“Hi there. My name is Tegan and I’m getting married on July 21st next year. Are you available and how much do you charge?”
Regardless of how those words were delivered to me, I use a sales process each and every time that follows the same guidelines. (I’d rather call it something less business like, but for now, let’s leave it at “sales process”)
The origin of the written inquiry, be it through email, Facebook message, website inquiry, text message, etc. makes no difference to my process. (unless the inquiry called me directly, which bypasses the written part as detailed below)
The three elements I require to make a sale are: a written inquiry, which leads to a phone call, which leads to a face-to-face meeting.
My goal with each written inquiry is to make a phone call.
My goal with each phone call is to book a consultation.
My goal with each consultation is to establish if they are a good fit for me, and I for them. If we (the potential wedding clients & I) agree that we all seem to fit well together, then the details are presented with how to book my services for their wedding.
The purpose of this blog post is to describe how I achieve that face time with a potential wedding couple. This is not about how to conduct the face-to-face consultation, but rather, how get yourself and potential wedding clients to that face-to-face consultation in the first place.
Many DJs struggle with the task of scheduling a meeting with a potential wedding couple, but insist that meeting in person is an essential ingredient to selling their services. If this sounds familiar, keep reading.
As you go through the following details, please keep in mind that this is not the correct way to book a meeting. This is simply how I book a meeting. This is the process I use and it won’t necessarily be yours as well. Adopt what you feel comfortable using, archive the rest for review at a later date.
Also remember that my only responsibility is to book out myself (I have no employees) and the DJ & MC services I offer sell for a reasonably high dollar figure (beginning at $4000). They are not for everyone (both in terms of service style and price).
Lastly, while most DJs do not require a consultation meeting with potential wedding clients, as DJ services in general begin to sell for more and more dollars, the frequency of face to face consultations seems to increase. This might not be your current practise (it is a lot of work), but as your services move to higher and higher dollar figures, this may become a necessary part of your process.
There are a variety of ways to respond to inquiries and a lot of DJs are fine with simply messaging or emailing back and forth in order to book a meeting. I’ve taken on the idea that if someone decides they don’t want to speak with me on the phone, they are not likely a couple that I will absolutely love working with.
I also find that through the power of the human voice, I have better odds of connecting with people before meeting them than I might through email or messages (we are live entertainers, full of great personality, aren’t we?). Generally speaking, phone calls also save me and the person I am communicating with a bit of time.
With each written inquiry received I will do one of two things. If a phone number has been provided, I’ll skip to the next step and call them directly, without replying in any other way.
If no phone number was provided, I will reply via the medium they’ve inquired through (email, Facebook, text message, etc) with one very short and simple email:
What is your phone number and when would be the best time for me to call you?
Thanks, chat soon! 🙂
The brevity of my reply and lack of given choices of action has provided me with a stunningly high percentage of favourable responses (well over 90% if I had to guess; seldom don’t I receive a reply). While I won’t claim to have all of the explanations for that success, the fact that it is so brief and asks just one, very simple, easy to answer question, probably contributes to the results I’ve experienced.
I have also omitted a few common lines from my reply on purpose. Things such as “thank you for your inquiry” and “congratulations on your upcoming wedding” are sentences that have been purposefully omitted. My reason for doing this is because I do not believe they provide a lot of value to the recipient in email form.
I strongly believe in offering thanks and congratulations to all newly engaged couples who reach out to me, but would rather have the tone, authenticity and sincerity in my voice go along with those words. I believe that any goodwill I might receive from delivering this with my voice will be more useful when I ask for the face-to-face meeting. Therefore, I have chosen to reserve the honour of communicating thanks and congratulations through the authenticity of my voice in a phone call. (the next step)
Lastly, I’ve used two exclamation points, a casual closing sentence, and the ubiquitous punctuation used for communicating a smiling face. Each of those elements is designed to communicate small parts of my personality and to let them know that they’re not dealing with a person who takes himself to seriously. Before you think of using this exact approach, I would first suggest asking if this reflects your true personality.
The phone call I have with a prospective bride or groom has one primary purpose: to build some trust and authentic connection in just a few short minutes in order to book a face-to-face consultation.
One of the most important parts of this phone call is to be fully in charge of the context and direction of conversation. If you lose control of the conversation, you will not be given the chance to properly convey what your services are all about and there is a chance that the potential client won’t be given all of the information they need to fully understand their request of you. When this happens, it is nearly 100% of the time the salesperson’s fault.
I don’t mean to tell you that I adopt a “sales pitch” frame of mind, but instead, it is for another, even more important reason. I have come to realize that I am the one and only conduit through which a potential client can learn as much as possible about me and my services. Having taken ownership over that idea, if a potential client makes a final decision before being given all of the information about the services I provide, they may have been delivered a dis-service. THAT, is on me. Therefore, take control of the phone conversation, or the person who you’re speaking with might run it and unknowingly, shortcut their way through learning what they should be from you.
