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Wedding Business Solutions Podcast with Alan Berg CSP - Are you following up enough times?Are you following up enough times?

In my consulting and sales training, we do a lot of secret-shopping of wedding and event pros, just like you, big businesses and small. And what we find is that most of you don’t follow up nearly enough times to maximize your sales and profits. I spoke about this in my presentation and my most popular book “Shut Up and Sell More Weddings & Events”. By the time someone has reached out to you they’ve made a short list of their preferred choices… and you’re on it! Why give up sooner than you have to when those extra attempts can mean real profits for you. It’s so much easier to convert a lead you’ve already gotten than to find a new one!

Listen to this 13-minute episode and find out how many times you should be following up, and when!

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Below is a full transcript. If you have any questions about anything in this, or any of my podcasts, or have a suggestion for a topic or guest, please reach out directly to me at Alan@WeddingBusinessSolutions.com or contact me via textuse the short form on this page, or call 732.422.6362

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– How many times should you be following up on an inquiry? That’s a question I get asked all the time, and in my sales training, I teach people, “At least one more time than you’re doing now.” But if you’re doing a few more times than you’re doing now, you’re going to get that much more business. Take a listen to this episode and you’ll hear how and why.

– Hi, I’m Alan Berg and thanks for tuning into the Wedding Business Solutions podcast. You know, I get asked all the time about following up, “How many times should you follow up and how many different ways should you follow up?” And I wanted to have, on this one, the subject is, are you following up enough times? Are you actually following up enough times or should you be doing more?

So here’s the short answer: If you would follow up one more time, just try one more time than you are already, you will get more business than you’re getting now. Think about this, there’s three possible answers when you get an inquiry: you can get somebody to a Yes, you can get somebody to tell you No, they booked someone else, or you can get no answer. And when you get no answer, that’s a problem because that no-answer could be a Yes. I had someone that reached out. They heard me, I was a guest on someone else’s podcast, and I was telling a story about how I can help people with follow up. So he hired me to do a private consultation. And one of the things we did is we logged in so I could see the screen, and I’m looking at The Knot, I’m looking at WeddingWire, I’m looking at his email and stuff. We’re looking on The Knot, and he’s an entertainment company. He had responded to somebody very quickly. That was good. He did it short so it fit on one screen, good. He ended with one question, good. Well, it was asking for a phone call, so not good, because that’s one of the reasons you can get ghosted, something I spoke about on another one of my podcasts here. And then he was attaching his brochure, something else I’ve spoken about and had a podcast episode about, why you shouldn’t do that. So we had a couple of goods and he had a couple of bads in there, but one of the real bads was he got an inquiry, he responded quickly, he copied and pasted his response, he asked for the phone call, he put the brochure, and lo and behold, he got ghosted.

There’s a lot of reasons why, but he got ghosted, meaning he didn’t get replied to. That’s what ghosting is, you reply, you don’t hear back. So it’s 30 days later, I’m looking at this 30 days later. I was like, “Why did you only try once?” And he’s like, “Well, you know, I responded. I gave her information and she didn’t get back to me, so I guess she’s not interested.” I was like, “No, that doesn’t mean that. People get busy. People have other people they’re considering, people have life gets in the way, people get sick, they have pets, they have family, they have school, they have kids, there’s spirituality, right? Volunteering, there’s all kinds of reasons why people are just too busy to get back to you right now.” I said, “You can’t give up that easy. I want you to be like a dog with a bone.” You ever tried to take a bone away from a dog, like, You’re not getting that bone away from that dog. “So what I want you to do is try again.”

So this was 30 days later, right? He had not heard back after his first response, so I was now logged in as him. So I sent a message to this bride: “Hi Chris, are you still looking for a fun DJ to make your wedding great?” Now there was no subject line because it wasn’t an email. It was just a message through The Knot, but that’s what I sent. If there was an email, I would put an interesting subject line, but it’s, “Hi Chris, are you still looking for a fun DJ to make your wedding great?” I signed his name, that was it. Now remember, 30 days before he sent a message, and didn’t hear back. Three minutes later, I am not exaggerating. Three minutes later, she responds with: “Yes”.

