Have you ever encountered a salesperson that just didn't get it, or have you heard of the old stigma that surrounds used car salesman? Ha, I know I have for both, and when I think of our current roles in the wedding industry, I surely don't want our clients walking away with that thought in their mind.What is it about a good salesperson that is both memorable, and closes the deal? Sure, they're probably charismatic, understanding and likely have a way with words, but the majority of sales people I have worked with in all industries that rock the close do 3 things to sell a solution rather than their product.
- Actively Listen
- I know this one isn't a big surprise to most of you, but reflect back on your recent sales interactions. How many times did you hear yourself or the sales associate talking about a previous client/job? Or even what they feel/think is best for you or the client? For your next wedding appointment, let your client start the conversation. You may need to spark the conversation for them, but let them talk and you do the listening. Here is the crucial part, actively listen to what they are saying; engage in their story and vision. Colorado University explains, "Active listening is a way of listening and responding to another person that improves mutual understanding." This may be simple things like nodding, interjections or affirmations. Just remember that if you are on the phone it is always audible so the client can hear you. Common practice is letting the client talk 80% that way you learn what they want instead of forcing your previous work on them. while you learn what they want versus your previous work.
- Find the Need
- Your client has told you their life story, and you took some brief notes... now what? It's important to find the need that is most important to them during this time. For example, a bride of mine for this upcoming October isn't as worried about the budget, but the cake design. Take my downtown bride, she originally came into our Northside venue to tour, seek proposals, etc when after listening to her needs I found out she didn't want the Northside, she wanted to be downtown. Perhaps a previous client of yours was similar to this: posed photography didn't matter to them, they wanted everything to be caught candidly, but you didn't show/discuss your previous candid work. Maybe a client wants a really fun centerpiece, but isn't looking for the traditional floral arrangements, something modern architectural. Finding the need enables you to sell to your client and book the "biz."
- It's a process: Listen, Find, and Sell. Once you find the need that your client may not be aware of, this is where you bring your "A" game! Sell a solution to that need. They need a hanging upside down cake, no problem. They want a vintage venue and your location is modern contemporary, not to worry, sell them décor or let them know how your vendor partners can make it happen. Add value to your product by finding a solution. When you add value to your product by guiding them to a solution, price becomes secondary.
Once you work through your clients' need by finding a valuable solution, remember to always ask for the business. At the end of the day all of the above is pointless if you don't ask for the sale in order to book the "biz."
Photo Credit: Erin Hession Photography