Before I give you a quick summary of the conversation I might have during this phone call, please allow me to state the following strongly worded statement: If you don’t genuinely want to know the answers to the following talking points, stop reading this blog post now. In fact, send the couple my phone number and I’ll provide them with the experience they deserve. (strongly worded enough?!)
If you’re simply going to use the following suggestions because “Dave said so.” then you’re not following the intended purpose of genuinely wanting to get to know the individual and couple you’re (maybe) about to meet. People’s bullshit meter runs a mile a minute these days and if you’re not real, there is zero chance you’ll get (or even deserve) an face-to-face meeting with them. Now onto that conversation…
Everyone’s approach is different, but I’ll often begin with discussing something simple about the day of the week, what they are doing that day, the weather, etc. (true story, don’t laugh!) Then I’ll often mention that I heard a rumour that they were getting married (obviously). After they humorously confirm this “rumour” I’ll offer a sincere and authentic congratulations. We’ll then speak about when the engagement took place, how long they’ve been together, and I’ll ask them other questions and make other comments based on what’s been shared with me. I’ll briefly ask them about what keeps them busy during the daytime (i.e. their jobs) and I will ask how they heard about me (if they told me in their initial inquiry, I’ll simply have them elaborate on that).
This conversation is extremely organic, often going in a variety of directions from one phone call to another based on the responses I get to my own inquiries of them. After maybe 6 – 10 minutes (seldom more then 10) and after confirming with them that I am available for their date, I will tell them that in order to fully continue the conversation about my services, we will get together face-to-face for a visit. I always share with them that my policy is not to accept wedding bookings from couples that I haven’t met with in-person (this is the honest truth and is a policy I do not waver from).
With a massive smile on my face, I’ll then continue by saying that the reason for this policy is because not only do they need to discover if they’re going to like me…but I also need to confirm that I am going to like them. (gasp!) With a small chuckle, I’ll then segue to a serious tone by saying that I am looking for wedding couples who are willing to collaborate with me on the details for their wedding and put some effort into creating everything that is going to happen. And, in order to ensure I continue to love my job, I want to make sure that we’re all going to get along well together because we are going to be spending a lot of time together ahead of the wedding.
(Sometimes… I will quickly tell them about a situation a few years ago where I was hired by a wedding couple where money was no concern and because Dave Ternier was simply “the guy to have”. It was a miserable experience for me because there was zero collaboration from the couple and I swore that would never happen again!)
I use a lighthearted, but firm, delivery for this part. If delivered incorrectly, I will come off as a pompous prick who isn’t deserving of anyone’s time. But, delivered with lighthearted confidence, based on the authentic caring and connection I created in the first part of the call, this puts me into a position very few DJs find themselves in. I have implied that I don’t necessarily need their business, but that if they meet certain benchmarks I’ve set out, they will be given the opportunity to work with me. This is a very powerful position to be in.
If you decided to adopt something similar to this specific part of the conversation, I am going to remind you of this: If you deliver this incorrectly, you are done. Finished. Period. End of story. The moment this adopts a “sales pitch” tone or an overconfident I’m-too-good-for-you feel, you might as well hang up the phone. Tread with this idea carefully.
The last part of the phone call involves me suggesting a couple of times we can meet. If you were wondering why I brought up the question of their jobs earlier, it was, in part, because of this question. I will suggest a couple of meeting times for when I know they’re likely not working (or in school) because I will have already looked at my calendar during the call since asking them the work question.
(video chat, using a professional subscription to Zoom software, is used when travel for a meeting between myself and the wedding couple is not feasible).
There you have it. That is how I book a consultation, face time, with a potential wedding couple.
Very few inquires I receive don’t go through with a face-to-face meeting. If I had to guess (because I don’t keep careful track of this type of data), 95% of the time I meet face to face with the wedding couple inquiring about my services.
Factors such as my local area reputation, the source of the inquiry or referral, and many other variables can factor into this result, but even inquiries that are the source of a random Google search often lead to a meeting with me.
Sometimes I am asked about price (which I do not typically share ahead of the consultation) to which I respond that I will share that information when we meet, after I’ve explained what they might actually receive for it. If they ask a second time, I am always respectful and provide them my starting price.
An inquiry —> A phone call —> A face-to-face consultation
Through the tone in my voice, the sincerity of my questions, and the authenticity with how I conduct myself on that phone call, the person I am speaking with understands that I truly care about the people I work with and that I truly care about my work. As a result, when I request the meeting, they nearly always say yes!
For more on my sales process, see How Do You Say How Much? and also consider attending an upcoming sales workshop with Mitch Taylor (occasionally co-hosted with Vickie Musni) or purchasing some of Mitch’s sales materials (through which I’ve learned the majority of my sales skills).