Let’s get your inquiry strategy squared away once and for all! In this episode, we break down our inquiry processes, what works and what doesn’t work in an inquiry form, the dreaded “phone call dilemma” and how lead personalities should affect your next move. Plus, we unpack THE BIG EMAIL with every single point you’ll need to serve up those fresh, hot leads and get ’em booked and in the door. Buckle up, y’all, this a good one!
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Don’t make your inquiry process rigid — Be sure to adapt to the needs of your clients and biz
I’m going to give a disclaimer, we are all different, and our clients are all very different, too. So you’re gonna want to be able to adapt your process, I feel like that is huge. And just remember this as we go through that there’s a super effective approach all this is to not just treat others how you want to be treated, but treat them how they want to be treated. So like coming up with what’s most comfortable for your client, or your lead, how do they best communicate, this is incredibly effective in the sales and inquiry experience, because that’s very important in order to actually get them to follow through and book. So we’ll kind of unpack all this as we go along. But I just want you to keep that in mind that you don’t do it the same every single time. You don’t do it the same as us every single time or at all even. So just keep that in mind.
Yeah, I would say that every lead I deal with ends up communicating like completely different. Like it’s true. Like everyone gets a slightly different version of the process depending on like, how I follow up or how I send them the questionnaire or the proposal form, like things have variables like I can tweak things within my process. And part of that is because it’s not all strictly automated. You know, I’m like manually going in and tweaking things, and it’s very personal.
But I like what you have written here, Cami . It’s important to talk about what is the actual goal of your inquiry process, because everything needs to point towards that. Yeah, exactly. Like, if you’re a goal, like Elizabeth, she really wants to get them on the phone. And so her goal of her inquiry process is to get everything pointed towards that phone call, because she knows that is how she can best make the booking the sale. Like my goal is to get them booked ASAP. Because I don’t want to do a phone call. I just want to get to the point. And so mine is all about like going through moving them through the process as quick as possible, with as few questions as possible.
Like maybe your goal is you want them to tell you as much detail as possible. So you can give them a really, really accurate quote and not beat around the bush kind of thing. So your inquiry process needs to just really reflect that goal. Obviously the end goal is to get them to book eventually but what is your like, initial goal of the inquiry process like what’s going to work best for you and your business? As well as for the lead. Yep, exactly. Because I would say like most of the people I have booked in the past, I have spoken to on the phone at some point before they pay the deposit and sign the contract. But there have been, there might have been a couple as well that did it. Just because they either didn’t have time, or that just like wasn’t something they were interested in. Like they felt comfortable not doing that. Part of the reason I want to get them on the phone is because like that’s where I’m more comfortable. Because I can get them to know me on a little more of a personal level.
Our Inquiry Processes
The lead fills out the form on my website, Elisabeth and I both use Dubsado for this which makes things super easy.
Our inquiry forms are also slightly different. A wedding date is a must have for me. An estimated number of invitations is a must have for me since I’m sending a proposal immediately. So I just need some kind of count. And then just what they’ll need like the basics. You know, if they’re not sure yet, I have a little like list where they can check off I need to save the day, I need an invitation, I need an enclosure card. And this is because I like to have some sort of baseline to work with so I can gauge their budget and their needs. I like having this in one initial form so I can go ahead and send them pricing options immediately, this might not be the best fit for you again. But if they want something like oil printing as an upgrade, I’ll just do that as a line item. So we can easily remove that. So I’m not going back and forth a million times.
And then also a must on my inquiry form is a free form textbox, where they can write whatever they want, where it’s like, tell me more about your wedding invitation vision or something like that. Because this will tell you a ton about your potential client. And I’m going to talk more about this when we talk about personality types for clients. But having that free form textbox is almost as good as just sending an email out of the blue, you can learn a lot from that. But things I don’t worry about, like details about design style, that’s really not important to me and an inquiry form.
Yeah, exactly. Because you don’t need to be talking about that stuff yet. Otherwise, you’re basically giving away work for free. And this is something a little bit later because we got a great question from somebody of like, how do you book someone without like giving away too much. And that’s kind of like a fine line to ride because, like, you’re right, you don’t want to be providing all of these, like, design style details or ideas or things before you have a payment from somebody. But that also requires a certain amount of trust on the client’s part too and that’s why it’s so freakin hard.
Why Elisabeth Likes to get on a call ASAP
To set budget expectations
I was gonna say I’m super proud of like my inquiry form now because there are like 8 questions and that’s it. And you’re not, you don’t have like checkboxes or anything where you’re like, What do you need? You just are like, nope, so date? Oh, yeah, so I used to do that, to get a bunch of things up front. But the problem was that, like, people would check off everything sometimes. Or sometimes they would put like the very lowest budget and check off everything. So that requires a whole discussion in itself to be like, hey, you chose this budget, but you checked off everything, which is going to be more in this range.
