Stop the ghosting in your wedding business

Show notes:

Fed up of getting ghosted? This episode is here to help. I’m joined by wedding industry legend Alan Berg who is going to be sharing SO much great information about how to respond to directory enquiries and not get ghosted. It’s time to stop the ghosting in your wedding business, because it’s not a no until it’s a no.

Find out more about Alan

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Transcript:

Alan: [00:00:00] Let it go for another week or so. And then I like to send something funny and a good subject line. Like, um, did you run off and elope? And inside it said, hi, Becca, you reached out about having us whatever, you know, whatever it is that you do. We haven’t heard back. We can only imagine that you decided to skip the wedding, go right to the honeymoon and you’re warming your toes on a Sandy beach, drinking a cold drink with a small umbrella.

If that’s not the case, would you still like to find out about whatever? And that got a client that was very, very interested, but was trying to make it work with their budget to reach back out and say, yes, we’re still interested. You know, can we work something out?

Becca: I’m Becca Pountney, wedding business marketing expert, speaker and blogger, and you are listening to The Wedding Pros Who Are Ready To Grow Podcast. I’m here to share with you actionable tips, strategies, and real life examples to help you take your wedding business to the next level. If you are an ambitious wedding business owner that wants to take your passion and use it to build a profitable, sustainable business doing what you love, then you’re in the right [00:01:00] place.

Let’s get going with today’s episode. Today I’m chatting with a fabulous Alan Berg To say he has wedding industry experience would be an understatement across his career. He is published two wedding magazines, been Vice President of Sales for the Knot, authored seven books and spoken at industry events worldwide.

He is a true industry legend and. Absolutely absurd. Really that it’s taken me 18 months to get around to having him on the podcast. You may have previously heard him at my wedding pro summit or in the members lounge, but today he’s here on the podcast, Alan, welcome. It’s so good to have you

Alan: here. It’s so good to finally be here.

I feel like we’ve talked about this forever and. And now it’s here.

Becca: Yes. And we finally got around to sorting it out. And I know that it’s going to be a great conversation. So it will have been worth the wait. Now, Alan, as I read that out, as I read out that introduction, um, I’m sure you must think back over all of those things that I just talked about.

And one of the things I always get my wedding pros to do themselves is to look back at their accomplishments, not always look forward. [00:02:00] So as you hear that list of things, as you hear me introduce you, what are the things over that long career that you feel really proud of?

Alan: I feel really proud of the books because for people that have thought about writing a book, and I know a lot of people that tell me that I think about writing a book when I wrote my first book, it was an accomplishment, but I kind of didn’t feel like an author because I feel like almost everybody has a book in them.

And certainly if you speak for a living or speak as part of what you do, whatever your topic is could become a book. And if you write about on blogs and things, you could write a book, I think seven books in. I feel. I’m pretty confident I can tell people I’m an author. I think I can. Absolutely. I think I can say that.

But really at this point in my career what I’m most proud of is when people come to me and tell me how What I have done, uh, not what I’ve done, what they’ve done based upon what they’ve heard from me, read from me, seen from me, whatever. And that’s the thing that makes me most proud. It’s kind of like watching your kids play sports.

You know, you can, you’re like, Oh, they scored a goal and you [00:03:00] feel their pleasure, right? You feel the pleasure through them. That’s for me. It’s so many years. That’s why I keep doing it. If people weren’t getting value from it, and weren’t taking action, I don’t belong on the stage. Yeah, that’s

Becca: so true.

There’s so much joy to be found in other people’s success from what you’ve taught them. And the book thing is incredible because I’m one of those people that says, yeah, I must write a book one day. But the thought of writing one book, it’s just insane. But to think that you’ve written seven books, it’s just incredible.

I don’t know where you, where you get the time from, especially when you’re traveling all over the country.

Alan: Uh, well, I actually write a lot on planes and I tell people this all the time because people come to me just like I did when I wrote my first book. I went to other authors and said, tell me what I don’t know, right?

And what I do with people now, as I say, don’t write books, write words, words, get edited. The editing words become books. And if you get yourself out of, I’m writing a book, then. You’ll just start to write and some of the stuff’s going [00:04:00] to be good. Some of the stuff’s not going to be good. My latest book, uh, Becca is really interesting because I say it’s the book that my audience helped me write.

And here’s how, uh, you’re going to be at Wedding MBA this year in, in Las Vegas. And I’ve spoken there every year and I speak at a lot of other conferences and people would come up to me after I speak and say, Hey, that was great. What you just said about this, which of your books is that in? And if it was in one of my books, I’d say, here it is.

And if it wasn’t, I would say it’s in the next one. And I literally just started writing down the things that people were asking me and the 35 chapters in my newest book, which has stopped selling and help them buy weddings and events. We’re things that people asked me, they, they said, you know, I don’t like to sell.

I love taking pictures where I love playing music or I love baking cakes, but I don’t like to sell. So there’s a chapter about it, but what if you don’t like to sell, um, responding to good reviews, responding to bad reviews, how to get more reviews, things that people asked me about discounting versus negotiating when I could just go through the table of contents.

And every [00:05:00] one of those things is somebody, something that somebody or many people asked me that I had already been speaking about. It just happened to not be in any of the books. And that’s a great place for you or anybody to start is the things that you already know the things that you already speak about.

