Converting Interest into Action and Leads into Bookings  

A lot of my conversations with venues over recent weeks have focused on how challenging it’s become to secure new sales.

How seemingly keen couples (already having visited the venue) are going quiet and taking a pause on planning their wedding. Whilst October sees the start of the usual seasonal dip in enquiries, the current pull-back is undoubtedly a sign of the very specific Covid-19 times.

And, unfortunately with Lockdown 2.0 looming, this pause may mirror what we all felt earlier this year across March/April.

We need to be kind to ourselves about that but do we have to sit back and do nothing? ABSOLUTELY NOT! I say this is the time to help build up customer confidence in you and your venue to help couples feel secure and supported to plan for the future with your venue by their side.

So how do you do it?

Here’s my 4 point plan to help you along the way:

Listen Up & Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

Listening more than telling is vital to effective sales in my view, but never more so than in challenging times. When you’re showing couples around your venue you have plenty of time to build that rapport with them. Try to weave into those conversations questions on how their planning is going generally, what else they are enjoying researching at the moment, when are they seeing other venues and when are they looking to make decisions.

You can gauge reactions to those questions, and what they tell you, and make a note of their likely timescale. If they tell you they are not looking to book until the New Year then you may want to adjust your timescale on when to expect to hear from them; if they are “doing the rounds” of 9 other venues, particularly if they are planning for 2022 and 2023, then you may need to allow them the space to do that (whilst still pointing out all your fabulous features and making a commitment to keep in regular touch with them and noting it in your planning schedules for follow up).

Explain the Process

We’re all in times where a lot is out of our control, so things we are able to plan can feel extra exciting and empowering.

Do you explain what the process is going forward after a showround to start their wedding journey with you?

I recommend that during and towards the end of a showround you explain exactly what happens next in terms of paperwork and securing their date, but also in terms of the next exciting steps to planning their wedding – so perhaps when they get introduced and how to your fabulous caterers, when they receive your brilliant “recommended friends of” list; the more certainty you can build into their customer journey and process the more committed and reassured they are likely to be.

Pick Up the Phone

I hear it time and again how a phone call can be the miraculous unblocker to inaction!

You may have had a highly positive showround with a couple which has put a spring in your step and then they go silent and ignore your emails.

Have you picked up the phone instead?

Whilst it’s not always easy to reach couples, hearing an upbeat voice (or friendly voicemail message) can make all the difference, particularly in uncertain 2020. If you do have the chance of a conversation, it almost always allows you the chance to really dig and delve into what their potential objections may be.

Invariably there may be just one or two things which cause a customer to sit on the fence and not go ahead and sometimes, if they aren’t feeling the time pressure, they will just let things sit instead of tackling them. There is no harm in asking directly what they thought to the venue, are you still in the running, are there things they are unsure of what you can help with and then generally how is their planning going?

Sometimes their blocker can be coming from external sources and you may be just the person to talk things through with. Be very mindful that all sorts of things go on in people’s lives separate to their wedding plans so make some allowances for that and try not to take any silence personally; we are all processing and adapting to a lot of change and things being thrown at us in our work and personal lives. You may just get a bit more insight into that if you try the phone!

And when you are handling any “objections”, make sure you ask for ALL objections, so if they state one thing and you talk around that so that they are happy, ask what else is concerning them or preventing them from going ahead so you can tackle everything in one go and not leave with objections unanswered and unclear.

Seek to reassure

We’re in times when none of us know when the wedding plans of the majority of your couples will be possible again.

What you are in control of however, which is hugely reassuring to them, is how you have treated current couples “in the system” so to speak, already having postponed and rearranged their wedding with you. I strongly recommend you think about how you can share details of the experiences of those couples you are working so hard to look after with your new audience.

Many of us are itching to get on with planning for the future, with getting on with life, with the things that are important to us, yet understandably need the extra reassurance before committing financially. Yes some want the 100% guarantee that we can’t give, but for many they actually want to be reassured that you’ll work with them, find the very best solution available at the time, be flexible, be customer focused and be fair.

I know that the vast majority of venues have been doing exactly this time and time again, so think about ways you can proactively share this and weave this into your marketing.

Have you received lovely emails from couples caught up in the situation since March? Can you turn those comments into content for your marketing, or for your social media?

You can certainly update the testimonials on your Coco Wedding Venues listing to focus in on recent experiences; kind words and testimonials from couples during difficult times have always counted much more than in good so make sure in all of your channels that you are sensitively sharing how you have overcome difficulties with your couples and they have stuck with you.

Remember that those couples who’ve taken the time to visit you and attend a showround are very likely watching your social media very closely; that reassurance and positive experience drip fed to them over a social media series could be just the thing they need to embolden them to make the commitment and secure your venue, knowing that if adjustments are needed for their wedding that you will respect them and work with them to find the best possible solution available.

Wedding Spaces Going Places LIVE

Friday 27th November 2020

If you’ve found my recommendations helpful and you could benefit from a boost to your wedding marketing and sales strategies, then you may like to look at joining me and my guest speakers (this includes the lovely Emma Hla) at the well-regarded Wedding Spaces Going Places LIVE which is returning for the third time later this month.

This time virtually, it’s a jam-packed day of focused marketing and sales  strategies just for wedding venue teams to help you attract more enquiries, convert more sales and elevate your wedding offer, because larger weddings WILL be back and how glorious they are going to be.

You can find all the details on how your team can join Wedding Spaces Going Places LIVE at the below link.

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