I hope I don't need to explain why I used a word....that isn't actually a word in the title of this blog post. Please tell me you've also used the term "salesy" when describing how you DON'T want to come off to your potential clients and couples? I've totally used that term so I hope that's cool with you.
I've worked in for-profit education, real estate and even for a direct sales company so sales/pitching doesn't really bother me. Don't get me wrong here. I'm a human being, so when I get rejected (and I absolutely do) obviously that stings.
But, I don't feel "salesy" or "icky" when I'm touring a couple at my wedding venue and ask if they'd like to book with me. Mostly because I think in very literal terms when it comes to sales. My thought is, they're going to book with someone so why shouldn't that someone be me?
When I worked in real estate I was leasing townhomes to college students and I had an awesome team of marketing associates that worked for me. When I trained them on the leasing/sales process I always reminded my marketing associates of what a co-worker told me, "We're not saving lives here." Because we weren't. I know that sounds crass but her meaning was "stop taking yourself so seriously" and it really helped me.
We were leasing homes, typically the first off-campus home, to college students. That's supposed to be fun for college students, not awkward and full of confusion. So I helped my team overcome their fear of selling by teaching them to make the leasing process fun for students by being friendly, helpful and HONEST.
I use the same thought process (we're not saving lives here) when it comes to my wedding venue...or anything I'm selling. When it comes to sales we get so wrapped up in our own thoughts and take ourselves way too seriously. As it gets closer in the conversation to "the ask" many of us stop acting like ourselves and immediately become too stiff and honestly, just weird.
I'm not advocating for being unprofessional or too casual, but I am advocating for just being a normal human being.
When you see a great movie or buy amazing shoes (if you hate shoes this won't make sense) you have zero reservations about telling all of your girlfriends! Watch this movie! Buy these shoes! I'm guessing you don't say, "No, I will not tell you about my shoes because I don't want to be too "salesy."
You know why that works? Because you're being honest. You're genuinely excited about that movie and your shoes and people can tell! I know you're genuinely excited and believe in your business too so what's the difference?
In today's consumer market you can use "sales tactics" and some of them work! But mostly, you just need to be useful and honest because honesty breeds trust and trust goes a long way. If you don't offer refunds, just say that. If you don't accept text messages from "Day of Wedding Management" clients because they don't pay a high enough fee for that much access to you, then just say that.
You can and should use language that effectively communicates your values without sounding like a jerk. But don't confuse your potential client with flowery verbiage that doesn't actually provide answers because you're afraid of sales in general or more accurately because you're afraid of losing the sale.
Confused consumers become defensive consumers and that's when you have a problem.
You can absolutely get to a point in your business where you don't even have to "sell" because people are just ready to sign on the dotted line after being referred to you by a friend (YAY!). You might even already be there in which case, bravo! But until then, in my opinion, many times sales will just be about churning the numbers. This is true in booking clients, selling your online course or filling up your mentoring sessions.
That's why client inquiries are so important, that's why online business owners preach about growing your email list and that's why we have to be creative with our marketing efforts to get in front of more of our ideal clients.
I know it sounds nice when we hear friends in our industry tell us most of their business comes from referrals because they have such an amazing client experience. You think if you just give one more custom gift box clients will flow to you. Someday, that may be totally true. But even the successful wedding pros are running Facebook Ads to their products & services so clearly they're still on the hunt for business. #amiright?
You run a business, not a hobby, so sales are part of the package. And girl, you're doing an incredible job doing what you love! Please don't keep it to yourself because you think you're being too "salesy." That's not even a real thing....or even a real word as we established at the beginning of this post.
Here's what I'm not saying. I'm not saying there are not proven sales processes that can help you book more clients. I'm not saying there are not books and courses about sales that can give you more confidence in your own sales process. All of these things are true.
What I AM saying is: you can read every book, take every course and listen to every sales guru. But if you don't get clarity on what is useful, honest and genuine about your business AND feel comfortable sharing those things with your clients, none of the tools above will help you. Sales is just sharing, so go share your incredible wedding business.