The 3 Best Questions You've Never Asked a Prospect

Rachel Sheerin, She Sells

How are you? How’d you get engaged? Were you surprised? Are you bored yet?

That’s right, we’ve all asked these questions and we’ve all known deep down that brides & clients have heard these same questions from every other vendor since getting engaged. While we’re coming from a curious, sincere interest in their happiness, their story & their big day, these questions are equivalent to a big-old-yawn when it comes to the great questions you could be asking instead. I mean, you’re unique, your business is one-of-a-kind, so why aren’t you asking questions that reflect that?

Ask these 3 questions and never have a dull, average conversation with a prospect again:

How did you get started?

Yes, this could be similar to “How did you meet?” or “How did he propose” but this question is my favorite at ALL events because it brings people back to the beginning and sparks a story. As we know, the beginning of all stories is almost always full of joy, hope and excitement and that’s exactly the emotions you’ll evoke from your prospect when asking them how they got started. Whether t bridal shows or a professional networking event, ask this question and gain insight into someone’s life, motives, story and values instantly. Use this interesting & deep connection to assess if this client or partner is a good fit for you and your business.

How do you prefer I follow up with you?

This is a double-edged question with a dual purpose: Find out if this prospect is a good personality fit with you and know how they respond best. In the world of email, text, Facebook Messenger, and a good old fashioned phone call, asking prospects how they prefer to be communicated with can open you up to communicating in ways that make them happy, valued, heard and understood. Have a client that loves to text? Understand the challenge ahead (aka they may be hard to get a signed contract) so be sure to have an online contract they can fill out (no printing required!). All your clients Facebook-aholics? Shouting them out on your page may lead to more referrals. Remember: We’re here to serve clients and make it easy for them to say YES to us, so asking their preferred method and adjusting your pitch accordingly can spell out big returns!

What is your biggest fear about booking a (insert what you do here)?

Yes, fears are scary but we all have! If you’re an expert in DISC behavior profiling like me, you may know how to tell what people’s biggest fears by watching their behaviors, but if you’ve not yet been trained, asking your prospect can yield some very illuminating fears that can help you soothe their concerns. Some folks may be concerned about being ripped off (used car salesmen, style!) while others may be concerned about what their friends will think of their choice, or perhaps that they are not smart enough to make this decision and will suffer decision peralysis. Whatever their fears, asking them can provide your prospects with a sigh of relief by sharing them and having you massage their fears away. Sometimes people’s fears will be invalid or seem ridiculous to you, but it’s important to remember they’re real to your prospect and need to be relieved in order to get them to sign up for your great biz!

A final note about questions: Somewhere along in our life, we were scolded for asking too many questions. As a child, asking questions was so endearing, until asking too many questions (some of which our parents didn’t have answers to) was deterred and as adults, many of us never let go of the shyness that comes with asking questions.

I am here to adamantly share with you:

IF YOU NEVER ASK, YOU NEVER GET! 

Asking questions is literally just attempts at having a relationship that is honest & meaningful. That’s right: IF YOU ASK QUESTIONS OF SOMEONE, YOU CARE ABOUT THEM! And when you think about questions like that, well then, who wouldn’t want to get to know and care about someone? So get out there, start asking, & enjoy the rewards!

rachel sheerin
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BIG NEWS!

We are delighted to share that our very own Lindsay was selected as one of Special Events’ 25 Young Event Pros to Watch 2017!

It should come as no surprise to those that know her that Lindsay is an absolute delight to have on our team. She is eager to dive in where needed, forward-thinking and truly the catalyst for many of the innovative ideas that have played out with both Fantasy Sound Event Services and Wedding IQ.

A big proponent of industry involvement, Lindsay has spent 4 years on the NACE Silicon Valley Board, as well as three years on the local WIPA San Francisco board. This year, she took the leap and became the youngest event pro serving on the international board of WIPA. She has also been honored with NACE awards for the past four years, most recently being awarded Member of the Year for the local chapter.

