Have you ever been to Disneyland or Walt Disney World? If you have, then the sound of animatronic characters singing “It’s a Small World” is resonating in your head. Sorry, but that was my thought when I was reflecting on a great conference in Mexico where I recently presented. It was attended by people from over 70 countries; the bringing together of all of these people is what made me think of how small the world really has become. The attendees were some of the top wedding planners from their areas. Many of them have celebrity and high-profile, very affluent clients. To be invited to the conference, they had to apply and be accepted. Needless to say, I was in quite impressive company. I was pleased, but a little surprised to see so many of these top planners in my breakout session on communicating with prospects.
We’re not so different, you and I
As I got to meet the attendees, it became very clear that there were so many differences in the weddings they plan, but also so many similar business concerns.Regardless of how successful they were, they were still running businesses, and many businesses face common challenges. One of those challenges is that every few years it feels like the market changes. The way couples communicate changes. New technologies appear, and it’s tough to keep up. What I’ve found from my travels – speaking in 12 countries- is that we have a lot in common. People ask me all the time, what I change in my presentations, from country to country. The answer is – not much. I don’t present on weddings, or events. I present on business, to people like you, who do weddings and events.
The 4 Steps to More Sales
What I’ve found is that weddings are very different around the US, and around the world, but the basics of business – and selling – are the same. There are four steps to getting more sales:
- Get their attention – if they don’t know you exist, you can’t possibly do business with them. There are many ways for them to find out about you: advertising, referrals, social media, email marketing, etc.
- Get the inquiry (or enquiry, as they say outside of the US) – once they know you exist, you need to get them to email, call, text, fill out your contact form, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, etc. You want them to start a conversation with you with their inquiry. If you’re cold-calling or emailing to a list of people who haven’t yet expressed interest, then you’re the one starting the conversation; but, until they reply to your message, there’s really no conversation going on – yet.
- Continue the conversation, or have an appointment – I used to say that #3 was, “Get the Appointment”; but these days you can have a good conversation, and even make the sale, without meeting them in person (or through Skype/FaceTime/Google Hangout, etc.) This is where you build rapport, create a relationship and gain their trust.
- Get the sale – regardless of whether you make the sale through email, on the phone, or in person, asking for the sale is your responsibility. The four words that will help you do more business are: Ask For The Sale. For many of you, it’s as simple as that. You just need to ask for the sale sooner, and more frequently, if you want to do more weddings and events.
We’re all in this together
What I’ve found to be the most common issues for wedding and event pros around the world, is that it’s pretty easy to get into the industry; the barrier to entry is pretty low. If you want to be a wedding planner, in most places you can just call yourself a wedding planner. If you want to be a wedding photographer, again, in most places there are no licenses or tests to take. It’s the same for most categories. That same, low barrier to entry that allowed you to start your business, also allows new competitors to start theirs. That’s one of the most common complaints – “There are so many new competitors, and they are charging a lot less that we do.” What’s funny – at least to me – is that many of the people making that complaint started in their industry as the new, lower-priced competitor. They’re just the younger version of you!
Where’s your business education?
While the low barrier to entry makes it easy to get into the industry, it does nothing to prepare you for the realities of business. Unless you’re opening a venue, or another business with a high capital investment, it’s very likely that you have little, or no, experience running a business. The skills that make you great at being a DJ, or florist, or officiant, are very different from those that are needed to start and run a successful business. That’s actually how I got started giving presentations. When I was publishing wedding magazines, I would hold small workshops for my advertisers, so they would learn the business skills they needed to stay in business. If they went out of business, I lost an advertiser. Fast-forward to today, and as I travel around the country, and around the world, not much has changed in this regard.
Every day talented people begin new businesses, ill-equipped for what lies ahead. I love their passion, as I do yours, whether you’ve been at this for weeks, years or decades. And, no matter where you are in your business’ life cycle, just be sure to hone your business skills – along with your creative ones – so you can share your passion, and talent with more customers. The world may be small, but the potential is limitless. Cue the music, “It’s a small world after all. It’s a small world after all…”
© 2018 AlanBerg.com & Wedding Business Solutions
I can help you stand out in your market, no matter how crowded it already is. If you’d like to find out how I can work with you and your team, whether you’re a team of one, or dozens, reach out to me. I’ve worked with businesses both virtually (phone/internet) as well as on-site at venues, bridal salons, entertainment companies, and more. Through in-person sales training, virtual consultations & website reviews and mastermind groups, To find out how I can help you, contact me via email, text, use the short form on this page, or call 732.422.6362, international enquiries 001 732 422 6362.
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