Engagement Gold Rush: How to Set Your Wedding Business Up for Success
While now can be considered the best time of year to book leads and grow your wedding business, it can also be the busiest time of year. If you’re located in warmer climates like I am, you likely have to balance engagement season with peak wedding season as well.
Balancing all of the facets of a wedding business can seem overwhelming without the proper systems in place. Let’s walk through a few ways you can get organized once and for all and set yourself up for success.
Develop a cohesive client experience
When a new prospect reaches out to you, what happens next? Your client experience starts from the very first outreach and, if you only have an email that says you’ll get in contact with them eventually, you are sorely missing out. After all, this new client workflow is just as important as having a CRM platform.
Having an auto-responder that says you’re busy right now and will get back to them is not going to make any prospect feel valued. If your response is too generic, you might as well not send anything at all. Although you may not be able to respond right away, an automated response needs to come across as personable as possible. Infuse it with some personality and don’t be afraid to update it based on what you’re busy with. Seeing that you’re putting your expertise to good use will speak more to a prospect than just simply saying “I’m busy and will get back to you as soon as possible.”
From there, be sure to have a system in place that funnels leads back into your inbox so they don’t fall through the cracks. Boomerang and Streak are both useful Gmail add-ons that allow you to set an email to pop back up at a designated time. Then, make an appointment with yourself to prospect. I schedule blocks in my calendar that are solely for responding to leads and reaching out to set up consultations. The stronger your client experience, the faster you will close more sales.
Simplify as much as possible
There are so many little things here and there that take up both time and brainpower, yet we don’t even realize that we could simplify those processes. Take a moment during your off-season or some weekend downtime to set yourself up for success. Revisit where you were last year and look for ways that you can simplify even the smallest things.
For example, I have a folder on my phone with an app that links to the Arizona DOT site so I can easily look up road closures and get to my destination as quickly as possible. Sure, I could just navigate to the website, but having it bookmarked is one less step I have to take. Likewise, I have DarkSky saved in that folder as well. It’s a weather app that can tell you the forecast down to the minute and can make all the difference in grabbing your raincoat on the way out or avoiding that street that always floods.
Small business owners seek time-saving techniques in order to find balance. It’s all about streamlining the little things so you can dedicate more time and capacity to the things that really matter for your business. Ask yourself what does and doesn’t work. It’s so easy to finish an event, take a deep breath and then dive right into the next one. If that’s your usual process, take a moment to perform a health checkup on your business. How can you save your sanity? Investing time into these automated and streamlined processes will save you more time in the long run.
Take advantage of technology
Technology is your friend! There are so many apps and programs that are available to us today. It would be a shame not to take advantage of things that can make all the difference in our day-to-day business. For example, I love using Calendly to schedule appointments with prospects. It’s a simple app, but it saves me the headache of the back-and-forth emails trying to nail down a time that works.
Keep your phone as streamlined as possible, too. After all, it’s the one thing that is always with us. Save pre-drafted email responses in your notes so you can quickly grab it and customize before sending out to a client while you’re on the go. That way, you don’t have to wait until you get home to flesh out an email you’ve likely already written before.
One of my favorite strategies for an efficient phone is using text replacement to create my own keyboard shortcuts. For example, I’ll save a bunch of hashtags that I use for a certain type of social post and call it ‘marketing #’ – then, all I have to do is type that in and my phone automatically populates all of those hashtags.
Always keep an eye out for things that can help you to overcome your business challenges. Read publications like AllSeated and BizBash to stay up to date on the latest trends in productivity and technology. The more you know, the better equipped you will be for the year ahead.
Katie Easley is the owner of Kate Ryan Design, a luxury floral and event design studio based in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is also a top sales consultant in the wedding industry, specializing in prospecting and client experience.