In short, we couldn’t be prouder. Let’s all raise our virtual glasses today to our Lindsay!

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Tune into my workshop on Wedding Business Websites!

Wedding Business Websites

Thinking about diversifying your services in an effort to grow your business? Look no further! I was honored to be a part of the latest workshop on Wedding Business Websites and I'm delighted to share it with WeddingIQ readers. We dive into everything from identifying what new services are a fit (as well as which to avoid!) to best practices for communicating these changes to your market.

The workshop is only available through the end of Friday, so be sure to tune in before then! See the full workshop here!

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Why and How to Amp Up Your Customer Service

By Audrey Isaac, 100Candles.com

It should come as no surprise that your customers expect a certain level of respect and professionalism when using your products and/or services. With that said, do you know how much your customer service really affects your business?

Read on to learn why your customer service needs a boost, as well as how to get started.

Why it’s essential

Customer service goes beyond accepting returns and shipping out exchanges (although, that’s certainly a big part of it!). Treating your customers well touches every aspect of interaction, from email correspondence regarding order statuses to a question about your current selection of products. In any situation, customers expect to receive a prompt and comprehensive answer to their questions and concerns. If they don’t, you can bet that they’ll be clicking over to your competitor’s website next. 

While this can certainly have an effect on your bottom line, it can also harm something even more fragile: your brand. One lost customer may not seem like a big deal, but consider how far that one customer can spread their experience with your company. A damaged reputation can be difficult to come back from, so it’s always better to address any customer service issues upfront.

How to do it

While customer service can come easily for some, for others it can be a challenge. Everyone is different and, as a part of customer service, you will need to deal with all sorts of personalities. One of the best ways to boost your outreach to clients and customers is to make yourself easily accessible. Nobody likes having a question and not knowing how to ask it! If you don’t already have one, create a contact form on your website that is easy to use and includes a space for them to send questions or concerns. If possible, include an email address and phone number on the contact page as well.

Frequently asked questions are another great tool to take your customer experience to the next level. Emailing a company with a question isn’t fun, so why not save potential customers the extra step? An FAQ page shares common questions with those who are interested and, in many cases, will provide them the answer they were looking for before they even have to reach out. Bonus: FAQs also save you the time of fielding and responding to emails with the same questions! 

While these strategies will certainly boost your user experience, the number one key to great customer service is to always be kind and respectful. People want to feel like they are talking to another human when they reach out with questions, so be personable while maintaining a level of professionalism. If you have a team that handles customer relations, ensure that they are fully trained for the job and don’t be afraid to give them a test run with some mock questions and/or complaints. Remember: A team is only as strong as its leader, so be sure that you are keeping an eye on all outgoing communications with customers to guarantee its quality. 

Audrey Isaac is the spokesperson of 100 Candles, a wholesale market for candles and lights. Since 2002, thousands of wedding and event professionals have entrusted 100 Candles with their wholesale candle accounts. For more information, please visit https://www.100candles.com/.

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Swipe Left- How Online Dating Can Help You Network Better!

By Regina Young, Meant2Be Events

Before I got married in 2015, I liked to joke that I had my “online dating pro-card”. I was on every site, had dates weekly, and have more crazy stories then one would think possible. From building an honest, yet ridiculously flattering profile, being memorable, to being available just enough to keep them interested, I had the technique and got the results I wanted.

But no, you didn’t come to this website for those stories. Although they are wildly entertaining, those are better shared over cocktails and in person. What I will tell you is the relationship savvy I had to keep my dance card full is also the model I use for business relationships.

Think about it. Dating is the perfect analogy when networking for profit and it certainly makes it more fun. From the first impression to the walk down the aisle, you are in essence taking the same journey with your business partnerships.