And here’s what I did here. This is the scientific process. I’m going to give you this Becca. I literally made a bullet point list of those 35 things. And then when I was sitting on a plane, I went to a bullet point and I just started writing what I would say to you if I was going to explain whatever that thing was some of them, four or five paragraphs.

Some of them, probably four or five pages and that’s it. And, and the way I wrote this book is that every chapter stands on its own. So you literally could jump around. You don’t have to go front to back because if you just want to go to whatever chapter 20 is, whatever that happens to be, that’s where you could start because that’s what you needed to know.

So don’t overthink like, what is a book? It has to be like a novel front to back. No, no, it doesn’t. It just has to be value for the person that gets it and reads [00:06:00] it. I

Becca: love that. But now they’re going to ask you more questions, Alan. You’re going to have to write the next book based on that. I’ve already started the list.

Absolutely. Love that. So your newest book, it’s out now. Is that right? And what’s it called?

Alan: It is called Stop Selling and Help Them Buy Weddings and Events. And it’s the follow up to my most popular book, which is Shut Up and Sell More Weddings and Events. And the reason I say stop selling and help them buy is because most of the people listening, most of the people that you get to speak to and work with are getting enquiries already.

And that means the person that’s inquiring already has a need for whatever it is that you do. So whether it’s dresses or catering or a venue or videography or transportation or whatever, they needed it already. So don’t sell it to them. Help them buy the results that only you can provide. And that’s a theme that kind of goes through many of the chapters in the book is don’t sell your stuff.

Don’t sell your, your equipment. Don’t sell your experience even. Sell their experience, sell their results, because the results you [00:07:00] provide are unique. I actually did a podcast on my podcast, Wedding Business Solutions Podcast, about are your results really better, or are they just different? And the truth is, we’ll never know if they’re better, because this wedding’s only going to happen once, and if you’re the one taking the pictures, or you’re the one baking the cake, nobody else is, so how will we really know if it was better?

But they have to perceive that it’s better because that’s why they chose you because they want the results that only you can provide. Love that.

Becca: So go and check out Alan’s newest book. All of his books are fabulous. So I know that you’re going to love it. And I’ll make sure I put a link to that in the show notes as well.

Now, I wanted to ask you a question, Alan, because you’ve been around in the industry, as we said, for a long time, and I know that one of the things my pros really struggle with, especially when they’ve started to be in the industry a long time, is worrying about other people up and coming behind them, the new people.

And you’ll know, I mean, I’ve been doing this speaking and coaching and teaching since 2016. You’ve been doing it a whole lot longer than me, but in the last few years, [00:08:00] there’s been an explosion of people doing this kind of thing. So how do you approach that so that you can help those? Wedding pros who are thinking, Oh, look at all these other florists.

Look at all these other photographers coming up behind me. How do I stay fresh? How do you do it? Well, the

Alan: first thing I say, give them a dose of reality. And I say, weren’t you the new kid on the block once? I mean, you were that same person. So what you hope for is not that they’re going to go away because you didn’t want people to hope for that, for you.

Like when you started, you didn’t want to be like, go away, you know, get out of here, kid. Right. What you want them to do is to do it at a high level and to learn to do it at a high level because the more people that do this well, the more it pushes you to be better. And I have a personal philosophy is that I don’t want to ever be the best I can ever be at anything.

I just want to be the best I’ve ever been every time I do that. So every time I speak, it should be the best speech I’ve ever given, but not the best I can ever give, meaning I can still be better. Or that this book is the best I could ever write. [00:09:00] Well, if it is, it’s the last book I’ll ever write. So, but if I know I can do better or add more, I’m going to add more.

So that’s the first thing is just remember you can’t stop them and you were them, just you were them. So, you know, let’s, let’s just remember that. What you want to do is really, it’s kind of the opposite is help them understand how to do it. Well, join the right associations, get coaching from professionals like you go to conferences like yours, go to the one, you know, the one that I’m going to be speaking at next month in, in London, that’s the photo booth expo.

You know, that conference or the workshop that I’m doing there, what you want to do is have them do it at a high level so that they’re not charging so much less than you anymore. They’re actually charging on par and now people are going to choose you based upon. They want your results. Not because you’re cheaper.

If somebody’s choosing someone because they’re cheaper. It’s usually because they don’t perceive any difference, like they, they, you look the same to them and they’ll choose the cheaper one. The only reason we pay more is because there’s something there that says we want that. Now there, a [00:10:00] lot of them are intangible.

So it’s right. Like why does someone buy a Mercedes Benz instead of a Skoda, right? On paper, they kind of all look the same, right? They both have four tires and a steering wheel and airbags and Bluetooth and all this kind of stuff. But yet the Mercedes means something to someone, you know, is the quality better?

We could say that, but kind of these days all new cars are pretty darn good, right? But people spend more because of the intangible. They want that aspiration, whatever it is. So if they don’t perceive a difference, then they’re going to go with cheaper. So let them learn how to do it. Well, let them do it at a high level.

Cause the worst thing that happens is if somebody. Does a bad job no matter what the price point is. If they do a bad job, they make you all look bad, right? If somebody’s pictures don’t come out, well, all photographers are suspect right now, right? If somebody’s cake doesn’t taste well or falls over or melts or whatever it is, whatever happens, all cake bakers are suspect now, right?

