By Heidi Thompson
What would you do if someone came up to you and asked you to marry them?
Unless you’re really itching to marry a stranger, you’d probably be kind of freaked out, uncomfortable and would look for a way to escape the situation. You probably don’t realize it, but this is exactly what you’re doing to your potential customers when you expect them to land on your website and get in touch with you to have a sales conversation.
There is a process that we all know and understand when it comes to meeting someone, getting to know them, dating them and then getting more serious with them and it doesn’t just happen overnight.
Sales is no different. That is why you need a game plan for taking these potential clients from total strangers to totally in love with you and that plan is called a sales cycle. Your potential clients move through the sales cycle step by step, getting to know and love you and closer to being ready to work with you.
Most wedding professionals ignore this and try to propose marriage on the first date.
The problem with that is that you are proposing something that is completely out of sync with the trust you’ve earned. That’s why you don’t marry a stranger and that’s why you don’t hire a stranger.
The real beauty of having a sales cycle like this is that you can systematize it, so it’s simpler to make sales.
There are a lot of parts that you can actually put on autopilot, and that makes your life a whole lot easier. When you have a sales cycle that turns potential clients into paying clients, you can focus on just two things:
1. Bringing in leads
2. Doing the work that you started this business to do.
Having a sales cycle makes your marketing and your life a whole lot simpler – and who doesn’t want that?!
Designing a Profitable Sales Cycle
So I know what you’re thinking, “Great, but how do I put a sales cycle in place?”
Let’s start with your website. What path are visitors expected to take when they land on your site? Most people haven’t thought about this but it can be the difference between someone getting in contact with you or just leaving your site.
Most wedding professionals give the following options to their visitors:
When someone visits your website while they are researching their options, they will most likely view these pages and then leave because they aren’t ready to contact you for a sales conversation and that is the only option you’re giving them. People just don’t get married on the first date.
According to Splendid Insights,
“Even affluent millennials comparison shop. Research is a way of life for this generation, it’s not a trust issue. They research everything and read an average of 13.9 reviews before making a purchase. Getting published on blogs helps give millennials more places to look when researching. This counts towards that 13.9.”
How to Get More Website Leads
So in a world of comparison shopping, how can you ensure that more of your website visitors actually get in touch with you?
First, stop and think about why they are visiting your site to begin with. Are they trying to figure out how this whole wedding planning things works? Then be the person to give them that advice! They will remember this when it comes time to make a purchase.
You can’t propose marriage on the first date and expect to get a “yes,” but you can propose something that is proportionate to the amount of trust that your potential client has in you.
I teach my clients to think about the first step they want people to take and I suggest making that something small like asking them to provide their email in exchange for something like a helpful ebook, checklist or video. This way, you can start to build a relationship with them via email and you’re not just pouncing on them trying to get them to commit right now.
Take some time today to examine your own site and figure out what you are asking people to do.
Are you trying to marry them or are you offering to take them on a first date?
The “know, like, trust” factor is incredibly important in marketing. People don’t do business with people until they feel like they know, like and trust them.
What can you offer your potential clients to help them get to know, like and trust you BEFORE you ask them to call to book you?
Here’s a tip to get your gears turning: answer their biggest questions.
If you’re a wedding planner and the most common question you get is, “When do I need to book each of my vendors?” offer a timeline or a checklist in exchange for their email! You’ll answer their question, build that crucial know, like, trust factor and be able to market to them via email. It’s a win-win-win.
If you want to learn more about how exactly to map out your sales cycle, start email marketing and convert more of your website visitors into paid clients, check out this free training I’ve created for you.
Heidi Thompson is the chief marketing geek & founder of Evolve Your Wedding Business and she is on a mission is to help you book more weddings without all of the struggle and stress. Her marketing expertise has been featured on Planner’s Lounge, Wedding MBA, Sell The Bride Photo Biz Xposed & she’s an advisory board member for the UK Academy Of Wedding & Event Planning. If your goal is to grow & improve your wedding business, be sure to pick up Heidi’s free training to help you book more weddings!