Creating the Perfect Profile It goes without saying, you should always put your best foot forward. The best dating profile pics always included a picture or two with “activities” like hiking and water sports. The idea of me doing either of those on a regular basis is hysterical, but I wanted a date who was active. So I was appealing to my audience in order to attract what I was looking for.

In business, you should always appeal to the business you want, not just the business you have. My Wedding Planning brand has always been more casual than most in my area. You will rarely catch me in high heels. But when you are setting up a meeting, lunch or attending a function, dress for the client you want. This may mean you invest in a few designer labels or an updated hair style. The idea of being the best dressed in the room is always appreciated.

Making a first impression Oh the delicate balance of being memorable, but not annoying. Usually online the one word, “hey” was enough to at least acknowledge someone. When networking it takes a lot more effort and maybe even a few attempts. It’s important to be respectful of each other’s time while also making your introduction. I always suggest when wanting to meet someone new, drop off or mail your marketing materials with a little treat. Now you actually have a reason to follow up. “I just wanted to check in and make sure you got the chocolate truffles we dropped off last week. Hope it sweetened up your day”. Viola, the door is open.

Getting the First Date So in dating maybe you’ve been flirting via text message for a while. You know they love dogs just like you, love to travel just like you and they have passed the “you’re not a creeper” tests. The Facebook photos seem harmless and no criminal record. Great! Time get make the first date. You know that first date has to have an easy exit option, just in case it goes bad. It doesn’t take long to know if the “spark” is there!

In this case, maybe you have seen your contact at various functions, maybe had a casual conversation.Or you took my advice and did a drop off + follow up. You have discovered that they have similar business goals. Maybe they have the client demographic you are after. It takes more than just professional similarities to seal the deal on a partnership. You have to actually like working together- that’s the “spark”! Setting up a coffee date or lunch with the goal in mind to find that common ground shows you’re invested not just in what they can do for you, but who they are and what you can do for them.

It’s Getting Serious Just like in dating, it takes a lot of effort to become “exclusive”. You know that crazy girl that immediately talks about marriage and babies on a second date. You know what happens there? No third date. When you are building up a referral network, trying to “close” that opportunity out the gate rarely ends well. While we know that time is money, a referral is worth it’s weight in gold.

My golden rule is 5. Five one on one meetings, lunches, coffee dates or happy hour drinks. We both know each other way beyond the professional boundaries of day to day business.

TIP: If business referrals come up naturally in conversation, for example, “what photographers do you work with?” Don’t talk poorly about that person- ever.

Saying I Do You’ve gone on dates, enjoyed a few ups and downs, and it’s time to make the commitment. The first thing you might think of is “how well does this person know me? How important is this relationship?” You marry someone who has your back and who provides value to your life.

Just like that relationship, a referrals come not from a place of need, but of desire. There are “plenty of fish in the sea” as they say. Your partners could really send their business to anyone, but they choose you.

Here are a few of my favorite tips to staying on the favorites list:

First, every year those people we have a relationship with get a survey from us with 2-3 questions like: when is your anniversary? what’s your favorite vacation? favorite halloween candy? any pets? That way when we do have a chance to acknowledge our partners it can be in a more personalized way. Like on their birthday for example! Think about it, would you “marry” someone who didn’t know your birthday?

Next, newsletters. Creating a monthly or quarterly newsletter is an easy way to stay relevant in between the lunch and the next association event. Be sure to include something fun or personal, not just business.

While the first two action items were focused on communication, this final one is all about gratitude. After the referral, we are always quick to thank our partners immediately. We send an email and a little gift in the mail. Greetbls have become my new easy favorite. Then, after every event all the vendors get a thank you in the mail from us as well.

So whether you are brand new to the industry, new to your market, or are wanting to up your professional game, try the dating comparison. It’s a heck of a lot more fun and it becomes much easier to determine what your next step should be while working your pipeline.

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WeddingIQ welcomes guest posts from wedding professionals and industry experts on all topics relevant to running a wedding business. Please review our guest contributor guidelines and email us with your submissions!


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