Now remember, 30 days before he responded to her and she never responded. I said: “Hi Chris, are you still looking for a fun DJ to make your wedding great?” And she goes: “Yes.” All right, this is like fishing. The hook was in, right? But when you’re fishing and the hook is in, you don’t yank it back. You give the fish a little line. So I responded back: “Fantastic. Have you already reserved your venue or are you still working on that?” A few minutes later, she comes back, tells me the venue. I said to him: “Do you know that venue?” He said: “Yeah.” I said: “Is it a nice place?” He said: “Yeah, really nice.” “Have you worked there before?” He said: “Yeah, quite often.” “Do you know anybody who works there that I can drop a name, right, Director of Sales, Director of Catering, or something like that?” So I go back to her and I say: “Oh I’m so glad you chose there. We’ve worked there so many times. It’s a beautiful venue. I hope you’re working with Debbie because she’s fantastic.” And then I said: “Are you having both your ceremony and reception at that venue?” and that was it.

A few minutes later, she comes back and says: “Yes.” Yes, that’s all I got. I got, “Yes”. I didn’t get anything more than that, but that’s okay cause she’s signaling to me, “Don’t write me a long message. I’m not going to read it.” She sending me short, I’m going to send her back short. Okay, So I said to him: “Is it a nice ceremony area?” He said: “Yeah.” I said: “Indoors, outdoors?” He goes: “Outdoors, it’s a beautiful area.” So I wrote back: “That’s great. They have a beautiful ceremony area and I have the perfect sound system to make sure that your guests can hear every word of your personalized vows.” Notice the results based statement there. “I have the perfect sound system to make sure your guests will hear every word of your personalized vows.” Not: “I have speakers and microphones.” That’s a WHAT, I’m giving her the WHY. So then I said: “How many guests are you expecting?” She came back and threw a number. That’s it, just a number. I said: “Is that a good size?” I asked him, I said: “Is that a good size for that dance floor?” He said: “Yeah, that’s a really good size. It’s not going to be too crowded. It’s just right.” I wrote back and said: “That’s a perfect size. The dance floor is just right for that and I can already picture it being packed with your friends and family.”

And then since we’ve gone back and forth a few times, since she’s responding, I said this: “I’m already getting excited about your wedding. I have so many ideas and I’d like to find out some more about what you’re looking for, can I give you a quick call now or would later today be better?” All right? Notice I went back and forth first and then I asked for that phone call, right? I didn’t do it right away. I went back and forth, then I asked for the phone call. So now I said: “Can I give you a quick call now or is later today better?” And she said: “Can’t talk now, later today’s better.” So I said: “Six o’clock or seven?” Choice of two, right, I didn’t say: “What’s good for you?” I said: “Six o’clock or seven.” She said: “Six o’clock.” I said: “Great.” She gives the phone number. He calls her at six o’clock, makes the sale! So, this is just following up one more time. Sometimes you need to do it again and again and again.

The short answer is: follow up one more time than you are and you already have more opportunity. We do a lot of secret-shopping in my consulting and what we find is that most businesses, probably half the businesses that do respond, because not everybody responds, which is kind of crazy. Half the businesses that do respond, they only respond once just like him and they’re done. Most of the rest try one more time and usually a week later, which is way too long, way too long, right? Some of them even longer than that and that’s it. I have clients that are trying four, five, six, sometimes more than that and I mean responses. I don’t mean putting them into a drip campaign through your automated system. I mean actually responding because they’re short responses. The key is they started this. They reached out to you, filled out your contact form, sent you a message through one of: WeddingWire, The Knot, Facebook, whatever, don’t give up that easily. You need to follow up again and again.

