The term from the dating scene, “ghosting,” has crept its way into the business world and unfortunately happens more often than we realize. With platforms such as WeddingWire and The Knot where customers can mass message multiple companies at once, chances are you are receiving an automated message that has been sent to more than 50 other companies. These websites take away the opportunity for clients to educate themselves on your company and offerings prior to reaching out to you. Instead, it offers a way to get as many quotes in the least amount of time, whether your company is a good fit for them or not.
What can you do to set yourself apart from the competition once you receive that request? You will be replying alongside many other companies and will need to stand out to get a reply and spark a conversation that will hopefully lead to a sale. Many sales experts will offer advice on how and when to offer the pricing and how to string them along to get every last detail before giving them what they are looking for. In my opinion, it is far more beneficial to spend the time creating an authentic relationship, finding common ground and truly helping them put together an amazing event. You want the client to realize you are a real and genuine person, who has their best interests in mind.
Reply as soon as possible. If you are able to acknowledge receipt of their request before anyone else, it will show that you are attentive and care about their possible business. Many companies choose not to respond, ever, to these kinds of requests. At the end of the day, the early bird gets the worm… and you want all the worms!
Respond intentionally and thoughtfully. When you are ready to respond with your pitch, spend time to carefully craft your response, ensuring there is the right amount of information mixed with questions to keep them engaged. End your email with a low commitment question which requires a quick reply. If you ask them a million questions that require long and detailed answers right off the bat, they may delay responding until they find a convenient time to reply. In the meantime, another rental company will have swooped in with quick and attractive preliminary pricing before you even got a chance to quote.
Don’t forget about your subject line. Before they even open your email, this is the first thing they see! Make it captivating and get rid of the standard reply “Re: Quote request received from your website”. My personal favorite which seems to work is “You’re getting married! We can’t wait to be part of your big day!”. Keep it light and exciting and clear that it is coming from a real person.
Relate. Clients feel most comfortable speaking to someone they can relate to and who understands their event from a personal standpoint, as opposed to just from a sales perspective. Are they getting married and you are too? Let them know! Is it their husband’s 70th birthday and you just threw a party for your uncle’s 60th? Chat about what you did and share some tips. People want to buy from and work with real people, not robots with templates.
Know the different type of leads you receive as each will require a different response. If someone takes the time to either call your company or send a personalized email, they have already vetted a lot of other companies and have put you on their short list. The hard part is done. Now it’s your time to shine with your company’s amazing service and what makes you so great. Take the focus off the cost and make them see the value they are receiving by working with you. Actions speak louder than words.
We all know that we won’t win over every couple, corporate event or festival. There is competition in our industry and each company offers different services, price points and customer support levels. If you are not receiving a reply, don’t be afraid to ask them if they are not interested. Chances are they will respond instantly that they have gone elsewhere, or apologize for the delay as things often come up for all of us. If they have booked elsewhere, brush it off and move on to the next.
Michelle is an award-winning account manager and festival specialist with Higgins Event Rentals in Toronto. She is an active member in industry associations and enjoys serving on a variety of boards and committees.
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