» 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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» 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

» 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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» 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

» The Do’s and Don’ts of Responding to Inquiries

As the wedding industry continues to evolve and become even more reliant on the internet, the ways in which couples reach out to prospective Wedding Pros is changing as well. Now, more than ever, couples are doing their due diligence by researching Pros and reaching out to multiple options at once – all online!

Sometimes it may be difficult to get back in touch after a prospective client submits an inquiry, which may make it feel as though your inquiries are not converting into bookings. Follow these do’s and don’ts of responding to inquiries to make sure you’re turning all your leads into bookings!

Do:

The Do’s and Don’ts of Responding to InquiriesReturn all contact in a timely fashion. Because most couples are reaching out to multiple Pros at once, you want to be sure to get back in touch quickly. Whether it’s by email or by phone, set time aside during your day to get caught up.

If you’re using Inquiry Questionnaires, keep them short! Remember that too many questions can scare off potential clients by being too long to read or answer. If the couple is indeed reaching out to multiple Pros, they likely don’t want to spend the time to read through a lengthy questionnaire.

  • Pro Tip: Stick to the basics with questions like: “What is the best way to reach you?” or “What is your event date?”

Be sure to answer any questions asked in the initial inquiry. Many initial leads will reference price – keep in mind that just because a potential client asks about your pricing does not mean they are price shopping. Most of your clients have never been married before and simply may not be educated about the pricing for your services!

  • Pro Tip: If giving pricing is specific to each client – still give them a starting price, or an average.

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» 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

» 4 Steps to More Sales

4 steps to more sales Webinar recap!

Whether you like it, love it, or hate it – selling your products or services is a critical aspect to running a successful business! In the wedding and events industry, you may face a variety of challenges in establishing and closing business from client consultation meetings, calls, and emails.

In this month’s educational webinar for premium members, WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg shared the key sales tips and strategies your business needs.

What are the 4 steps to more sales? Check out the highlights!

  • Get their attention: It is important to think client first, and meet them where they are searching for their wedding team. Keep your WeddingWire Storefront fresh, post conversationally on social media networks, attend the big local bridal shows and events, and network in your community to name a few! Finally, always ask your current clients for new referrals to keep your sales funnel and potential leads full.
  • Get the inquiry: Once you capture their attention, how do you get them to submit an inquiry for a meeting, email or call for more information about your services? Make it easy to find your contact information, simple to be in touch with a quick form, and provide the basic information they would need to make a decision to reach out available on your site without giving away too much! Reviews are a great way to showcase personal testimonials, and help encourage prospects to reach out for a personalized consultation to see how you can help with their special day.
  • Get the appointment: Now that you have the inquiry, how do you solidify your appointment? First, respond to all inquires in a timely manner, and always remain professional and polite (but feel free to inject some personality in this business). Commit to a professional, client-oriented email conversation by focusing on the couple, asking their needs and collecting basic details prior to an appointment so the couple will feel that you are committed and connecting with them. Remember not all meetings have to be in person or on the phone. If a client is more comfortable with some details back and forth via email – go with it! This will help gain their trust. Just be sure to stay on top of asking for a booking when the time is right. Continue reading

» 4 Strategies for Successful Lead Management

4 Strategies for Successful Lead ManagementWhether your wedding and event business is large or small, obtaining and keeping more customers is an important business priority, and can be challenging! Engaged couples often “shop around” for their Perfect Pros and contact several at a time. Your business needs to first capture their attention to get an inquiry but you’ll also need to keep their attention from the first contact to a signed contract.

Lead management is the ability to capture, respond to and manage incoming leads. Lead management is a process that should start even before the first inquiry and continue throughout the entire lifecycle. Having a successful lead management process in place helps educate engaged couples about your business and helps you understand more about potential clients, which will lead to more bookings!

Premium WeddingWire Pros have a variety of tools that help them manage incoming leads and turn them into customers. Below are the 4 strategies for successful lead management!

Make it easy for prospects to submit inquiries.

The best way to get more inquiries is to make it extremely easy for engaged couples to contact you! We’ve made it easy with a large, blue Contact Us button that appears on your Storefront and feeds directly to your inquiries in the Clients tab. In addition to the Contact Us button on your Storefront, we provide you with several other ways to collect inquiries. You can find the code for a Contact Us button widget for your business’s website in our Widget Gallery. This widget will add the same Contact Us button to your website and feed it directly to your WeddingWire account. Having this widget in multiple places makes it easy for couples to contact you no matter where they first learn about your business!

Use questionnaires to qualify your leads.

An inquiry is just the first step in the process of lead management. When an engaged couple submits an inquiry, they’re not likely to give you all the information you need. Couples use inquiries to decide if you’re a good fit for them, but how do you know if the couple is a good fit for you? Our Questionnaires give you the flexibility to request all of your must-have information before an event, ensuring that you have all the details you need. Create and send questionnaires to potential clients before they sign a contract and you’ll be able to decide whether or not the couple fits in with your schedule and would benefit from your goods or services. You can customize your questionnaires for each client, and to ask the questions that are most important for your business category.

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» To Text, or Not to Text? That is the Question!

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 https://alanberg.com/

At the 2013 Wedding MBA conference recently, I gave a presentation that included a section on texting with prospects and customers. We’re all walking around with smartphones these days, so it would seem that texting would be a natural way to communicate. Well, it is, but it is important to ask yourself how and when should you text!

When is it okay to text with a prospect?

To Text, or Not to Text? That is the Question

If you’re not already in business with someone (a prospect, not yet a customer), when is it okay to text with them? The short answer is… Never! Texting is one of the last private spaces we have, and should be treated as such. Our email inboxes are inundated with solicitations and spam. Our postal mailboxes are filled with solicitations and junk mail (my definition of which is mail you don’t need). Social media is pushing solicitations to our News Feeds. Our Short Messaging Service (SMS) – also known as texting – is one of the few places left that has only the messages we want, from contacts we know.

So, if the prospect has not texted you yet (and they wouldn’t be likely to unless you specifically encouraged that in your marketing), it’s not okay to text them first. Do you like getting unsolicited text messages? I doubt it. If you’re like most people I know, when you get an unsolicited text you are likely to yell at your phone “Oh no, you didn’t!”

So, when it comes to prospects, let them take the lead and stick to more traditional communication sales channels like email and phone calls. However, if they text you, do text them back in a timely and professional manner.

When is it okay to text with a client?

Once you’ve had meaningful contact with someone such as an appointment, a call or have signed a contract and are an official customer, it’s okay to text with them in two circumstances:

  1. They text you first – if they begin the interaction via text, then it’s okay to text them back.
  2. They specifically opt-in to allowing you to text them – meaning, you have on your contact info form wording that specifically says “It’s okay to text me.” I don’t mean in the fine print. I mean where you ask for their cell phone number with clear wording, maybe even a check box, that gives you permission to text them.

I have a very simple philosophy when it comes to marketing: “If you don’t like something someone does to you… don’t do it to your customers and prospects.” That goes for all of your marketing. If you don’t like reading a lot of text on a webpage, don’t have a lot on your pages. If you don’t like searching for the phone number on a website, don’t make yours hard to find.

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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 https://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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