EMAIL SALES (RESPONDING TO INQUIRES)
We live in a world governed by nonverbal, faceless communication and the sooner we wrap our brains around how to properly excel in this world, the sooner we are going to succeed. As a professional Portrait Photographer, and the owner of a Wedding Entertainment business,I find the Wedding Entertainment company sees the higher email numbers.
Typically with brides, we are dealing with women roughly 22-35. Their fiancé has likely left it to them to seek out the vendors for many aspects of the wedding and their first step is to peruse the online world of wedding vendors in their city. Most have full time employment so these searches take place between 9pm and 2am. Obviously most offices are closed so the only way to start the buying process, the preferred communication, is email.
Email is comfortable. Hitting SEND brings with it a feeling of accomplishment. Email is non confrontational. Many brides, wisely, are seeking out the best services at the best price. It’s far easier to ask someone to shout out raw numbers via typing at 2am than at 2pm in their storefront. So most emails begin with a, ‘ My reception is __’date’__. Being held at _______. What are your packages and pricing?
The problem many service providers run into here is that our services require some discussion, some heartfelt dialogue regarding our dedication to our craft and to her needs. Yet, through email, we can only write cold, harsh numbers surrounded by pretty phrases that we pray will soften the blow.
Early on, I’d respond in the tone of the question. I’d get an email with a simple question and I’d give a simple answer.
Bride: How much?
This didn’t result in many bookings. I had to change my the dialogue and reshape their questions for them, in order to get to a better, warmer point of communication. My objective is to show my personality and winning attitude. Their objective is to get raw numbers and widdle down to the best deal.
Here’s how I went from booking 0 out of my first 10 to booking every client who can afford my services.
In the service world you are likely surrounded by competition and email provides an avenue for that competition to take you out much easier. In the ole’ days when a client would meet or speak to you, you were his or hers for that time period. No other seller could fight for her attention at that time, but not with email. Some clients send out 10+ emails and break the responses down (easily) against each other. In this economy the best way to beat your competition is to take your client off the market as quickly as possible. This is done through age old customer service. Respond Quickly. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t receive 3 emails that open with.
“Thank you so much for the quick response!”
Her first impression of me is that I am at her service and I am already the first one to respond. I don’t look desperate, I look efficient.
Consider it a part of the vendor selection process. If your response is instantly received, you just jumped to the forefront of that client’s mind. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that email is timeless and responses can be at your leisure. The Quicker the Draw has almost always won. You have to be a good shot, too.
START BY ENGAGING THEM IN DISCUSSION
Email is not designed to be personal, but just as our grandparents maintained love affairs across oceans in World War II, so too can we show our personality through email. I do this by trying to get the client to talk to me beyond raw numbers.
(I have to stick with my profession a little here, sorry)
When a bride asks for packages, and pricing, I always blow her away with the first part (packages) and hold back on the pricing. My businesses receive high compensation, but a number alone stings, so don’t just go right in with it.
I list my services and end with 2 or 3 questions. Tell me about your vision for your big day? Tell me about your needs? What do you expect from your provider?
Everytime I respond in the first email with a price I lose them.
When I ask questions, I get discussion and I get necessary info to price them properly. More importantly, if you can get a second email you’ve beaten 50%-70% of your competition. More importantly, your prospect knows you are invested as well and not just a robot spitting pricing emails.
EXPLAIN YOUR SERVICE IN BENEFITS, NOT FEATURES
You can talk all you want about how successful you’ve been. You can brag about the cool online program you have or the years you’ve spent servicing clients. If you don’t ‘bring it home’ by showing how these great accolades can BENEFIT them then you are just an embodiment of your brochure. When I explain my 12 years in photography and my dedication to properly lighting I say it as a benefit. “ My 12 years in photography have given me the experience to capture you and your family in the best possible light to bring out your best features.” Always reread your email as your prospect and ask what’s in it for me?
WHEN DISCUSSING PRICE
Always state your price boldly and without hesitation. Don’t ever undersell or cut yourself short for reasons of insecurity. If you truly believe you or your products are worth the price you charge then don’t ever hold back when naming your price. Hesitation can be read through email, so stand firm. My early struggles were with my hesitation that finally stating my price would turn prospects away, but once I got over this hurdle my business has changed dramatically.
OLD RESPONSE: Well, with all of these things considered, and the service you will receive I typically charge $1000. If this is acceptable, or you would like more information on this, please email me back at your earliest convenience.
NOW; These are the benefits of going with my company, The price for this service is $1000. I look forward to hearing back from you soon.
Despite the huge selling point of ‘constant contact’ via email, always assure your clients that you are available via phone or in person. Being available is rarely needed, but always appreciated.
CALL TO ACTION
If there is one thing that can change any marketing plan that seems to have fallen flat it is either add a call to action or simply revisit your current offer within your email.
Always provide the next step.
So whether you are ending with a question, “Can I send you a contract to review?”
or an offer “If you schedule your appointment today I will personally guarantee an additional 15% off your total purchase” always know when the next communication will occur.
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