So what I like to do is actually, I fill out that original form the really long one I used to have on my website on their behalf once I get them on the phone. So I like that form to their portal and dubsado because like what happens is when they submit those original eight questions on my website, they get an automatic email from dubsado. That’s like, thank you so much. I’m so excited to talk to you about your wedding day on XYZ. Like I use the little cute dubsado like tag thing that like auto fills our wedding date. Like please click here to like set up your free 30 minute consultation with me. Like this is how I get to know you better blah, blah blah. I can make it all cute and friendly. And then once we get on the phone call, I’m like okay, I have more questions for you because these are the details. I need to Create a free proposal and quote, so by the time they receive a quote for me and a proposal, we’ve already spoken on the phone. So I’m hoping there’s already a little bit of level of trust there. And when we’re speaking on the phone, if they are saying things of like, I want handmade paper and with foil printing, but their budget is like nothing, I can try to like reset their expectations, then in there to be like, Well, I do want to let you know, like this and that like, and so I find that the 30 minutes I spent on the phone call can often save me like a lot of wasted time down the road, like creating like a proposal that they like, see, and they immediately balk. And they’re like, Nope, I can’t afford this, or I don’t want to pay this. And instead, it opens up more of a dialogue of like, hey, we’ve already talked on the phone. And it’s like, Okay, if you want to hop on again, so we can talk about how we can like, change the proposal or remove some things to bring it down into your budget. Or, you know, just to like, even add some things, sometimes they want to tweak things. So this is what I’m starting to really try to move forward with. But the problem is that, like, sometimes people are like a little dumb, I feel like maybe dumb is like hard. It is hard, I will say because it creates that extra step right of they fill out the initial inquiry form, then they get that canned email from me. And then they have to schedule a phone call. So you’re asking them to take two steps, instead of taking one big stuff like you asked me, and then creating something and sending it back to them immediately.
To close the sale
So I mean, that’s just like a huge personal preference thing, I find that I sell better and like relate better when I can talk to someone on the phone. Because like, hopefully they can like hear some of that value.
THE BIG EMAIL
So my second point of contact is what I call like, my big email, like, this is like the crux of everything for me. Um, so basically, this email has a lot going on in it, even though it’s pretty short and sweet. And seems like pretty, I don’t know, like, pretty chill going to the client, but there’s a lot in it.
So, I say Hey, I love your ideas and vision, I hear you on this struggle, here’s why I’m the best fit, selling my value and how we’ll make it work. Here’s a proposal, an invitation to chat more on the phone, and then usually they don’t want to chat on the phone.
So here’s what’s crucial. And this email and what I think you should have in your initial follow up to an inquiry. So you want to keep things short and sweet, personalized, and professional and casual at the same time. Like you don’t want to sound super stiff and like, I don’t know, just super and intimidating, almost. I like to sound casual. Like I’m their friend. It’s gonna be a fun process. So I just, I don’t know, I just keep it kind of light. I make sure I answer any questions that they asked in the inquiry form or any other emails they sent. So always get those questions answered in there. And then I like to connect on something and the inquiry like maybe their proposal happened while they were snowboarding just like minded or we have the same wedding day or something. So I always just try to like, connect on something with them. And I do talk about that like even though this email is technically a canned email, it is very personalized. And I would say like you probably wouldn’t be able to tell except for like the basic basic things that it’s a canned email, you know, if you looked at two different clients, they’re very different.
And I also include an empathy statement in there, like, I totally get how overwhelming Paper Paper can be for your wedding, like, here’s how I can help something in there that just like says you get them. And then, since I’m giving pricing right away, which is, you know, sometimes considered a no no with going through the inquiry process, but I’m providing pricing right away. So I like to provide something to back it up. For example, I’ll say like, this investment includes all of your custom artwork, so you’re not going to be charged extra for additional painting something that they’re like, Oh, this feels this is cool. Or like, I include White Glove service. So no stuffing, stamping or mailing for you. Basically, you’re kind of trying to play up on their struggle points and how you’re going to take care of it. And like, what you’re selling your value with those small sentences, you don’t have to like go into an essay about like, why they should book with you, you know, just a small sentences that just kind of sneak things in. And then I also tell them, what they will get and not necessarily what I offer. For example, if you’re a wedding photographer, you would say, like, instead of saying, I provide eight hours of coverage, you would say, you’ll have me there taking photos from getting ready till the end of the night. And then after all this, I have a proposal there, they can look at the pricing. And then I have an invitation for a phone call. And I also just include my phone number. And I’m like, and I tell them and feel free to just give me a call anytime after you’re looking at with ozel like I don’t have them where they pick it or time because typically hasn’t worked well for me, but they also never call me so.
But I leave the invitation open.
Um, but yeah, so that’s like what my big email is all about. There’s a lot going on with it. But once I get to this stage, it’s usually around a 50% booking rate from that email.