So we want you to do it at a high level. Otherwise, you know, they’re bringing us [00:11:00] all down. So. Mentor them, just like you would have wanted to be mentored, even if you didn’t get mentored, mentor them. I just came from a speaker conference, the National Speakers Association. Imagine this, Becca, 1100 professional speakers at the same place, right?

Try to get a word in edgewise there. Uh, but I was an ambassador, which means I was a, a, a, a buddy to two first timers. Two people, they weren’t new speakers, they were new to the conference. And 16 years ago, I was new to the conference and didn’t know anybody. And now I can’t walk down the hall without seeing people I know.

And I had the opportunity to introduce these new people to my friends and stuff like that and do that as opposed to looking at them as competition. No. Right. So the next thing to think of is. There’s enough weddings to go around. I mean, let’s face it. There’s enough weddings and events to go around. And if you’re going to worry about somebody else getting a job and that you didn’t get that, you’re focusing on the wrong thing because you’re focusing on something you can’t [00:12:00] control.

What you can control is where you’re marketing and advertising, how you’re responding to inquiries, how much you’re following up, how you’re having better conversations, how your website looks, right? You can, you can control those things. So focus on what you can control instead of what you can’t.

Becca: I love that and I love that ethos about passing it on to the next people and being a mentor and seeing people As future collaborators really rather than competition.

I 100% agree with you And I think that’s a fabulous ethos to have now the one thing I really want to get into in this podcast is a subject that I Often talk about you when you’re not you don’t even know your ears are burning When people bring it up to me, which is ghosting because a couple of years back at my summit, you did a great session all about how to follow up on emails.

And my students still talk about it to this day. They still reference it. I still send them to go back and watch the replay all of the time, but not everyone’s seen that video and not everyone will have access to that. So I’d love to get in a little bit deeper [00:13:00] to this whole idea of ghosting. Now for a start, I don’t really like the term ghosting, but we all know what it means.

It’s basically when we Send someone a message or they send us a message to inquire, we send something back and then they disappear off the face of the earth. And right now, a lot of people are struggling with this, specifically when it comes to inquiries from some of the big directories. So here in the UK, we’ve got Hitched, we’ve got Bridebook, Guides for Brides.

In the US, obviously, you’ve got The Knot and Wedding Wire. So I’d just love to hear some thoughts about These inquiries coming from directories, are we thinking they’re good leads, bad leads? Are we unsure? And how should we be dealing

Alan: with them? Great, great question. And the reason that, uh, I call it my COVID win.

That’s kind of a funny thing to say, but one of the things I got to do during COVID, and I know you’re going to hate me for this again, because I wrote another book, was I wrote the book, Why Are They Ghosting Me? And the reason I wrote the book was because so many people were feeling this exact frustration.

And I was speaking about this and I do this in my [00:14:00] private training and coaching. So. I just think, well, write the book, right? I mean, just, just put into the, into paper. And I have a book called, why are they ghosting me? I like my fun titles. Interesting sidebar. When we translated it to Spanish, we didn’t translate literally to why are they ghosting me?

Because ghosting doesn’t necessarily mean what we think it does in other countries. So in Spanish it’s por que me ignoran, which is why are they ignoring me instead of why are they ghosting me? But then we use the word ghosting because we found out some countries. In that Spanish speaking will insert the English word ghosting like they’ll, they’ll say that they’re being ghosted by using the word ghosting in English, even though they’re speaking in Spanish.

So, so here’s the thing with with ghosting a lot of the reasons that people are getting ghosted. Is your own fault and I’m going to get into that. So is it a bad lead when it comes to the directory? So think about the process. If somebody goes to any of those sites that you mentioned guides for brides hitched, the knot wedding wire, whatever it is, by the time you [00:15:00] get an inquiry, think about what’s happened.

Like if we could actually see this. What, like in the movies, right? And now we can see this stuff that we can’t see when we’re really, what, what had happened? Well, first of all, they had to get to that site. So they did some sort of a search referred to it, linked up somehow. Then they had to go to your part of your country, right?

So your, your county, your, your borough, your state here, your, whatever it is, they had to go to your category. They had to look at all the possible choices there. They had to eliminate most of them. Because they’re not going to reach out to everybody. They’re going to reach out to a handful, right? It could be three or five or seven.

I know there’s some crazies that’ll reach out to more than that, but you and I know that most of them are going to reach out to by the time they reach out, by the time they make that actual message and that enquiry three or five or something like that. Okay. How many others didn’t get that inquiry? Like we were just talking before about how many new competitors and stuff are there, right?

How many didn’t get that? So imagine if you were in Oxfordshire, right? And someone’s looking for a photographer or [00:16:00] they’re looking for a DJ or something. How many possible choices were there and how many actually got that inquiry? So the possible choices were a lot. That’s an official, official number.

There were a lot, but how many got the enquiry was three to five. So at that point, again, what are you trying to do is just continue the conversation that that couple started. This isn’t cold calling. Becca, have you ever done cold calling in your sales career?

Becca: I have when I worked in the radio and it isn’t

Alan: fun.

Right. And the reason it isn’t fun is because you don’t know if there’s a need. Right. You’re calling people to find out if these now, you know, that they could benefit from it because you’re calling businesses to advertise on the radio. They could get bit. Right. And we know, but we’re not cold calling here.

