About This Lesson:
Picture yourself on vacation. The sound of the waves lapping against the shore. You have a sip of wine and head back to the hotel room and check your email. You are happy to read that a new booking has come in. It took no effort at all on your part, it was automatic.
Now, imagine what you could do with your time if this sort of thing happened all year long! In lesson 3, we’ll teach you how to put your sales on autopilot.
Estimated Time Needed For Lesson:
What You’ll Learn:
Have you ever heard the phrase “do what you love and delegate the rest”? Well that’s exactly what successful business people from ALL fields and industries do. But as wedding vendors, we have a unique challenge: we can’t always afford help. When you are starting out in business, it’s hard enough just to pay your own bills as a wedding venue professional, never mind somehow coming up with the money to hire someone. So what are you supposed to do if you know you need to do something, but just don’t love doing it?
The Software Revolution:
Have you heard about the coming AI and Robot revolution where all of our jobs are going to be taken away? Well luckily, it’s not here yet, and as creatives, chances are strong that our jobs will be among some of the last to be replaced (after all, you can’t really teach a computer creativity, now can you?). The good news about this software revolution though is that you can already replace yourself by “hiring” software to do jobs you don’t like. That’s exactly what we are going to explore in today’s lesson. If you do this correctly, it will free up time to focus on what you really love and chances are high that the software will be much more effective and consistent than you have been at the same job. We’re only human, after all.
Are You Following Up?
Enough software talk, let’s get back to your business! So you want to make more sales and book more weddings without spending any money on marketing. Well, one amazing, tried and true way of doing that is by following up.
Here are some mind-boggling facts about the importance of following up:
• In a study by Mcgraw Hill, they discovered that 5 to 12 contacts (follow ups) are needed to get booked
• 90% of people make contact on the 6th call (Harvard Business Review)
• 44% of people give up after one follow up (Hubspot Study)
The studies are all in agreement, you have to follow up if you want to make the sale!!!
Bride and Groom Psychology
Bride’s and grooms are under a lot of stress. They usually know nothing about the wedding industry, except that their wedding is going to cost A LOT of money and they don’t want to go over budget. They also are usually at least a little bit scared that they might make a mistake and hire a vendor who doesn’t give them a great end product or service.
Let’s imagine for a second that we are dealing with a hypothetical couple, Suzie and Ryan.
They are doing their wedding planning and their general plan is to just email a bunch of wedding venues, get quotes and availability and go from there. The reason they ask for price and availability is simple: They don’t know what else to ask.That’s one of the reasons we are seeing couples asking about vendors more and more in Facebook Groups than in recent years. They don’t really know how to pick their vendors but they knew they had to get the ball rolling and your site didn’t suck so they emailed you. In their minds, they’ve done their job once they’ve message you.
The Disappearing Couple
Now that they’ve sent you their inquiry asking for pricing and availability, in their minds they have started the process of hiring. Most wedding couples will email a few vendors from each category and go from there. If there are an average of 15 types of vendors and they email 4 from each, then you can expect a typical bride and groom to have emailed 60 vendors.
Not only did they email all 60 though, they most likely also had to fill out 60 contact forms on websites and they probably got 30 annoying auto-responder replies back too. If you’ve done your homework and followed lesson 2, then you know you should either personally reply to their email as soon as possible or use a tool like Event Temple to send a personal response for you. Replying fast is great and makes you WAY more likely to get a reply, but to book this wedding, you’ll need to do even more than just that.
You see, Suzie and Ryan, our hypothetical couple probably dont’ really feel like reading the 60 replies (and 30 auto responses) they got back when they sent them out. They probably had a Starbucks/caffeine fuelled moment of inspiration and decided to spend an hour or two requesting quotes, but now that they’ve got them, they are afraid to go check that particular email inbox again.
Also keep in mind that most couples now setup a separate email for their wedding for just this purpose. They don’t want your email to go to their normal email. They want to be able to turn you (and all of their wedding planning) off. It’s not your fault, it’s just overwhelming for them and they really don’t know what to do with all this information they have anyways. Do they put it in a spreadsheet? Do they line up 60 phone calls? After all, nobody usually gives the price in the email. No… instead they ask around on facebook and do what any intelligent person would do. They procrastinate.
1 Month Later
1 month later Suzie and Ryan realize that the wedding isn’t going to plan itself, so they go back to Starbucks, this time ordering double espressos and decide to get into it. They login to their wedding-only email account and they see 60 read messages (from the vendors they emailed on their last wedding planning energy surge) and now they see only 1 black, bold email.
Which email do you think they will open first? Which vendor looks like they care about Suzie and Ryan’s wedding the most? That’s right. It’s the black, bold email. So how do you get your email to the top of the list and continue to follow up?
Following Up Is Solid Gold
If you follow up, you are going to book more weddings. The problem is, following up is time consuming and kind of mundane. I used to hire sales reps and 80% of their job was just to follow up with potential couples by email. I learned after a few years in business that the best strategy with following up is to “go until no”. That means you keep emailing the couple until they either say “yes we want to book”, or “no sorry we don’t want to book”. You never assume until they tell you.
After going through a few sales representatives who got sick of writing the same emails, I thought that this problem should be solved. This is where Event Temple comes in. Im not sure if there are other follow up tools out there, but I wasn’t able to find any I liked after searching for a long time (why would I spend thousands of hours and dollars building it if I could just pay a few hundred a year after all?).
How To Follow Up
With Event Temple you can do the following:
• Write a bunch of pre-made emails (we recommend 5-8, or you can also use a pre-made list of proven-to-close emails that the system comes with written by Stephanie and Jeff at www.bookmorebrides.com)
• Send the emails to your potential couples automatically (every few days, weeks and months, they’ll get a different follow up email)
• Send text follow ups automatically as part of your follow up sequence
• Add tasks like phone calls or social media posts to them as part of your follow up sequence
• Manage all of your follow up tasks in a visual dashboard, so you can see what is going on at a glance
“Set It and Forget It”
Im a HUGE believer in freeing up mental space and energy to focus on what you really love. I think when you focus on what you are passionate about, your business grows. If you spend your time on mundane tasks, all you do is burn yourself out.
Following up is one of those mundane tasks that a computer can do better than any human. It also needs to be done though in a way that looks like you actually wrote it. Event Temple does that by sending the emails from your email address and inserting your name. You also DO NOT want to use a tool like Mailchimp, or Aweber (or any email marketing tool) to follow up as that can go to spam and it looks obviously like it was sent out as a mass email.
You want your follow up to be personal, plain text and look like an email you personally took the time to write. Then, you want to keep following up over and over again until you book the sale, or they tell you that they’ve booked someone else. By doing this you will be far more likely to book weddings than your competitors and I guarantee that on your last follow up you will book weddings that you never would have normally gotten. I know the same thing happened to me and it’s definitely helped my business to grow over the years.