How To Close The Sale and Get More Photo Booth Bookings
The photo booth hire industry has grown rapidly into a very competitive market these days and it has become more important than ever to be able to convert sales. Gone are the days of simply setting your price and waiting for the bookings to roll in. Now you have got to be able to convert leads and referrals into sales. Regardless of the type of photo booth or service you offer you and any other front line staff need to know how to close the sale if you want your business to thrive.
Before becoming a boother I spent nearly 15 years in retail, first selling mobile phones and then world holidays I was taught and witnessed a number of sales techniques. Not all of them I was happy with using nor is there one definitive sales style that is right for everyone. I know for a lot of people they don't like to sell but perhaps that is where we need to change the misconception about how selling actually works or better still stop referring to it as selling as the negative connotations many people relate to the concept are actually counter productive. A better way I personally like to define the role in question is to call it "Enabling".
As an "Enabler" rather than a "salesperson" you aren't trying to sell someone something they possibly don't need but you are simply the conduit through which information and good vibes flow in a professional and friendly manner to interested people in order to "enable" them to purchase something they do want from you.
8 Steps To "Enable" You Clients To Hire Your Photo Booths
The below steps will not be much help if you're not already attracting the correct target market to generate the leads in the first place. Read more about How To Reach Your Target Market.
STEP 1. Respond Promptly to Enquiries
When you get enquiries whether it be by phone, email, online through directories (like Photobooth Finder), social media (Facebook etc) or in person make sure you respond promptly. In this digital age where everyone and everything is connected you can not afford to leave potential clients waiting cause you can bet they have enquired with your competitors. Also you have to have systems in place for the times you can't answer immediately. The only thing more frustrating than not being able to speak to someone when you as a potential client calls a business it's not being able to leave a message to get them to call you back.
- Have an answer system to take phone/mobile messages and endeavour to respond back to them within 2 hrs (during work hours).
- Your answer message should set up the expectation for the client so make it clear if you don't take calls after hours then say so in your message but that you will return any message the next business day.
- Have an auto responder for Social Media and Email
- Change your message or auto responders when you're away on holidays and make it clear when you will next be reachable and able to return any messages
STEP 2. Qualify and Build Rapport
When a new enquiry first makes contact with you they are doing so because they want to know something, generally they are after a quote or have a question. Be sure to give them the information they require but also show initiative by asking questions and preempting other things which would be helpful for them to know.
You also want to qualify them well before you start talking pricing to ensure what they have enquired about is actually what they really want. It might sound silly but from my experience there is a disparity between what people think they want (and ask for) and what they actually need. For instance someone may enquire about your 3hr Enclosed Booth package. In asking lots of questions like "When does the party start/finish?" "Where are you planning on putting the booth" "Do you want the booth working before and after the formalities" etc you might both "discover" that the client really needs a 5hr package of an open booth because they want the booth set up well beforehand and not removed till afterwards and the place they were planning is not suitable for an enclosed booth due to space restrictions. As you can see by qualifying them you ensure you give them the right information/service and quote and it's also a great way to build trust and rapport whilst showing genuine interest in them and their event.
During this process regardless of the communication medium the trick here is to get them to respond and to build rapport. People are far more likely to book with someone they have a rapport with who they feel are genuinely interested in helping and looking after them. The easiest way to do this is in person and over the phone so where you can try and at least speak to people. If email or other digital means are the only way then try and use a conversational tone and open questions to get them to respond and build that rapport.
If you are talking to them on the phone or in person this is also a great time to ask the question "If I can offer you a great booth package at a price you're happy with would you book today?" This is a great way of leading into step 3 but also for you to help enable them to buy from you.
STEP 3. Create A Sense Of Urgency
Humans are such indecisive creatures even when we know we want/need something we dont want to rush into things so left to our own devices we naturally sit back until something kicks us into gear! Don't let your potential clients fall into this basket, instead offer them an incentive to book with you now. How many of you have found yourselves purchasing sooner than you though to take advantage of a special offer? We just cant help ourselves because no one likes to miss out on a good deal! So with regards to photo booths this is where a special offer eg book by the end of the week and receive a free props box" or "Book today and get an extra hour free!" can be great ways to convert an enquiry into a quick sale as many people tend to respond to urgency.
