I think sometimes business owners tend to get so focused on the prospective clients they can book that they completely stonewall the ones they can’t. Which is, of course, understandable — we all need to make money. However, by overlooking the opportunity to make a great impression on clients who will inevitably book elsewhere, you’re missing an important chance to market your business and enhance your image.
I’m fortunate that my company, MyDeejay, is currently able to book 10 weddings on a given date, and on many weekends, we sell out completely. (It pains me to see the dollar signs flying out the window for all the May, June, September and October inquiries that continue to trickle in!) It would be very easy and efficient to send these people a two-sentence boilerplate email telling them we’re booked and wishing them luck. By actually adding some value to that email, though, I’m able to give these people a positive impression of MyDeejay and increase the chances that they’ll end up with another good entertainment company — and, on a purely human level, it’s important to me that people have the best possible experience on their wedding day.
Here are some quick and easy things I do to add a little value to my “sorry, we’re sold out” emails:
Let them know how much you would have liked to have worked with them. This is literally one sentence, but it acknowledges that the client’s wedding would have been special and awesome and you would have loved to be part of it. Everyone likes to be complimented.
Offer another suggestion. It’s a great idea to maintain a small network of professional, like-minded vendors you can recommend when you’re booked. You can send these vendors’ contact information to the client in your first email, but what I do is give the client a few websites to check out (WeddingWire, the American Disc Jockey Association, etc.) and then offer to provide suggestions if they want them. I’d say probably two thirds of the clients email me back thanking me for the offer and requesting my advice. I then know that those clients value my recommendations, and the other DJs I suggest will have a greater chance of booking the event.
Provide a little extra help, if you can. When a client has a particular problem — such as a very tight budget or feeling frustrated over other vendors’ sales tactics — I try to steer them in the right direction by giving them some helpful resources. I maintain an “advice” section on my website, and also have a free e-book that helps couples navigate the process of booking a vendor in my particular service category. I’d like to think these things have helped some people avoid bad decisions and have improved their weddings overall.
Let them know you hope to work with them on a future event. Again, a super-easy thing to tack onto an email, that confirms you are interested in them and their celebrations. It leaves the door open for a future relationship.
I can’t tell you how thrilled I was the day I stumbled across an online brides’ forum where a bride who didn’t even use us — was recommending us to other people. She was telling them she wished she had been able to use us, but we were out of her price range, and she had many kind comments about our reputation, marketing, and how nice I had been to her when she inquired. She said absolutely nothing about the DJ she actually did book, but instead was using the opportunity to talk about MyDeejay. That was an amazing feeling for sure, and about as glowing an endorsement as one can get.