Sales is a tricky business — from finding new leads to closing the sale, it relies heavily on tapping into the psychology of your ideal client and understanding how to reach them on a personal level. Many factors go into a successful booking and, as event professionals, it’s important to push yourself to continuously assess and pivot your strategies for maximum effect.
Here are five questions that will guide you to become better at prospecting this year and beyond. Get ready to watch the leads flow in.
1. How would you describe the clients that you love working with most?
Think about the people you’ve worked best with in the past — what do they have in common? Digging into your ideal client can seem tough, but if you relate it to past positive experiences, you’ll have an easier time identifying the right client for you.
When speaking with prospects, I look for someone that trusts me and the process. They can and should lead the design direction, but I avoid those who seem like micro-managers. From my experience, that has always led to headaches down the line.
The more you can glean from your positive (and negative) experiences, the better you will understand who you truly love working with.
2. Are you reaching those prospects through the best outlets?
Once you have a solid answer to the first question, it’s time to evaluate your outreach efforts. If you realize you prefer working with older clients on their second marriage or same-sex couples, for example, it might not make sense to continue advertising on the same platforms or you may need to change your ad parameters.
Take a moment to understand your ideal client and address your prospecting strategies accordingly. I’ve found success in geofencing with targeted Facebook ads around wedding events directed towards couples, but it’s important that they attract my ideal client – a couple with traditional taste but want an edge of creativity. Tailor your marketing efforts to avoid attracting the wrong clients.
3. How consistent are your prospecting strategies?
Consistency is key when it comes to prospecting in the wedding industry. It can be tricky to reach your ideal client in such a noisy space – in fact, it can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. That’s why it’s essential to stay top of mind with everyone. You never know where someone is in the buying process. An engaged couple could be putting off their wedding planning for personal reasons and you never know when they’ll be ready to get the ball rolling. When they are, you want them to think of you first.
4. How much time are you spending on prospecting?
Even the best of intentions and the most strategic ideas won’t come to fruition if you’re not allocating enough time to prospecting. It’s understandable that prospecting is pushed to the backburner when client work is your priority, but if your goal is to build a profitable and sustainable business, you have to make time for sales.
Schedule an appointment with yourself and put it on the calendar — then stick with it. During the first week of the month, I book as many lunches as I can and make sure that there are two or three days in a row when I’m only out meeting and interfacing with people.
5. Do you know where your leads are coming from?
Knowing what works and what doesn’t is the key to a sustainable business. Always take the time to ask your new leads open-ended questions about their research process and how they are making vendor decisions. Understanding how they learn about vendors will guide you to replicate successful outreach strategies in the future. If Facebook ads seem to be a big factor for many of your leads, you’ll be well prepared to transform your sales efforts in the next year.
Client prospecting is a big task and requires time and effort to narrow down the oversaturated market into real, qualified leads that fit in with your brand. However, you can rest assured that persevering and continuing your sales push will show tenfold in your profit margins. Stick with it and always be prepared to pivot.
Katie Easley is the owner of Kate Ryan Design, a luxury floral and event design studio based in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is also a top sales consultant in the wedding industry, specializing in prospecting and client experience.