They’re raising their hand and saying, I want to find out more about what you do. Oh, and by the way, I don’t want to find out about the 95% of the others that, that I could have seen. Right. What? There’s a great book. I didn’t write this one. It’s called the paradox of choice. And the paradox of choice by a man named Barry Schwartz, fantastic [00:17:00] book, really easy read.

I did the audio book and it talks about how we want to know we’ve seen all the choices, but then when we see all the choices, we can’t decide. And the more choices there are, the harder it is to decide because we’re human beings. So just think about going to Amazon, right? If I go to Amazon UK right now and I search for anything, I’m going to come up with thousands of choices.

And then I got to click prime and then I got to click four stars and I’m still going to have thousands of choices. And if you’ve ever gone to Amazon and left without buying anything because you’re like, uh, I just don’t, I can’t decide that decision paralysis. Well, by the time you get an inquiry, then it’s not decision paralysis.

They’ve eliminated most of those others. And you’re in this small group. And if you could see that, just imagine Becca, if you could see like 50, uh, florists. Right? And then all of a sudden they start disappearing and there’s only five of you left. And now you’re only competing against those other five.

You’d stare them down and go, uh, this is mine. This is my sale, [00:18:00] not yours. Right? 50. You can’t imagine, right? You can’t battle 50, but you’re not, you’re not. So the mistakes I see people making with the ghost thing is you’re trying to rush the process because what would you do if the phone actually rang?

And I think, you know, I wrote a book called, why don’t they call me before I wrote, why are they ghosting me? Because that was the other complaint I would hear is like, it’d be so much easier if they would just ring me up. We could just talk right now, this would be so much easier. And then I remind them that they’re Millennials and Gen Z and this thing that they carry in their pocket.

Yes, it’s a phone, but they don’t use it for that. They use it for everything else. So, if you try to change them from a digital inquiry, so a message, a WhatsApp, a text or whatever, To a phone call, to a zoom, to an in person meeting or a show round, you’re actually going to turn them off because you’re trying to rush the process with a high commitment action.

Think about it. It’s a low commitment to fill out your contact form. It’s a low commitment to send you a message. I’m not [00:19:00] anonymous, right? Cause you know who I am. But there’s this arm’s length thing right between us called this digital medium. But if you get on the phone with me, well, this is real time. I have to do this in real time.

If I come into your venue for a show run, this is real time. I, uh, that, that’s a high commitment. So if you’re asking for a phone call or a tour or a show round or a zoom or whatever right away, And you’re getting ghosted a lot. That’s probably one of the biggest reasons. And just think about yourself as a customer.

You reach out to someone through their website. You want to get an email back, right? But now all of a sudden your phone rings and you’re like, Oh no, I didn’t want to talk to you because I could have called you, but I didn’t call you. Right. If I, if I wanted to talk on the phone, I would have called you, but I didn’t.

So they don’t answer the phone. Right. So. We’re no different, but we want them to do something that would be different than what we would do ourselves. Right? So ask them to call the meeting right away. Another one. And I’m sure you’ve seen this too. How many screens on your phone? [00:20:00] Would you like that message to be right back?

If you’re a customer, how many screens do you want it to be one? Okay. So the other day I was looking at someone’s message that they sent me because they were telling me ghosted from these directory leads. Right? Okay. I stopped counting at nine, nine. Wow. Right. I know people listening that watching, but if you could have seen her face just now nine, right?

Two is too much, right? Three is way too much. Nine. Oh, and four attachments by the way. Right? So why are the attachments bad? Well, his attachments weren’t made for a screen they were made for A4 paper. Or double A4, right? So now, all of a sudden I’m pinching to try to read this tiny print. What’s my user experience?

It says, go away. Somebody is going to make this easier for me. So attachments are bad. Why else are attachments bad? What do you want that brochure to do? You want to get them to be interested to contact you. Wait a minute. [00:21:00] They already contacted you. So why am I sending you a brochure that’s going to do exactly the opposite of what you want, which is now I’m not going to respond to you.

I’m going to go open that brochure. I can’t read it well. Now I’m going to wait till I get to my laptop or my tablet. Which means I may not ever get to it. Okay, links. Why are links bad? Um, uh, secret shopping. Oh, when you come to wedding MBA, if you come on the Monday, I’m doing a presentation on secret shopping.

And because with my consulting, do you do that? Do you do any secret shopping with your, with your, uh, students or

Becca: clients? Yeah, sometimes, but I don’t always tell them that I’ve done it until a little bit after, or sometimes I’ll just do it just on random websites and then give feedback. I don’t even necessarily do it with people that I’m working with.

Right.

Alan: Well, we’re doing right now. We always do it with a lot of our clients, but I’m actually doing a presentation on this. So we are a secret shopping, probably about a hundred companies right now. And really all we do is we fill out a contact form or go to one of these directory sites and fill out, you know, an enquiry and then [00:22:00] just see how many times they try before they give up.

And the answer is most give up way too soon. Most give up after one or two attempts. Well, if you’re worried about getting ghosted. And you’re not following up when they don’t respond to you. You’re just waiting for them to respond to you. It’s not up to them to do it. It’s up to you to show them that you’re still interested because your message, your first message is so far buried in their inbox or messaging system that you are expecting them to find it.

Right? So just every time you respond, you come to the top of their inbox, you come to the top of their messaging. So why wouldn’t you try again? I have slides in almost all my presentations these days that say the biggest opportunity that you have are the people that have already reached out and have not told you, no, if they told you, yes, you’re moving forward.

