Sales Tips to Help You Book Out Your Calendar
Out of all the skills you have as a wedding pro, a few stand out as the ones that can make or break your business: how good you are at the service you offer, how well you market your business and how effective you are at closing a sale. And, while we know you’re great at what you do (we’ll chat about marketing another day), sales and selling might be the thing you put the least amount of energy into. Sure, you field leads, schedule consultation calls, create proposals and send contracts—but are you simply going through the motions or is there a strategy behind your approach?
Today, we’re going to level up your sales skills so you can fill out your calendar and have a killer booking season.
Understanding the sales cycle in the wedding industry
Before we dive into sharing sales tips, we thought it important to make sure everyone is on the same page about the sales cycle you frequently see here in the wedding industry because it is different from what you might find on a general business blog. As it tends to be much shorter than in other industries, it’s imperative that you have a defined process in place that allows you to keep up with client expectations in each stage of the cycle but, the good news is, you can close a sale in any one of them!
This is the stage where potential clients are finding you, so this is closely tied to your marketing strategy. Whether couples are learning about you from your Storefronts, a referral from a past client or pro, social media or a feature in a publication, the first stage of the sales cycle is the top of your sales funnel.
A lead moves from the discovery phase to this one when they formally submit an inquiry to you. And, one way to make sure you are closing the sale faster is to make sure you are replying to their initial inquiry as quickly as possible.
This is the stage where your first sales call takes place and you are figuring out if the inquiry is, in fact, a qualified lead. You should be focused on getting the important details about the wedding as well as learning about what is going to motivate the couple to book you. Be sure that you are not winging these calls and have a prepared sales call sheet with strategic questions to make sure you collect the information you need.
This stage is an important one because it is often the point in time where you are either successful at guiding the lead further down your sales funnel or they ghost you after seeing your pricing. So, when you are preparing proposals for your potential clients, remember to not just send them information about what it costs—include information about why you are the best pro for the job!
Regardless of whether or not your potential client has questions or would like to see revisions to your proposal, if you’ve gotten them to this point, you have serious potential buyers on your hands. Always be sure to follow up within a day or two of sending the proposal, communicate what the next steps are (for you and them) and reiterate the value of what they would be getting if they work with you.
Closing a sale in the wedding industry looks like a signed contract and paid deposit. And, as we mentioned before, you can close a sale at any point in the sales cycle (meaning, you do not have to go through every phase you see here).
How to write effective sales copy
While some of the sales process happens in person or over the phone, a good amount of it takes place over email—so, being able to sell eloquently (and effectively) through a screen can be a function of how well you write sales copy. What is sales copy? It’s anything you write with the purpose of persuading someone to buy from you and here are some copywriting tips to help:
- Know who you are trying to persuade and what is going to motivate them to choose you. Since you often can have multiple people on the receiving end of your emails, it’s important to identify the decision maker and speak directly to them. All of your notes from your consultation call will come in handy here
- Use an active voice and avoid writing in a passive one. Want to learn more about the differences between the two? Grammarly has a quick article that explains it all
- Personalize what you’re writing to speak to their specific needs, wants and interests—you don’t want your sales copy to sound generic
- Communicate your value! A really effective way to do this is by helping them “see” their wedding and what they want within the context of your services
- Don’t bury your ask or action items! Make sure your emails are easy to read by avoiding long paragraphs and instead calling out important items in bulleted lists
- Don’t be afraid to mention your call to action more than once because people often don’t pick up on things the first time they read it
How to put together a great wedding sales pitch
While you may not often be putting together a formal sales pitch, it’s important to realize that things like your proposals, consultations and site tours are all opportunities to move your wedding leads closer to the sale. So, as you communicate with each of your potential clients, be sure to have a wedding sales pitch waiting in the background—one with pieces you can incorporate into every interaction you have. Here are tips to help you prepare and practice yours:
- Be able to reference past conversations you’ve had with the wedding lead. This helps demonstrate that you are invested and really paying attention to what they are saying
- Be succinct with your pitch because it shows off your confidence and professionalism
- Talk about the benefits of working with you and not just what they get. Doing so helps you emotionally connect with your potential clients by speaking to the real reasons they are inquiring about services
- Have data and social proof to back things up—because sometimes you need to be able to show them what you’ve done for other couples
- Keep it conversational because no one likes to be subjected to a hard sell
To set you up with an even better wedding sales pitch, we asked Ian Ramirez of Madera Estates for his best sales tips.
“Weddings are a financial and emotional investment. And in today’s climate of authenticity and transparency, your wedding leads are likely to reject any use of dated or salesy techniques. As wedding pros, we need to create an emotionally satisfying buying experience and close the sale by leveraging our interpersonal skills and emotional connections during each phase of the sales appointment: before, during and after.
Before – Research your prospect. They research us! Why not do the same to them?! Using social media, the Internet or even The Knot’s mood board feature as a tool before they walk in the door may help you develop talking points or reduce nerves.
During – Ask open-ended questions. The goal is to engage in conversation and let them talk about themselves. We want to not only connect with the client but elicit authentic emotion. This helps us understand their “why” and is key to making an emotional connection. In addition to asking open-ended questions, utilize your research. Both tools combined will help build a sense of understanding and trust. And, at the end of the day, people do business with those they trust.
After – Send a better follow-up email. Include the names of your prospects and one descriptive adjective, as well as your business name in the title of your email. Recall personal, specific details from the prospect’s wedding vision and/or passions, as well as standout discussions or moments from the tour. Share relevant content that adds value to the prospect’s decision process and avoid starting your emails with “I just wanted to follow up…” Here are examples to demonstrate:
- Sam and Dax’s Boho Wedding Awaits! | Madera Estates
- I loved peeking at your Pinterest board together! Your boho and vintage-chic wedding would pair so well with our services/look stunning at our venue!
- Previous wedding photos with a similar aesthetic, styling, etc.
- Blog posts from your team, The Knot or other wedding resources.”
Our top sales tips to help you book more clients
Love selling? Hate selling? Somewhere in between? Regardless of where you fall on the love/hate sales spectrum, use these simple sales tips to make sure you are booking all of your qualified leads.
Focus on the value – It is important to focus on the value you add and the benefits of working with you because, if you make it about deliverables, the deciding factor will only be the price.
Don’t leave things open-ended – We know it can be difficult to put pressure on couples but, if you are not working on getting them to sign a contract within a certain amount of time, you’re losing money. You don’t have to be salesy, but communicating deadlines can be just what you need to speed things up.
Ask for the sale – Some of you might have just cringed but oftentimes you have to ask for the sale before it ever gets offered up. Again, no need to employ aggressive sales tactics here, you can simply ask questions like, “Should I go ahead and prepare a contract for you?”
Becoming a confident salesperson can take time and practice, but we know you’ll get there! If you want to learn more about sales and pricing techniques, be sure to check out all of the sales articles we have on the WeddingPro blog.
Photo Credit: Sultan Shah/shutterstock.com