Now I teach five times, I’ve written about it. One of my books is called: “Why Don’t They Call Me? 8 Tips For Converting Wedding and Event Inquiries Into Sales.” And I teach you to try five times, so the short answer is the day you get it, unless it came in late at night, respond as quickly as you can. The next day, if you don’t hear back, send a message and say: “Hi Chris, I just wanted to make sure you saw my message from yesterday. So excited to find out more about your wedding,” And then whatever you said the day before. If you still don’t hear back, change the method because maybe if it’s emails, they’re going to spam. They’re just not seeing it.

A lot of people having a lot of success with texts these days and you don’t necessarily have to text with your cell phone. You could use a service like I use ZipWhip, Z-I-P-W-H-I-P, www.ZipWhip.com for you “Family Guy” fans, that’s zip-wuhip, some of you got that. And now they can text the number that’s not my cell phone, which means I’m not getting the calls at midnight. But also if you have a company where you have employees, you’ll still have those texts if they leave or if they’re on vacation or something where somebody can fill in for them by getting to them. So you can have texting or leave a phone message, that’s another way to get to them or WhatsApp. If you’re using WhatsApp, if that’s what’s being used in your area or country, try something else as your third attempt. If still don’t hear back, wait a few days and then send a single line: “Are you still looking for…?”, just like I did with this bride: “Are you’re still looking for a fun DJ to make your wedding great?” “Are you still looking for a beautiful venue to host your wedding?” “Are you still looking for a caterer to bring your food that looks as good as it tastes?” “Are you still looking for flowers that are going to wow. your guests?” Right? Something that’s results-based, one sentence, that’s it.

You want to get the Yes or the No and then know whether you should move on or not. That ghosting is money. There is money in there because they made an inquiry and they’re not responding. That is where your money is and your extra profits are going to be made. You still don’t hear back, that’s when I like to try something fun, something funny. Somebody came to a masterclass that I did recently and for her venue, she came up with this version, Subject line: “Stovetop or air-pop?” You want them to be like, my friend calls it the Scooby-Doo look like, what? “Stovetop or air-pop” and inside it said: “Hi Chris, you reached out about having your beautiful wedding here and we haven’t heard back, so we can only imagine it’s one of these reasons.” And then bullet points: “Number one, you’ve chosen another venue. If that’s the case, just let us know. We wish you a lot of luck. Number two, you’re so glad I reached out again because you’d love to find out more about having your wedding here. Number three, you want to find out more, but you’re busy now and want me to reach out again in two weeks and number four, you’ve been binge-watching TV shows and movies on Netflix and you’re running out of popcorn and need me to send more, stat. Please respond with the appropriate number and whether you prefer stovetop or air-pop.”

She sent that to people that had been ghosting her and all of a sudden, people started responding that had not been responding before. And there’s been many, many variations, I’ve written about them in the “Why Don’t they Call Me?” book. I’ve told some in the “Shut Up And Sell More” books as well. There’s all kinds of fun things you can do with that, just to get them to break through the clutter and go: “Let me get back to you.” And what’s really amazing is how many times someone will apologize to you for not having gotten back to you because they’ve been ghosting you, but they’ve been seeing your messages. And I just want them to stop what they’re doing for a second and get back to you and say: “Should we continue talking or not?” Because if it’s No, we can move on. We’re big boys and girls, we can move on, but if it’s not No, and it’s still: “Hey, we’re up in the air. We’re still looking,” very few people are still following up at that point. So follow up at least one more time than you are now. The more times you follow up, it’s kind of like a sponge. You know, you squeeze a sponge, you get water out of it. You keep squeezing, you keep getting some more, maybe less each time, but you’re going to get some more, that’s what you want to do, except that ‘more’ for you is more profits.

I’m Alan Berg. Thanks for listening. If you have any questions about this or if you’d like to suggest other topics for “The Wedding Business Solutions Podcast” please let me know. My email is Alan@WeddingBusinessSolutions.com. Look forward to seeing you on the next episode. Thanks.

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©2021 Wedding Business Solutions LLC & AlanBerg.com

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