If they have not told you, no, it does not mean they’ve booked someone else. And, and, and Becca and I could tell you that. Do you, if you keep following up or one of the few that is still following up as you go down the line [00:23:00] and it’s really, I just told this director of sales for this company I’m going to in about two weeks.

We started shopping her people, two of her clubs. These are private clubs, golf courses, country clubs, right? Some of the worst subject lines I’ve ever seen on, on emails. They’re basically whatever the system created. And it was something like new form, uh, number sign 349, right? Can you imagine like you’re inquiring about a wedding at a beautiful venue?

A beautiful venues, by the way. And this is the subject line is new forum enquiry. Number 349. Oh, let’s make this transactional. Why don’t we. Right. So they probably don’t even know because they don’t see what the customer sees. Right? So keeping it short, no links. Uh, one company sent me two links to Google drive photos, right?

Not, not like a photo gallery app or anything, which I wouldn’t do either, but just a Google drive. So I literally clicked on the link, landed [00:24:00] in a Google drive and it just on my phone just starts loading photos, loading photos, loading photos, loading photos, loading photos, and it’s going, it’s going, it’s going.

And you’re wondering why they don’t respond to you. You just sent them 150 photos, right? So if you, if you think about it, don’t give him anything to look at. Don’t give them anything to open. Don’t give them any links to go to just. Have a conversation. If the phone had rung, what would you say to this person if they said those exact words that they wrote?

You wouldn’t attach anything. You wouldn’t say, give me your email and I’ll, I’ll send you something. Just have a

Becca: conversation. Really helpful. And I’m sure there’ll be people listening to this thinking, okay, I’m making loads of these mistakes. I need to change the way I respond to the enquiries. Now I know that on some of the directories here, it’s probably.

The same in the States that the directories are making it really easy for people to inquire. They’re doing the low friction. And so quite often the pros will just get an email that’s a standardized, Hey, send me a wedding brochure or, Hey, we want more details. So yeah, Taking everything you’ve just said, [00:25:00] I’m the florist, the photographer, I’ve received this standard, send me the brochure, what am I sending back in that really short one page

Alan: email?

Okay, so because that is that standard text, it doesn’t mean that’s what they really want. They are just taking that easy, effortless route, right? Uh, I read a book recently called The Effortless Experience, uh, Matthew Dixon, I think, was the author. They have a few good books. Uh, but effort or friction, right?

It’s just easy, right? So we take the easy route. What you want to do is you want to have a conversation now, if they say, send me your brochure, what I would go back and say, thanks so much for inquiring. I would not say congratulations on your engagement. And the reason is so many wedding pros use that phrase or something like that, that the first time a couple gets, it’s like, Oh, that was nice.

The 16th time they see that it’s like, okay, just enough already. So just speak to them in your voice. Don’t make it sound like you can copy and paste it, but don’t make it sound like you copied and pasted. Thanks so much for [00:26:00] one more thing. Use results based raising. So if it’s a florist, thanks so much for reaching out about having us help you bring amazing, beautiful flowers to your wedding.

Okay. Not just thanks for reaching out. We’re available on your date. Put put in the date. We would love to get you information. It’s attached, right? That’s just transactional. We’d love to help you have beautiful, amazing flowers for your wedding. I’d love to get you some information. I want to make sure I don’t send you anything.

You don’t need. And I want to get your pricing that fits your budget. And so you don’t pay for anything you don’t want. So let me ask you a few questions so I can get you just the information you need. So we can help you have an amazing wedding experience. And then I would ask one question, one question.

I’m going to repeat that everybody listening. This is a conversation, not an interrogation. We send one question at a time. Oh, that was another one I saw the other day in secret shopping. Uh, 12 questions, no joke, 12 in bullet point, [00:27:00] 12 questions. They’re not having a conversation. They’re having an interrogation, right?

So the first question should be a low commitment question that they don’t have to talk to their partner. They don’t have to think about it. There’s no deep thought. What’s your vision for your day or anything like that? It’s a simple question because the goal of the first response is to get them to reply back to you, which is what they’re not doing.

That’s why you’re frustrated with ghosting. So if I said to that florist, are you having both your ceremony and reception at the same location or at different places? They could come back and say, Oh, we’re getting married at the church. This is the church and here’s the reception, or we’re having a civil ceremony and we’re having them both at the same place.

Well, you as a florist would want to know that. Do I have to go to the church and set up flowers and then do I have to go to a venue to set up flowers? Right? You need to know those kinds of things. Right about the bridal party, if we might ask about the number of people in the bridal party. So we can start thinking about that.

We could ask questions about the venue in terms of maybe the number of tables or is there a cocktail reception before [00:28:00] that? We wanted to set up decorations. If the ceremony is at the venue, do I want some sort of an arch, right? The things like this, but one question at a time to build this rapport first.

Before you build the package, right? We build the repport, then we’ll build the package. So that would be how I would start that if they specifically ask about pricing. And then a lot of times they’ll say, could you send over your pricing? I always talk about there’s 4 ways to talk about pricing. I think I spoke about this at your, uh, for your thing.

Gosh, it’s so long ago. It seems like. But there’s four ways to talk about pricing for anything. The first is if you have all the details, give them the price and ask for the sale. Now that’s not going to be on an initial inquiry because you certainly don’t have the details yet, but let’s say someone asks you about an upsell.

