Flashback Friday: Managing Prospects
Today, I’m going to give nod to an archived Blog Post that I’m pretty sure nobody read the first time.
I’ve always received fairly positive feedback on my musings- and have enjoyed seeing the following continue to grow. But this post, one on the not so popular topic of Managing your Inquiries received barely a peep, nor a tweet. No Facebook love for that matter either.
But gosh darn it, managing your inquiries is important- I drill it into each and everyone of my client’s heads. After all- capturing your ROI is as important as implementing the Marketing and PR strategies themselves.
So here it is- consider it my proverbial old college try for the week. As always, feel free to share your comments below.
Back in the day, I averaged a thousand inquiries a year at a local non profit foundation. That’s a thousand brides, mother of the brides and yes, the occasional groom.
As we ran through potential dates, color schemes and caterers, there was one valuable lesson that I learned- do not get off the phone until you ask a bride where they heard about you.
Since managing inquiries was just a small part of the job, it was important to make the most of the time spent on the phone or by email. And as with most non profits, we simply did not have the money to throw around at advertising and marketing so it was important to quantify the results of our efforts.
With a click of a button, I could tell you how many brides heard of us through print publication, word of mouth and vendor referrals. I know how many lived in the city of Richmond and how many were out of town. If a bride heard about us from a bridal show, I knew about it. If a mother of the bride heard about us through one of our Preferred vendors, I made sure to thank them.
Was it a lot of effort? Not really.
Was it easier for me since I was fresh out of school and knew no other way? Most definitely.
Managing your prospects in a more effective manner takes relatively little effort once you have a plan in place. The important thing, however, is getting your strategies aligned with your day to day operations.
Here are three tips to get you started:
1) Questions- ask them. And more importantly, plan for them. Have a script for when prospects call, so you know you cover all your bases with them.
2) Excel- embrace it. Most people today have Excel on their computer and if they don’t, it’s a relatively minor cost in the grand cheme of things. Spend some time learning Excel- there is so much more to it than simply adding in the data. Excel allows you to filter information and create drop down options for commonly used words. Tired of filling in everything horizontally? Yep, they can offer different options for that too. If you don’t have the time, have someone train you (minor OFD plug) and create a database that fits your needs.
3) Leads- track their progress and be honest with yourself. If the bride contacts you on Monday, how long is it really until you reach out to them? How long until your second point of contact?
3.5) Lose a bride? Note them. Don’t be afraid to ask them who they selected. How will you ever know who your true competitors are if you simply guess and make assumptions?
Day in and day out, I speak with wedding professionals who take the initiative with their marketing efforts, but then don’t follow up. I liken it to the occasional, sometimes pricey, items I like to buy for cooking. Did I desperately need the Shun 8″ chef’s knife? Well, I wasn’t toos ure– that is, until I could list 10 fantastic dishes I could not have made without my new culinary best friend. Ultimately, we all need a little justification in our purchases- whether it be a full color spread in a local bride magazine, or that immersion blender with a zillion attachments.
Now more than ever, it’s essential to track where you get your leads. In the end, how else will you know if your efforts are paying off?
Until next time,
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding pr firm OFD Consulting. She is the exclusive wedding pr columnist to wedding marketing journal WedLock magazine and is a highly sought after speaker in the wedding industry. She loves ruffle table runners and Royal Wedding Tchotchkes. To learn how OFD Consulting can assist you with your wedding marketing and wedding pr, please contact us today.