I’m often asked where I get the inspiration for my books, and the simple answer is that it’s from you! I practice what I teach you, and listen to my customers and their needs. The conversations we have at conferences, on consulting calls, and on social platforms lead to my presentations and ultimately to my books. Which leads me to my latest book, and from what you tell me, my much-anticipated book, Why Don’t They Call Me? 8 Tips for converting wedding and event inquiries into sales. This topic has hit a nerve with wedding and event pros around the world.
What happened to calling and making inquiries?
Like many of you, I’m a digital immigrant. When I started in sales, much of today’s technology wasn’t around yet. Don’t get me wrong – I love today’s technology – it’s just that I know what it’s like to do business without it. I used to have to go back to my office to work on my computer, not carry it around in my pocket. That said, I also realize that about every 5 years, or so, the way our customers communicate with us changes. Some were subtle, some profound; either way, we have to adapt to the way our customers prefer to communicate – not the other way around.
So, why don’t they call you?
There are many reasons, but the root of it is that people are communicating, every day, without using their phone (or at least not using it as a phone). Digital natives – such as millennials – have grown up communicating digitally; so, whether it’s text, email, Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, a digital conversation is a real conversation, not a precursor to one. They’re injecting emotion, tone, and energy into their digital conversations; the same as they might on a phone call. You can “hear” it, if you’re listening.
Another obvious reason why they don’t call you is that they’re unable to (planning their wedding or event from work) or are reaching out at non-traditional business hours (late at night). It’s much easier to fill out your contact form, send you an email, or live-chat with you while they’re at work. No one will hear their conversation. Their boss won’t get mad at them. And, they can initiate a conversation with you while doing other things (i.e. working!).
Continue the conversation they’ve already started
One of the concepts that I outline in the book is, when you get an inquiry – the conversation has already been started. You’re not trying to start a conversation, you’re trying to continue the one that the prospect has started with their message. What you don’t want to do is give them a reason to tune out. After all, there have been many buying signals in their journey to making an inquiry, and they’ve put you on a very short list of companies they’re still considering.
Don’t try to change the technology too soon
Something else I wrote about is not trying to change the method of communication too soon. If they’re chosen to email you, they want an email reply. If they text you, text them back. If they send a Facebook Message, or inquire through WeddingWire, use that to continue the conversation. By using that to reach out to you, they’re signaling that they prefer that platform. So, unless their message says, “Please call me”, reciprocate their chosen format. Yes, I know it would be so much easier if you can get them on the phone; but had they wanted to talk on the phone, they would have called you! That said, I dedicate an entire chapter to whether you should try to call them.
8 Tips, 5 Steps
Some of you have heard me speak about the 8 tips for better conversations and conversion. Each of them is outlined in a chapter in the book, giving you background and actionable steps. Speaking of steps, I also want you to try at least 5 times to get in touch with someone who has made an inquiry. When my assistant and I do secret shopping, we track to see how many times you try to follow up, and most companies give up after 1 or 2 attempts… and that’s if you even reply at all! Yes, that’s something we never thought we’d have to track, but many wedding and event pros don’t reply to our inquiries at all. Crazy!
It’s time to get uncomfortable
When I teach these principles, it’s not uncommon for me to get resistance. Of course, it’s something new and it goes against what you’ve been doing, and with which you’re having some success. My favorite comments are when you trust it, and give it a try, and you see even more success, faster responses, and better conversion. I spoke about this the other day, and got this email the next day:
“It nearly killed me, BUT I didn’t send attachments to either bride inquires today AND I ended with questions each time and I set two appointments. Ha! I guess you know what you are talking about!!”
Are you ready for better conversations and conversion?
Would you like your customers and prospects to reply faster, or in some cases at all? Pick up a copy of Why Don’t They Call Me?, on Amazon either in paperback, on Kindle or in audio (yes, with me reading it). It’s a quick read (about 3 hours) and the tips are easy to understand and implement.
Want one of the limited-edition hardcover copies, with a foreword by Sonny Ganguly from WeddingWire? Visit this special shop (sorry, domestic US shipping only): www.GetAlansBooks.com
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