So if somebody says to the DJ, you know, I saw that someone had the monogram with their, their initials, you know, projected on a wall. Can you do that? Say, Oh, absolutely. We can do a monogram for you. That would only be this much. Would you like me to [00:29:00] add that to your wedding order? Right. So you give them a price, ask for the sale.

The second way is kind of what I just said, which is you don’t tell them, but you tell them that you’re going to tell them, but you show them why you didn’t tell them, which is I’d love to give you pricing information. I want to make sure that I don’t leave out anything that’s important to you. And I certainly don’t want you to pay for anything you don’t need.

Which by the way are both true statements. I don’t want to leave out anything. I hate when someone gives a price and then they say, Oh, does that include this? Oh no, no, that’s going to be more. Does that include this? No, no, no. That’s going to be more. So find that out upfront before you give the price, but also don’t charge them for things they don’t need.

I didn’t say for things they don’t want because they don’t know what they need yet because they haven’t done this before. And even if they have done it before, it’s probably either a while ago or it was a different type of a setup for them. So they don’t, they can’t ask for things they don’t know. If they don’t know what exists, they can’t ask, but you also have to say to them things like, what if their venue provides tables and chairs, but not linens, right?

Well, what if you, if you [00:30:00] didn’t include the price for the linens, all of a sudden, you don’t want them coming in with no limits on the tables. So, of course, you’re going to charge them for those things. The third way would be a starting price, which I hate. And I think you and I, and everybody listening hates this for the same reason.

Starting price tells us the cheapest thing that that business offers. It doesn’t tell us what we’re going to pay. And if that starting price is not close to the price that most people actually pay. You’re hurting yourself, not just them. You’re hurting yourself because you have to sell them up from the bottom now, instead of selling them to the price point that they’re actually going to end up with.

So the only time you do a starting price is when there isn’t a big variation on price. So if you say, well, this goes from, uh, you know, uh, 1, 700 pound to 2000 pound. Okay. That’s not a big range. You could say starting at 1, 700, it’s okay. But if it goes from 1, 700 to 5, 000 and most people spend 3, 800, Well, now you’re hurting both yourself and them because they think they’re going to spend 1700 because that’s the only number they [00:31:00] heard.

So the only time you use that when there isn’t a big range and then the fourth way, which is my favorite way to give people an idea of price, which you hear that a lot. Can you give me an idea? Can you give me an idea what it costs? But when you have no details, you can’t give them theirs, but you can say, well, I don’t have the details about your wedding yet, but what I can tell you is the weddings that we do range from here to here.

With most of our couples ending up around here, which could be another range or could be another number. So give you an idea. One of my clients was getting way too many people that couldn’t afford their high end venue. So their website now says that weddings from May through October, which is their high season.

Range from 34, 000 to 82, 000. That’s it. That’s what it says. That’s called anchoring. We put those two anchors in the ground at 34 and 82. And if you’re not playing in that pitch, go someplace else. So their enquiries dropped, which meant their show rounds dropped and their sales went up because they’re only dealing with people now who have a budget for that.

So that, that would be the way to [00:32:00] talk about price. So here’s what you could do on those directory sites is write up the two different versions. So the one is, let’s say I’ll use a videographer this time. Uh, thanks for reaching out, uh, about having us capture your beautiful wedding film and all the sights and sounds from your wedding day.

We’d love to give you pricing information, but before we do, let’s make sure we don’t leave out anything that’s important to you or charge you for anything that you don’t need. And let me get just a few details. So, I can give you a price and then new paragraph and for videographer, I would say, uh, will you be getting ready at your venue or at your ceremony venue or at another location?

Because videographer is going to start with the getting ready, right? Could be a mom and dad’s house. Could be at the church, could be at the venue, could be at a hotel, right? Things like that. The other way to do it would be thanks so much for reaching out. We’d love to capture your beautiful wedding film and all the sights and sounds of your wedding day.

Um, I don’t have enough details to give you your price just yet, but I can tell you that the weddings that we do range from pick numbers, [00:33:00] 2, 500 to 8, 000 plus with most of our couples ending up between 500. Let me get a few details from you so I can help narrow that down for your wedding. And then you ask the first question again, so you can have those two written.

And what I actually suggest is, uh, you know what AB testing is back. I know you do it and not everybody does. Try one, then the next enquiry, try the other one, then go back to the first one, then the next one, the first one, then the next one, and just see what

Becca: works best. Absolutely. All of that is gold. I’m sure that people are at home scribbling down their notes and if they’re out for a run or in their car, they’re going to be pausing it and going back to re listen to everything that you’ve just said, because there’s so much great stuff in there.

Now the question that we know that gets asked all of the time on this subject, as we start to bring this conversation to its conclusion is, okay, Alan, well, I’ve sent my email. They’ve ignored me. I’ve sent another email. They’ve ignored me. Should I give up now? Or how many times should I try before I give up?

Alan: It would depend upon when the wedding date is and what your [00:34:00] service is. However, if they have not told you, no, you want to keep following up and give them an easy way to tell, you know, so first of all, two times is way too few. Uh, in my book, why are they ghosting me? I outline a five or six time process before you’d even think about giving up, right?

