Hey! So you got an email inquiry about your services! Congratulations! Now, how do respond so that you make sure you’ll get hired? Should you wait 24 hours before you respond so it makes it look you’re really busy with other clients? What do you say? How do you say it?
FREAKY FAST RESPONSE
Look, we all want to be successful to the point where we can be exclusive when it comes to our clients. But the fact is, you’re reading this article because you need help booking MORE clients, not figuring out how to turn clients away. We live in a fast-paced, instantly gratified, all manners of info at our fingertips, type of society. Imagine wanting to purchase a shirt, you walk up to the counter and no one is there. So you wait a minute, or maybe even a few minutes but only if you think that shirt is worth it. Your business is the same way. Don’t let your clients way too long before they hear from you! Did you know that the odds of responding to an inquiry drop by a staggering 400% if you wait 10 minutes to respond vs 5 minutes? Additional research also showed that 50% of people will purchase from the person who responds first.
Now I’m not talking about being completely glued to your phone 24/7. But somehow, find ways to automate your responses so at least they hear from you right away. Even a simple message like “Thank you so much for reaching out! You’ll definitely hear from me within the next 12 hours. In the meantime, check out my portfolio and pricing guide…” Simple but effective.
KINDNESS & EXCITEMENT
I know that this should go without saying but kindness and excitement really goes a long way. I’ve contacted people about their services before and rather than feeling like a potential blessing to their business, I walk away feeling more of a burden they don’t want. I actually have felt like I’ve intruded on their busy schedules! Why would I ever want to work with you if that is how I feel!? Be sure that in every response and contact, push yourself to be overly kind and even excited about the client! Many people reach out to hire a service because they want something to be done well, because they care about it, and because they cannot do it themselves. You may be the hero in their story but if you make THEM the hero, they will feel better and respond positively. Which leads me to my next point.
MAKE THEM THE HERO
In business, we are often trying to convince our clients how we can come and save the day with our products and services. However, I would challenge you to rethink your business strategy and instead, make your client the hero. For example, let’s take my calligraphy signage services. Someone reaches out to me because they want a special custom wooden sign for their mother’s 50th birthday but they’re not sure who to hire for their service yet. Here are two ways that we can go about this:
If I am the hero: “Oh yes! I can absolutely do that for you! I make signs of all shapes, colors, and sizes and people have absolutely loved booking through me. Here are pictures and reviews of my past work. Let me know!”
If they are the hero: “Wow! That’s a huge milestone and I’m sure your mom is going to be thrilled that you want to do something so special and custom just for her. She’s going to love having something unique from her daughter! Do you already have something in mind? If not, we can talk about her favorite colors and style? Maybe what themes exist in her home? Then I can help you create something I know that she will treasure.”
The difference is ever so slight. We should try to help our clients feel like the hero and that we are just there to help resource them so they can come out on top in their storyline. You can read more about this particular strategy and how to connect with your customers at a whole new level by reading through this book by Donald Miller called Storybrand.
Before any type of phone call or face to face meeting, I always create a personalize questionnaire that includes my clients’ name, phone number and any details that I already know. This helps guide my conversation, keeps me on task, and makes me look like I have already put in a lot of effort with no obligation! This is just an easy way for people to feel like they are already being served and that makes them want to continue with your service. Questions would vary depending on your services of course. But here are some examples:
Calligraphy Signage: Size? Color? What room will it be in? What colors are in that room? Is there good lighting? Is there are particular layout or font you’d like? Do you want the author’s name on the sign?
Wedding Coordinator: Time, place location? Vendors? Times of arrival? Event day schedule and timeline? Music? Who will set up/tear down? What car will the gifts be put into? Payment? Marriage license?
You basically want to walk through what it would take for you to complete your services with the client and write down every question that you can think of. This will also help you next time you have a similar client so you don’t reinvent the wheel. Questions help make it seem like you’re not just talking AT them, but also engaging them in the process!
CLOSE THE DEAL
I always feel like this is the hardest and most awkward part of the entire process. Sign and pay. But it doesn’t have to be awkward or hard! After you’ve walked them through what it could all look like, the closing of a deal is more of a “great, how much do I owe you” rather than a “how much is this going to cost me?” I have 2 philosophies when it comes to the closing of the deal.
Product vs Service
If you’re selling a particular product, whether it’s customized or not, I would encourage you to try and close the deal right away. After you’ve conveyed the solution (not the product) to the potential buyer, you don’t want there to be too much time for them to think about why they wouldn’t need it! Some helpful phrases to help you:
It looks like this will work out great! When do you need this by?
It already seems like this is something you can’t live without!
This is really going to help elevate the look you’re going for! Whats the best way to get this to you?
Are you ready to take this home with you today then?
Can I help you bag that up?
If it’s a service you’re selling, there may have to be some more negotiations and details required before a final price can be determined. With a service, I always have an agreement for them to sign and I require a 50% deposit before I start any work. There are some helpful phrases that I like to use before I hand them the agreement:
Unless you have anymore questions or concerns, I think we’re ready to get started!
So let’s talk about pricing.
Tell me your thoughts!
So next steps would be…
Usually, with services, I allow the customer to take time to go home with the agreement to think and talk it over. I immediately follow up with an email/text to thank them for the meeting time and to remind them of next steps. I get positive responses this way and so far, all of my clients have said yes!
What are some of your ideas on how to book more clients?