customer service

the BIG secret to closing more sales…

Ready? Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone. It’s a million dollar secret.

The real dirty secret to closing more sales is sometimes as simple as …

Answering your phone or returning an email.

Often, the faster the better.

Now I’m gonna pop some ‘tags…..

happy selling!

no. the customer is NOT always right.

I’ve been mulling over this post in my head for months now, finally getting it typed out. Just when I was about to hit post I came across this fabulous post by Lara McCulloch-Carter (aka @ready2spark) regarding the similar topic. I’ve followed Lara for YEARS and she is brilliant. And in her particular post there is an awesome, must-see video.

You’ve heard the cliche, “the customer is always right”. I’ve never really liked that saying. Of course, customer service is critical to any business and going above and beyond solidifies yourself among your competitors.

However, having a spine like a jelly fish (do they have spines?), will not help you or your client.

This is why.

Clients make demands or requests based on their needs or wants. It is our responsibility to educate our clients as to why their need or want is not feasible based on our experience. You will do yourself no favors by making promises or agreeing to ideas that you cannot deliver.

Example: You’re a photographer that is a “fast shooter”. At the client consult they are running down their rough timeline and they are literally giving you 45 minutes to shoot: the whole family (both sides), entire wedding party (all 16 of them) and then bride and groom photos.

I don’t care how experienced you are, you know that you need more time. You can’t make more minutes in an hour, nor can you expect 30 people to respond quickly like robots at a wedding to be able to get the 100 portrait requests.

Do yourself a favor and let them know this information up front. Their expectations will not be met by you, nor any other photographer. Something will give and it will probably be less photos shot. Which they won’t know until after the wedding. And they will not be happy.

Remember though, don’t come from a place of “no”. Instead offer up some suggestions and alternatives for them to consider. You’ll appear firm, knowledgable and have the ability to generate new ideas.

ps I had to google if jelly fish do actually have a spine. Alas, they do not, says cha cha. But you get the point.

happy selling!

where’s the sizzle?

 

It’s been a minute …

I’d give excuses, but I hate excuses. Also, I like to follow Scott Stratten’s philosophy on blogging. Blog when you have something to say, not to a set schedule.

So, I’ve been thinking and listening to others in the industry. The latest buzz is delivering “the experience” to your clients. What that experience entails, is for you to define. And I AGREE, with so many options for brides and reduced budgets there has to be something more for them. They have the experience and they tell 10 friends and so on. Referrals = business.

The challenge in my mind is how to sell “the experience”. You know, telling them you will “treat them like a king and queen” or “go the extra mile” or you give “110% at your weddings” (please quit saying those cliche comments) isn’t really going to cut it.

I’ve been looking at my own wedding planning company, we excel at delivering “the beef”. We’re solid, we do a good job, we make our clients laugh, we clean up their mistakes, etc. The “sizzle”, or the “experience” is something that we need to work on.

So this is what we are going to do:

  1. We’re going to revisit at our branding to ensure that we are delivering a consistent message or our USP.
  2. We’re going to look at our processes from the first phone call or email from a prospect all the way to the Monday after the bride/groom got married. Where can we add the sizzle?
  3. Then we are going to readdress the sales consult and how we can add in more of the sizzzzzz and still keep the beef.

Are you following me? Or now, are you just hungry like I am? I am hungry. I’m hungry for business!!!! Are you?

What are your strategies, what new things have you implemented? Would love to hear from you!

Happy Selling!

let’s do some business via facebook…

Most of you are already on it, so to speak, with Facebook. Photographers really took that particular Social Media platform by storm showing off their clients photos. I’ve spoke with countless photogs that continue to sing the praises of Facebook and the fact that it drives a lot of traffic to their business.

Recently I read that 75% of brides are on FB (sorry, I can’t source, I was reading in the middle of the night off my iPad). That is an outstanding number.

The trick is to use it correctly, but make sure it works for you.

Facebook has changed the look of their Fan Pages. Again (insert: rolling eyes). But one of the great things about these new changes, in my humble opinion is this:

  1. Fan Page Notifications: I can now receive an email when someone leaves a comment. It’s hard to keep up with everything so I’m really glad that now I can get an email when someone leaves a comment on my business page. You need to respond or at least acknowledge. It’s necessary to use Social Media for business, I wrote more about it here.
  2. Brand Awareness: Now I can sign in as my Fan Page (Company Name) and make comments or “like” around FB. Praise the Lord, sing out loud! Fabulous! Because sometimes my comments should be from my business and not my personal account (although, they cross over all the time). That is a branding opportunity!

Looks like we may have to find an extra ten minutes a day to do some Social Media Branding on Facebook.

ps Would love it if you would fan me. I don’t ask often and I’m kinda behind…. http://www.facebook.com/getrealsalescoach

Happy Selling!

10 things that your potential clients won’t tell you…

You’ve spent a lot of time and energy honing your consultation presentation. You’ve read the sales books, received feedback, read this sales blog and many others.

But have you ever wanted to know what the bride and groom REALLY think after your consult? I know, because I’ve asked!!!

Here are some REAL ISSUES that bother your potential clients, but they don’t have the guts to tell you. This is from their perspective:

  1. You talked TOO MUCH. You talked about every bride and groom you’ve ever worked with before us. That’s all fine and dandy but we want to talk about OUR wedding.
  2. You didn’t LISTEN. We have very unique ideas about how we want our wedding to unfold, but you kept talking about how you “usually” run the wedding reception. We want it different and you didn’t even listen or give suggestions.
  3. You BUGGED the hell out of us. We don’t need an email, phone call or text every single day after we meet. It’s annoying. We know you are busy, BUT SO ARE WE. Are you that desperate for business? Cause that is what it feels like.
  4. You were UNORGANIZED. Sorry but the papers everywhere and scattered notes during our consult looked weird. Even though we talked about our wedding on the phone for 45 minutes, you acted as though we had never spoke. Were you not paying attention the first time?
  5. It was all about YOU. You named dropped like 15 times during the consult. We don’t care that you did the mayor’s daughter’s wedding 5 years ago. You talked about who knows YOU, and how YOU did this or wrote this article. We just want a spectacular wedding and we already prequalified you by looking at your website. Let’s talk more about US.
  6. You IGNORED one of us. Listen, this is OUR day…that’s why we came to the consult together. Don’t just stare at my bride and ignore me like I’m not in the room. I know, as a guy, I don’t know much about flowers, but I don’t want to feel invisible.
  7. You BAD MOUTHED other vendors. I bet you didn’t know that the caterer you just bad mouthed is my Maid of Honor’s cousin. If you think putting others down elevates yourself, you are so wrong. You just looked petty and small.
  8. You were too PUSHY. We have just started the process of planning our wedding and we feel it is important to meet with more than one vendor in each category. Any vendors that are prodding us to sign immediately will get put on the back burner. Because if we wanted to sign, we would of told you.
  9. Your proposal was NOT PROFESSIONAL. You were really nice and appeared to be have everything together, but the quote you gave us was so unprofessional. Your services will be the largest investment of our wedding and receiving an estimate of costs in a paragraph form through email is not helpful to us.
  10. You seemed DISINTERESTED. I’m sure that we are like your 5,000th potential client meeting. But this is a day that is really important to us for both emotional and financial reasons. You seemed like you were just going through the motions of the consult and honestly, came across a little burnt out. We’ve decided to go with the less experienced vendor, because at least she was really enthusiastic about our wedding.

I hope this helps you to think about what you are projecting at your consults. What are your thoughts?

happy selling!

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