I have clients that are doing way more than that. And in my secret shopping, I stopped counting at this one venue at 10 times. I stopped counting at 10. They’re still sending us messages. I stopped counting at 10. So, first of all, know that most of your competitors are giving up after one or two. So if you knew that, you should at least do three or four if you know that they’re giving up after one or two.

But it’s also the timing, Becca. It’s not just how many times, it’s how often you’re doing this. So I’m going to give you the cliff notes version of this. Cause I, we, we could do, I think we did. I, when I spoke at your event, we did a whole thing on this. Um, and it is in the books and things, and people can reach out to me and find out my podcast too.

So [00:35:00] the day you get it, unless it’s late at night, you respond right away. And, and that’s because couples will say that about half the time they tend to use the first one that responds. So let’s be the first one when we can. Respond as quickly as you can because you can’t ignore your current customers.

You can’t ignore your family, your pets. You’re, you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re significant others, your parents, your whatever. There’s things in your life between volunteering and watching your kids do dance and Taekwondo and you know, whatever you have stuff to do and get your face out of your phone sometimes.

Please let’s, let’s do that. But respond as quickly as you can. If you have not heard back by the next day, yes, he said the next day, there are some people don’t, don’t go, don’t drive off the road when you’re listening to this. I said the next day, because what I said earlier was, can we put ourselves back at the top of their inbox?

So the next day, you just put yourself at the top of the inbox, but here’s what you do. Don’t overthink it. Just put a little preamble at the beginning of the exact same message you [00:36:00] sent the day before. Right? I actually, I use Outlook and I go into my sent folder, find the same message, say, resend. And at the beginning, I say, hi, Becca, just making sure this made it through to your inbox.

Blame the spam filter, right? And then it’s the exact same message. Now, if they still don’t respond to that, by the next day, if you have not already tried a different method, calling them, texting them, WhatsAppping them, something else, try something else because they’re just maybe not seeing. I said, maybe not seeing because a lot of times they are seeing it, but you’re not a priority right now.

Something else in their life is a priority work, family, whatever is a priority right now, and we’ve all done the same thing, right? You fill out something, and then you get a response like, oh, I can’t look at that right now, and then it starts getting buried in your inbox. Right? So let’s put ourselves at the top call text.

What’s app do something else. If you have not already tried that. Because if it is going to spam, if you are just sending them emails and it’s going to [00:37:00] spam, send them 10 more emails. They’re going to go to spam. It’s not going to change anything. So let’s try a different method. Now, if you still have not heard back, let it sit for a couple of days.

You’ve already tried three times. Your competitors have tried once or, or zero. I hate to say that, but on our secret shopping, I have companies that have not responded at all, which if I had hair, I’d pull it out. I mean, it’s just, I so frustrated. So wait a few days and send one. Sentence one sentence. Oh, by the way, when you do those other emails, your one question at the end is always its own paragraph.

So it stands out because people scan. They don’t read a scan BCC yourself for a couple of weeks to see how long your messages are on phone. So you can open above on your phone and see. And don’t write anything after the question except your name. Don’t write, I look forward to hearing back from you.

Can’t wait to work with you. No, you’re burying the question if you do that. When you ask a question, you stop talking. That’s it. Stop writing. So send them one question. Are you still looking for a [00:38:00] talented filmmaker to capture your beautiful wedding images? Are you still looking for a creative caterer to bring amazing…

Uh, food and, uh, that looks as good as it tastes, right? Or tastes as good as it looks, right? One question results based phrase that allows them to come back and say, no, I’m not still looking. I’ve chosen somebody else because if you can get your list of ghosts down, because you know, they’ve booked someone else, you’d have more time to follow up with the ones that haven’t.

And this is a big thing with people is you have this incredible stack of ghosts. So many of them have chosen someone else and haven’t told, you know, Because they want to avoid the confrontation. Right. Or they just haven’t asked. So ask. I had that recently where I reached out to some companies and two out of the three told me, you know what, we’re going to hold off right now on whatever it is.

Right. My question back to them is, you know, when would you like me to follow up with you next? Right. So I don’t even leave it at that because with my business and your business, they could still do business with us. Whereas if the weddings happened, you [00:39:00] know, let me know about your next wedding. You know, that’s, that’s a little, probably don’t want to say that.

Um, now once you’ve left that one alone, let it go for another week or so. And then I like to send something funny, uh, just, you know, something that, that’s going to make them smile and a good subject line like, um, lost your paddles. And then inside, uh, hi, Becky, you reached out about having us bring amazing flowers to your wedding.

We haven’t heard back. Can only imagine it’s one of these reasons. Bullet number one, you’ve chosen another florist. Just let us know number two. You’re so glad I reached out because you’d still like to talk to us about having our amazing flowers at your wedding. Number three, you want to talk to us, but you’re busy.

Want me to reach out again next week? And number four, you’ve been kayaking on the Thames and you lost your paddle and you need me to send out the coast guard or something funny like that. Right? Just come up with something. I like local things. If you can. I had one person that did the subject line was microwave or air pop.

Okay. And number four was you were binge watching shows on Netflix and you’re running out of popcorn and you want me to send more, right? So just something fun [00:40:00] and the idea is when they see a fun subject line and when they see a fun message, they will stop and many people will come back and tell you either I’ve chosen someone else or I still do want to talk to you.

