In my frequent travels, I find myself in need of transportation. I wonder why I’ll go on my phone and order an Uber or Lyft, instead of choosing a cab when there are often cabs right at the airport or hotel? For me, it’s the convenience—and certainty—of knowing that I have a ride and when it will arrive. It’s also the convenience of having the charge go right to my credit or debit card, without having to make that physical transaction.
HOW DID THEY DO IT?
What have they done to make Uber and Lyft my preference for ground transportation? They disrupted established players (taxis, limos, and car services) by making it easier to do business with them and by providing information and transparency. Being able to watch the car icon moving along the map towards me doesn’t get the car there sooner, but it makes me feel better, because I can see the process. In one click, I can call or message the driver. Whether I ever use that feature isn’t important; the fact that I can is the bigger benefit. Years ago, when toll-free phone numbers were expensive, a large consumer products company put one on their packaging, with wording that encouraged their customers to call, toll-free with questions. They didn’t get many calls, but the perception of the company, went up noticeably.
CAN YOU BE THE DISRUPTER?
How you can disrupt the status quo in your industry? I saw a videographer’s website that had a queue of the weddings being edited. It showed each couple exactly where they were in the list, and they could watch their name move up. The photographer used to get numerous emails and calls from couples asking the status of their video. Since implementing the queue, those calls and emails had almost completely gone away. It has benefitted both the customers and the business.
I CAN’T DO THAT! (OR CAN YOU?)
I’ve met many floral designers who tell me they can’t make a proposal on the spot, they need to research and get back to the customer. Not being able to give a price in the appointment, in my opinion, is costing them sales. I’ve also met floral designers who have invested in technology to be able to create a proposal right now. Others have told me that they’ve been in their business long enough that they can make an estimate on the spot. While they might occasionally be off, sometimes it’s in their favor, sometimes in the customer’s favor. It averages out over time, but makes them more sales because of the immediacy.
WHAT WAS ONCE CUTTING-EDGE BECOMES THE NORM
Toll-free numbers were only for big businesses, willing to invest in them. Then the price came down, and we all had them. Credit card processing used to involve expensive technology. Now, anyone with a smart phone can process a credit card, anywhere. Live chat was only for businesses with large staffs. Now, you can live chat on your smart phone from wherever you are. Someone who’s out of the office as much as I am used to rely on voicemail. Now, when you call my office phone, my cell phone rings as well. I’m about to start using a service that will allow customers to text my main office landline. I’ll be able to see, and respond, to those texts on my phone or desktop.
EASIER TO SELL IS EASIER TO BUY
What can you do to make it easier and more convenient to do business with you? Having a better website experience will get more inquiries. Giving them more choices on how to connect with you will get more inquiries. Responding better and faster, will convert inquiries to appointments. Giving fewer but better options, will make it easier to sell and buy. You can have dozens of options, just don’t show them all to the customer. You don’t want to hear, “You’ve given us so much to think about, we need to go home and process everything. We’ll get back to you.”
HOW MANY CHOICES IS TOO MANY?
While it may seem like you’re being a better resource by having a multitude of choices, it can work against you. I once did sales training for a venue that had 12 different chicken dishes on their menu. I asked why they had so many choices. They said when customers requested new ones or their chefs invented new ones, they added them to the list; but, none ever came off. I asked how many of the 12 options actually get chosen, and it was 2 or 3. The others just clouded the decision-making process. Showing all options to the customer, before they’ve reserved their date, delayed closing the sale. I suggested removing the nine or 10 that don’t get chosen; and making the others the same price. Sell them “chicken,” and let them choose which after they’ve reserved their date.
I’ve suggested to many wedding businesses, especially smaller ones who only do one wedding on a day, to only offer one package on their most popular dates. If you get multiple inquiries for those dates, but can only sell one, why offer your lower package? That ends up costing you profit. One of my venue clients only offers the “Chef’s Tasting Menu”— where the client knows how many appetizer and entrée choices but the chef decides on the menu. DJs or photographers may only offer an all-inclusive package for Saturday nights in high-season. Many venues have “revenue minimums” for certain dates, so why not you?
DON’T JUST LOOK AT OUR INDUSTRY
Pay attention. See what other businesses are doing to make your customer journey easier. Can it be adapted to your business? Starbucks gets us to pay more for coffee than McDonalds, yet people line up everyday. I’ve used Uber in at least seven countries, all of which have taxis. What are your competitors doing to make it easier to do business with them? Can you disrupt the way business is done—before someone else does it to you? WPM
Alan J. Berg, CSP®, www.AlanBerg.com, Kendall Park, N.J.
This article by Alan Berg, CSP™, www.AlanBerg.com, Kendall Park, N.J., was published in Wedding Planner Magazine – for more information and articles by Alan, to have him write articles for your magazine or website, or to contact him about doing on-site sales training or a virtual consultation/website review, via email, text, use the short form on this page, or call 732.422.6362, international enquiries 001 732 422 6362
For more information and articles in Wedding Planner Magazine visit www.WeddingPlannerMag.com
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