Some people call me an OG of wedding business marketing, but deep down I'm just another person wearing PJ bottoms on Zoom. I swear a lot, I share my struggles, and I don't pretend to be better than anyone else.
What happens after someone who is interested in working with you gets in touch? Is that where it stops or do you have a follow up strategy for your wedding business? And if you do have a follow up strategy, is it effective?
There a lot of myths in the wedding industry about following up and I think that’s because most people don’t know that 80% of leads convert to customers AFTER the 5th contact. That means if you’re only following up once or not at all, you’re missing out on a hell of a lot of sales.
One of the biggest myths about following up is that you’re being “too pushy” and if they wanted to buy from you they’d come to you. That’s just plain wrong. If you were emailing or calling someone who hadn’t expressed any interest in working with you, that’d be pushy, but that’s not the case here. Would you cook dinner until it’s nearly ready and then throw it out and start over? That’s essentially what not following up does in your business.
You have to remember that people may have forgotten that they told you they would call you back or email you. I hate to break it to you but they aren’t thinking about you and your work all day (even though you’re awesome). They often need a follow up to remind them that they wanted to take things further with you. They can always say that they aren’t interested and that’s the end of the follow up but don’t assume that they don’t want to hear from you when they haven’t told you that.
Following up with your leads is not pushy when done right, it’s helpful. Follow up emails help your leads make a decision which is exactly what they need to do. Whether that involves working with our not, you are helping them move forward by following up with them. Follow up emails can be helpful and educational for your leads and by not following up with them more than once, you’re doing them a disservice. Keep that in mind next time you resist following up with a lead!
All too often, we internalize the results of our follow up efforts and assume that when we don’t hear back from clients it means we’re terrible human beings and they don’t want to work with us. I can assure you that is definitely not the case. You’re just projecting your fears onto their actions (which we all do by the way) so take a deep breath and get ready to create a system to following up with your leads.
Using a client management tool like Aisle Planner to set up your initial automatic follow up email means you get to set it and forget it so you will never again forget to follow up with a new lead and they’ll hear from you right away. This makes you look like a professional wedding business and makes it clear when they can expect to hear back from you. Setting expectations is key.
The best follow up emails are conversational, personal, and add value to the recipient. That means you don’t send emails that have the tone of “Please buy my stuff! Are you ready to buy my stuff yet?” Those aren’t effective and result in losing the leads you worked so hard to get. Your follow up emails should nurture your leads and demonstrate the value and expertise you provide.
Now I know what you’re thinking, “I can’t spend all day in my inbox writing conversational follow up emails!” and you don’t have to! Instead of writing your follow up emails from scratch every time you get a lead, create templates that you can customize quickly and easily. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel with every email!
By creating email templates for your wedding business, you’ll know that each of your leads is getting the very best of you in your follow up emails because you sat down and intentionally crafted them. This works SO much better than flying by the seat of your pants and just writing whatever you come up with in the moment. This one-time investment of time pays dividends every single time you get a lead.
When you’re writing your follow up emails, remember that your emails should be conversational, NOT stuffy. Your emails should not have this 3rd person spiel that goes on and on about why your company is great and that they should choose you. You are a person and people work with people they know, like, and trust. That means you have to write copy that shows that you are indeed a person! Instead, focus on responding to their email like an actual person and close with a question of some sort to prompt a response and give you more information.
And for the love of god do not enter into the “When would be a good time for you to have a call/meeting?” email spiral of death. Don’t make someone do work when they want to hire you. This isn’t setting up a lunch date with a friend, you run a business and this should be systematized. Use a tool like Calendly to make it easy for people to schedule a time to meet with you.
If you’re looking for a deep-dive into what your emails should include I recommend ordering a copy of Shut Up & Sell by Alan Berg. It’s a pretty short read and it’ll help you sit down and craft those email templates in a conversational way that actually works to convert leads to clients.
Get started today by auditing your current follow up strategy and determine what needs to be improved or changed. Then, make a list of the email templates that you’ll need to create. I’d recommend creating at least 5 email templates for yourself. Sales is like dating and it takes time to move from first date to marriage!
As usual, bang on the money! This is something I have gradually been learning, and now you have clarified it for me. Thank you Heidi!
Aw thanks Fiona! I’m glad it was helpful 🙂
Good advice. I need to put this into practice.
Let me know how it goes Laura!
This is brilliant Heidi! I’m off to check those CRM sites. And you’re right, as a busy couple planning a wedding, it can be very easy to forget chasing some businesses and follow ups at times were a blessing and well received. However “if” (and a big if), the tone in the email is friendly and if I’d made the initial contact
Let me know which CRM you decide on
This POST is awesome! Right on time! Especially for those of us that are planning to host Bridal Events: such as Bridal Shows, Bridal Happy Hours, or Launch Party; and more. I hear alot of negative feedback from Wedding Planners that do Bridal Shows in regards to to “Following up” or gaining leads from the show. Thank you again Heidi Thompson for posting very appreciated info! I am also going to head over and check out the CRM sites you recommended. I love learning new ways to help bridge the communication gap between me and my prospective client!
The Sweetest Thing Events
Well thank you Clarissa! If you haven’t seen it yet I do have a free ebook that will help you with wedding fairs: http://www.evolveyourweddingbusiness.com/wedfairebook
this is spot on. I keep an inquiry log of every person who contacts me and wants information about hosting their event at one of our banquet facilities. Every time I contact them or they contact me I put it in the inquiry log. This way my manager can look at it and know I’m reaching out to prospective clients on a regular basis and it’s a great reminder to me when I look at it to see who has replied and who has not. I continue to touch base with those who have not responded and quite often, after the 7th or 8th time of hearing nothing, they finally do respond! Sometimes they are finally ready to start the planning and sometimes they let me know they’ve already found another venue. So I will ask them where they are going and what swayed their decision and several have responded that our prices were too high. So I’ll ask for the opportunity to match what the other venue is offering and sometimes I win it and sometimes I don’t, but the bottom line is one contact is not going to guarantee a booked party – you have to reach out SEVERAL times. Tenacity not complacency fills your empty dates.
That’s great that you already do this Kristin and you are so right about tenacity!