Maybe it’s not now, but I do want to talk to you. It’s amazing how well that works. Now, if you still don’t get a response, one more than one of my clients taught me. They waited about another week or so and the subject line was did you run off and elope? And inside it said, hi, Becca, you reached out about having us whatever, you know, whatever it is that you do.

We haven’t heard back. We can only imagine that you decided to skip the wedding, go right to the honeymoon and you’re warming your toes on a sandy beach, drinking a cold drink with a small umbrella. If that’s not the case, would you still like to find out about whatever? And that got a client that was very, very interested, but was trying to make it work with their budget to reach back out and say, yes, we’re still interested.

You know, can we work something out, right? But they hadn’t responded to all the other messages. So the key is don’t send the same message every time. Send [00:41:00] short messages, no attachments, no links. Ask one question and try to get a response, even if it’s a no, because a no is it’s an acceptable response. A no is a good response because I can take you off the list and don’t burn the bridge.

If they say no, say we wish you a lot of luck with your, with your wedding and your marriage. And if anything changes, please let us know because sometimes things change. Yeah,

Becca: absolutely. And I always say it’s not a no until it’s a no, it could still be a yes. So keep on going with those follow ups, follow the cliff notes or go and listen to Alan’s podcast as well.

If you want to find out more about this subject area of ghosting. Alan, you’ve been so generous with your time and your knowledge. It’s been worth the wait of me finally getting you onto the podcast. What’s next for you? I’d love to know what’s next for Alan. Is it another book? Is there something else coming in the pipeline?

Alan: Uh, well, right now I’m trying, uh, I’m working on the Spanish version of the new book, uh, actually using AI for the translation and I’m [00:42:00] having people, I already did the AI, but I’m having people check it to see how good it is. Cause it needs to be a contextual translation, not a literal translation. So I’ll be in the UK as we were saying, so I’ll be in the UK, uh, in September.

Or the photo booth expo, I’m doing a workshop open to anybody. So on 19th, September from 4 30 to 7 30 PM, I’m doing a workshop. I can give you the link for that as well. Actually, I can give you a link with a 50 pound discount for your listeners. Even better, even better. And I’ll send you that over. And that’s like a version of what we’re doing here, except we’re going to dive deeper into their actual wording and messages.

So you won’t have to be scribbling down while you’re driving. Please don’t do that. Please don’t scribble while you’re driving. Um, but I, I tend to always have, try to have no more than three things, big picture things on my list at one time because it distracts us and we dilute our time into those things.

So right now it’s the Spanish book, something that’s daily for me, 946 days right now is I’m doing French lessons because I was supposed to be in Paris in 2020. We [00:43:00] know what happened in 2020 so that didn’t happen. Because I’ve already presented in five countries in Spanish, uh, more with, with virtual, I don’t know that I want to present in Spanish.

Well, actually I did present in French once already. It was a recorded one, but so learning French, that’s on my big picture thing. Um, so I will be trilingual, maybe possibly, possibly, uh, um, and, uh, what else are the books there? And then I, well, I did, I started doing this. Oh, actually I know what more I’m writing a version of shut up and sell more, but not for the wedding and event industry, because so many people say, Hey, this applies to any business.

And I’ve had people buy, shut up, and sell more to give to a friend who is not in our industry. So I’m going into the book, taking out all the wedding and event references and making it for anyone. And it’s going to be shut up and sell more just about anything.

Becca: Love that. That’s so exciting. And I love that you’ve got these three big picture things to keep you focused and you’ll definitely have to come and take a trip to France when your French is up to scratch.

My parents have an apartment down in the South of France. So I’m down there a lot. [00:44:00] You’ll have to come hang out in the South of France and. Practice your French. Now, Alan, I always end the podcast with the same question to every guest I have. And it’s this, what’s one thing you wish you’d known sooner in your own business?

Alan: In my business, I think I wish I would have gotten a, a virtual assistant sooner. Uh, you know, we think we can’t afford it, but what it was costing me before was time with my family. Because I’d be sitting on the sofa watching television with my wife and I have my laptop and I’m working and it was things that I didn’t have to do, like, we should all be doing the thing that provides the most value to our businesses.

And for me, it’s content creation. Sales, right? That’s my best value. Some formatting things like right today, my new podcast came out and I did not have to post it on social and you did that for me and the visual soundbite was created and it [00:45:00] was posted on my website and the email went out and I didn’t have to do any of that.

And I wish I had known sooner that this small investment would free me up. Maybe to create more content, maybe to make more sales, but maybe just to have more time with my

Becca: wife. Yeah. So, so important and outsourcing changed my business. It sounds like it’s changed yours as well. So if you’re listening to this and you’re feeling overwhelmed a hundred percent, look at outsourcing some of those tasks, Alan, it’s been such a pleasure.

I hope that we get to catch up either when you’re in London or Las Vegas or both, hopefully. And, uh, yeah, I hope to see you very soon.

Alan: Well, I’m looking forward to it. Twice this year, that’ll be great.

Becca: Awesome. Wasn’t Alan amazing? Absolutely love chatting with him. As I said at the start, I can’t believe it’s taken so long to get him onto the podcast, but I know you’ll have found it valuable listening to all of his advice. I’ll make sure I share the links to his books and all of his other information in the show notes. And if you do get the opportunity to go and see him when he’s in [00:46:00] London, I highly recommend it. I’ll see you all next time.

Becca xo

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