(Editor's Note: Today on the blog, Meghan Ely shares about her best sales practices. Read more about Meghan at the end of the post!)
I don’t typically give much thought to sales strategies until I’m in the middle of being sold to.
Case in point: last week I continued my search for a creative agency that would fit my growing company’s needs. I did my due diligence, completing an extensive questionnaire, outlining the project from soup to nuts. I wrapped up the email by noting that promptness is important to me- not in a “write me within an hour” sort of way, but in a “hey please respond within 2 days” way.
I wrote this company midday on a Wednesday. They responded back on Monday.
For dramatic effect, let me repeat. Monday.
Consider me unimpressed.
Despite years of selling- be it pretty venues, upgraded wines or even my own wedding PR services, I’ve never considered myself a salesperson.
But, during my years of selling to brides and grooms, I began noticing time and time again, there were three strategies in particular that nearly always won me the sale:
I can’t stress the importance of a swift reply enough. I’m confident that much of my booked business over the years has been a result of how we prioritize communication. We offer a live chat option on our web site, we have a system in place so that all prospects hear back from us within (24) hours and my calendar is readily available to those who would like to schedule an appointment with me. In short, make it easy to book you.
Not convinced? According to Splendid Insight’s 2016 Global Wedding Market Report, 91% of couples said that a speedy email reply mattered to them, so it’s time to make your response time a priority.
Give it to them straight- and upfront
When you’ve been in the business long enough, you’re going to see red flags coming from a mile away. Have concerns you may not be the right fit? Or that you may face challenges based on their needs? Then be upfront about it before you actually meet with them. They’ll appreciate the fact that you’re taking the time to really pay careful attention to the details.
I met with the above-mentioned creative agency and the very first thing they brought up when we sat down was how they may not be able to provide me the service I had requested in my initial correspondence. A service they had promoted on their own web site. In this instance, it would have made more sense to share this via email so I hadn’t made the trek to their offices because now, I’m hesitant to ever refer business to them- let alone, hire them myself.
And listen, I know we want to be able to book the business every single time but frankly, not everyone is the right fit. Why waste their time and yours by trying to make a square peg fit in a round hole? If, for one reason or another, you don’t think it’s a fit, then offer to give them referrals. Sure you end up not booking the business but you have the peace of mind that you’ve given them the best experience you could. And they’ll remember that.
Yes, this may be your millionth wedding but this is (probably) their first, so virtually raise a glass and celebrate their engagement with them. If you’re busy in the midst of peak season, exhausted from last weekend’s wedding show or just tired of hearing about their Pinterest finds, I promise you that they’ll notice. Instead, grab your caffeine of choice and get excited about those mason jars covering everyinch of the reception (why, I have never heard of such a thing, you say!).
Ultimately, the good news is that anyone can ramp up their sales game if they want to. So keep the above in mind while chatting with your next prospect and in no time, you’ll see how your booking rate improves.
Meghan Ely is the owner of OFD Consulting, a wedding PR agency that works with wedding professionals here, there and everywhere. She’s a long-time industry writer, sought after speaker and unapologetic cat lady.