By Alan Dodson, “Wedding Wizard”
As we are approaching the time when Bridal Shows for the upcoming season are beginning, it is important to make plans to effectively follow up with all the contacts you make at the show. Yes, sending emails is one of the ways to follow up, but NOT the best way! Here is the email problem. EVERY other vendor is sending them a message as well and it is easy to ignore or delete an email.
My favorite form of communication with prospective brides is a phone call or text. However when you call a prospect, most of the time, nobody answers. In fact, 70-80% of all follow up calls hit the wall that’s known as voicemail. With sales calls, this can be a serious barrier that sales professionals have to work hard to get around to speak directly to your prospect and establish a dialog.
Reaching the prospect, past the technology, is the key to a successful sale. Getting through to only 20-30% of the brides can seriously impact results. It only makes sense that getting past voicemail can boost your bottom line.
There are three strategies for handling voicemail:
- Research, listen and learn
- Sneak attack: Different times
- The Obvious: Leave a message
The first two ways deal with avoiding voicemail, the last is about what to do if the first two don’t work and you need to leave a message.
First, listen to their message; it may give you a clue as to when they might answer their phone. Like “I am at work and can’t answer right now, leave a message” or “This is Mary, you know what to do” and you may find that certain days or times are going to be more likely to be answered. Second, think about your prospect, do they work (hope so) or are they a student (unavailable during the day) or possibly in another time zone (destination weddings). Next, try calling at different times, like during drive time, morning or afternoon when they may be going to or returning from work or school. Try early evening 7 to 8PM after dinner.
Leaving a message
Don’t: Don’t leave an infomercial. Nobody likes those and they get deleted. Don’t pretend to know what they want or need, connection is important for that to be effective. And Don’t be the Village Idiot and leave a message that sound like “This is, the, um, you know, um, idiot, um message, ah, er, could you call, um back?”
Do: Leave an intriguing question type message: “This is DJ Alan, we met at the Bridal Show and I have an idea about your wedding that I would like to share with you.” Ideas are safe, non-sales sounding and are perceived as helpful. Do leave an “Only You” message, like “This is DJ Alan and I have a question about your wedding that only you can answer. “ If an “only you” message is delivered powerfully, it creates a high degree of return calls. Do leave an “I thought of you” message. Like “This is DJ Alan, and as I was discussing some fun things to do at weddings with a friend, one of the ideas made me think of you and your wedding, give me a call so I can tell you about it.”
Remember that your tone of voice is 75% more important than what you say. A well delivered message will garner more attention. Use a 4/3 follow up. That is 4 phone calls, spaced 3 days apart. Make your messages short (not over 20 seconds) If you don’t make a connection in that time, then move this prospect to the “occasional” email list for the future, then follow up in about a month with another series of phone calls.
No matter which technique you use, there are 10 essential elements to a good voicemail.
1. State your FULL name
2. State who you are and where you met
3. Leave a message as listed above
4. Use their name
5. Keep your message short and clear
6. Avoid “sales pitchs”
7. Use a clear professional tone
8. Leave your phone number (twice)
9. Slow down your delivery
10. Be persistent with 4/3 process