading industry conferences.

The wedding industry is unique in that you do not have to create the need for products and services. At a formal wedding, you can approximately forecast what and when they will buy. Most wedding professionals specialize in a particular category. While most wedding businesses may network on some level (through the exchange of business cards, for example), the majority of businesses do not focus on making the most of networking relationships or think about add-on sales.

It is natural for businesses to focus on increasing the amount of clients. Profitability, however, can be more easily gained by a continued exploration on how to make more money on each client. The most passive attempt to accomplish that would be to raise prices. However, your bottom line, what the market can bear and the bridal niche you are trying to target should motivate pricing, or raising your prices can result in you losing business.

How to Climb to New ProfitsFinding new products and services are a more creative and effective process to increasing profits. One of the most valuable outcomes that many brides and grooms are motivated by is the saving of time. If your company is an earlier rung on the planning ladder as a venue, caterer, bridal shop, photographer, video or entertainment company, often couples will have yet to order invitations, favors, bridal gifts, flowers, limousines and tuxedos, for example, and you may be able to be of assistance.

If you were to endeavor into offering these services to existing customers, you have an advantage; you already have their trust. Secondly, if a bride and groom are convinced that they can enjoy equivalent or better quality and comparable pricing that trust advantage along with the benefit of saving time and keeping track of fewer bills, can help you win business. In addition you have the advantage of exposing the couple to services at earlier stage than they may have normally began their research and can more time to pay the services on a more gradual basis (a strong benefit you can establish).

Some wedding businesses may be overwhelmed at the thought of taking on new services without understanding the craft and how to fulfill the service or merchandise the products. It’s easier than you think. Continue reading