Thursday, February 05, 2009

Business day Thursday: Wedding Inquiry - How To Get All The Info You Need

Good Morning Everybody,
I can't believe the week is almost by us again - time sure flies when you are having fun - or working your tail off!! The book is wrapping, if I find the time to just finish this project. Tour sponsors are being secured, schedule locked in place, venues contracted, websites tweaked, advertising pages read and re-read.......... The light, where is it? If I could only find the end of the tunnel!

I remember a piece of success advice I heard years ago, "Try to help others be successful and success will find you." I guess I've always tried to live by that advice. Anytime we are asked and even some times when not asked, we try to accommodate our vendor buddies - that could include complimentary photography, images, display items, we are happy to oblige. Just a little side note. How about we get on with Business day Thursday...

Wedding Inquiry - How To Get All The Info You Need
It doesn't matter how big or small your studio is, I think today's piece is good advice for any business. As a matter of fact, many businesses base a lot of their customer service success on today's topic of discussion. Here is the deal. The phone rings - how do you answer it? If you have someone else in the office, how do they answer it? Is everyone on the "same page" when it comes to conversing with the prospective bride, or any type of client for that matter? The answer to that question is probably no.

Consistency in how your company of one or many deals with a prospective client in that initial phone interview should be important to you in running your business. Why because consistency means that you and all your employees are "walking the walk and talking the same talk" to every new bride calling.

Hear me out on this. In my studio, we have up to four people that can answer the phone and take that client inquiry call. It's important for me (my business) that all four people are "on message" with the caller. "On message" means that every prospective client hears the sames words, engages in the same conversation, when any team members answer the phone. Again the question, "Why is this so important?" It's important because we want to book the client. Our best chances of reaching that goal are if every member has the same skill set - that is the tools, in this case the words to say, to have the best chance of booking the prospective client for an appointment.

"Train employees, skill sets - Ziser, what are you talking about? I'm just a small business. We are just trying to book weddings." Small is NOT the operative word. Are you a well run small business? If we can bring consistency to even this small aspect of our business, we add just that much grease to the wheels of our well run small business.

Hit the "Read More..." link below to hear the rest of the story.

Here is how to do it. Script EXACTLY what will be said in that phone conversation. Include alternative paragraphs that, from your experience, will arise. Let the script be your road map to the entire conversation. Be sure everyone that answers the phone in your business has a copy of the script in front of them, has practised and knows the phone script thoroughly without sounding mechanical. Each employee should follow the script as close as possible making notes right on the phone script.

Of course, if you book the prospective client for an interview, the completed phone script is the beginning of your road map for that future conversation. Based on your past, current, and future experiences, keep the script dynamic, improving on it every time you can. Practice and review it with anyone that answers the phone in your studio.

Here is our quick "road map" - what we want to get covered and in its proper order - to our phone conversation with our prospective client:

How did you hear about us?
I want to know if it was from a vendor or a client recommendation. Also, I want to know if it was the result of any advertising.

Check date availability.
Sure, we all do this. But, if you are booked what do you do? We ask them if they can move the date - yep, works about 1 in 10 times. Bottom line is this - we've increased our booking rate just by asking the question.

Quote prices – from low to high.
Everybody is looking for a deal these days. We do quote our range of prices. That quickly qualifies the client so as to not waste your valuable time with someone that truly can't afford your services. If our prices are beyond their budget, they usually let us know right away. No problem, we haven't wasted their time or our time.

Trial close – Does that fit within your budget?
Hey, if we don't even know what the budget is, how can we ever expect to serve our client with our bountiful list of services?

How close are we?
This is one of the best questions in the world. If our prices are still higher than their budget, but not that much higher then we increase the possibility of them coming in and seeing our product and maybe stretch their budget just a bit to make it work for them and create a booking for us.

Send out PR kit.
Well, we call it an information packet, but it is still a handsome packet of information that lists my involvement in the community, awards I've won, projects I'm working on, high profile weddings we may have photographed - anything that raises our heads above the crowd. I posted a few months ago how to put together a press kit. Here is the press kit link right here.

Follow-up phone calls.
Don't wait for them to call you, CALL THEM three days later to see if they received the information. This phone call gives you a chance to answer questions or hidden objections that they may have come to mind as they expanded their search. Remember, the goal is to have them visit the studio to see your work up close and personal.

Make appointment.
Wrap it up "thank yous" and pleasant "good-byes" being excited that you are looking forward to seeing them.

I've given you the outline we use. Now you can fill in the blanks developing your script for your next phone inquiry. Rehearse it, polish it, continue to review and refine it and you will find that it works better than the "off the cuff" meandering conversation we may be having now with your prospective clients. The phone script makes sure nothing is left out and all bases are covered regardless of who answers the phone in your company.

Hey gang, that's it for me today. Be sure to check back tomorrow for our last episode of Gear Bag Friday: The Video Tour. See ya' then, -David

1 comment:

  1. 1st of all I can't believe how lucky I am to find this site and all the sources of information. I will add in my costumer service experience that the script works great, as well as a service model you follow with each and every person. However, once you and your workers have the script down there needs to a time when some improvising comes to play. I have helped people who didn't fit the script and went outside the box to give them the answers and service they deserve. On the costumer side I have dealt with people who went by the script and script alone and I ended up being exceptionally frustrated. Know the script, have a good model or models in place and know when to go outside the box and you will have happy and hopefully booked clients.