Where possible tailor the deal for each client based on what information you know about them. For instance no point offering a props box if they have mentioned they're having a Themed event. If the person enquiring isn't having their event for ages then offer an Advanced Booking Special, if it's for a corporate event offer a free logo on the photostrips etc.
What you also want to try and do is value add rather than simply discount. Discounting just means less for you and just resets the clients perception about what your services are worth and opens the door to further discounting if they tell their friends. If you value add you ensure their perception of your value increases and you maintain a better profit margin and any referrals wont be expecting a discount too so it's really win-win.
STEP 4. Ask For The Booking
This is an absolute must and something I know many boothers (and business people in general) are bad at! Do not give out information or quotes without asking for the booking. It need not be pushy in fact pushy rarely works but you absolutely have to ask the question 'Would you like to me to hold your date for you?". If you have qualified them well and built a good rapport chances are they will say yes in which case give yourself a pat on the back great job! The worst than can happen is they say no or some form thereof. If they do say no then look at it as an opportunity to ask another question or two and re-qualify them.
STEP 5. Requalify
When you get a no or a "let me think about it/discuss with my wife" etc this is a great opportunity to re-qualify and ask why not? Don't be afraid to get to the bottom of the road block. Remember your role here is to enable them to make a great choice so if they are saying no what they are really telling you is that you haven't enabled them to buy from you 'yet"! So find out where the issue is by asking lots of questions. "Are you not happy with the price?" "Would you book if I sweetened the deal?" etc
STEP 6. Ask For The Booking Again
Once you have re-qualified again and have gotten to the bottom of the road block you should be asking for the booking again. If you do not feel you have understood or are able to resolve their roadblock eg "they need to talk to their partner" then do not ask for the booking but rather set up the expectation that you are going to follow them up at a certain time.
Setting an expectation for a follow up is a must especially for digital forms of communication so after you have asked a bunch of open questions to their initial enquiry be sure you put something like "I look forward to hearing more about your event so I can better help you. If I don't hear from you prior Ill give you a call tomorrow to discuss". This is a great way to get them to reply to your questions or if they don't sets up the expectation they can expect a call from you.
STEP 7. Follow Up
You are never going to convert every booking during the first contact for a variety or reasons but it's imperative you follow up every lead and not just once. Think yourself how many times you have seen a product or service before you actually went ahead and bought something. Often the business you ended up buying from isn't the first one you contacted even if they were great to deal with cause you probably forgot about them. In fact it's often the business that just happens to be in front of you at the right time! So the trick here is to make sure you are front of mind for these people to give yourself the best chance at being there at the right time.
I recommend where possible the following follow up schedule but of course adapt it as you see fit for each client relevant to their event date but always set the expectation for your clients with each subsequent follow up. Obviously if you get a hard no from someone then discontinue.
- First follow up within 24 hours of giving out a quote ideally by phone.
- Second follow up within 72 hours
- Third follow up within 7 days
- Fourth follow up within 1 month
- Fifth follow up with 3 months
- Sixth follow up within 6 months
- Seventh within 1 year
These need not be the same email sent every time. In fact where possible try and send them something of value as part of the follow up like a "Wedding Checklist" with some nice wording like "I know you're still planning your big day and thought this might come in handy to help you" or it could be "We are running a brand new special and thought of you as I know you're not sure if a booth will fit into your budget, perhaps this helps?"
As an "Enabler" you are armed with the knowledge that you are helping people get what they want and not being a stereotypical salesman trying to sell the latest useless fad your clients don't need let alone want. Put the steps into action and add your own flavour to them but most of all remember you are bringing the fun to their event so enable the hell out of your enquiries!
Disclaimer: While every caution has been taken to provide readers with most accurate information and honest analysis, please use your discretion before taking any decisions based on the information in this blog. Author will not compensate you in any way whatsoever if you ever happen to suffer a loss/inconvenience/damage because of/while making use of information in this blog.
(Photo Booth Blogger: Justin Jowett)
(Image Credit: Joe The Goat Farmer via Flickr)