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The Problem Lies Between the Keyboard and the Chair

I’m a happily married man. So, when something goes wrong, it’s always my fault. That may sound like a joke, but accepting responsibility when there’s a problem, is a major step toward getting past it. Rather than trying to find blame, we try to find solutions. I’ve often said that I’d rather be happy and successful, than right. Proving to my wife, or a customer, that they’re wrong never works out well.

Self-inflicted wounds

Many of the things that aren’t working well are our fault. Or, as I like to say, the problem lies between the keyboard and the chair. My website’s homepage was loading too slowly because I uploaded an image of my new book cover—but the file was very large. That was a self-inflicted wound. The site was functioning exactly as it was designed. Reducing the image size made the page load faster. As a matter of fact, I had to accelerate the creation of my current site, because I loaded a WordPress plug-in on the prior version, and it conflicted with something else, and everything went haywire. That too, was a self-inflicted wound.

What is some of the self-inflicted that you may be doing:

On your website:

• Not thinking of the mobile experience - According to WedInsights Vol. 3 (from WeddingWire): “80% of visitors leave a mobile site due to a bad experience.” If you don’t regularly look at your own site on mobile, start doing it. Make the experience just as easy as it is on desktop.

• Putting all of your testimonials on a separate page – I’ve said this, many times, but Testimonials pages are some of the least-viewed pages on websites. Just check your Google Analytics and you’ll see. Put them on every page, especially the ones that are viewed the most.

• Not putting your calls to action everywhere, with easy ways to actually contact you – This is one of the most common, and easiest to fix, self-inflicted problems. I was reviewing the website of a wedding pro last week, and he had left his phone number completely off his site. It wasn’t even on his Contact page. He didn’t realize it, because when you proofread a site, you usually check what’s there, not what isn’t there. In every section, of every page, tell them what to do, and then make it easy to do it.

• Only saying CALL US, or BOOK US NOW – If someone has just arrived at your website, don’t expect them to want to BOOK YOU NOW. They may want to contact you. They may want to ask for more information. But, just because you want them to book you, doesn’t mean you can rush the process like that. And saying CALL US won’t get millennials, or any customer who wants to email you, to miraculously pick up the phone. Give them as many ways to contact you as possible, and then make it easy to take those actions.

In your advertising & marketing:

• Highlighting your WHAT, instead of your WHY – What you do, almost every other wedding pro in your category does. Some do it better, some worse. Some do it for higher prices than you, some for less. But, a list of what you’re going to do for a couple isn’t unique. As a matter of fact, I can probably take a list of what you do, and put it on another wedding pro’s website, and it fits what they do, too. Dig deeper to find out WHY they should hire you, and only you, and then they have to hire you if they want those results… at your price.

• Not using photos that show the result of doing business with you – If I see another empty banquet room, DJ equipment set up or limousine photo, without any people, I’m going to grow hair, just so I can pull it out. What are you selling? Venues don’t sell the fact that they can set a table. DJs don’t sell their equipment. And limo companies don’t sell cars. Show happy, smiling people, using your product or service.


In your sales process:

• Talking too much – You probably could have guessed this, as my new book is called “Shut Up and Sell More Weddings & Events.” Given the chance, no matter what you sell, your customers will tell you what they need and want. However, you have to ask them better questions, and really listen to the answers.

• Not asking for the sale – You need to be watching and listening for the buying signals, and asking for the sale, repeatedly, but as part of natural conversation. The fact that they’ve reached out to you is a buying signal (yes, even if they just ask about price). Getting to have a conversation with them, written, oral or in-person, is a buying signal. If they didn’t like what they’d already seen, read and heard, you wouldn’t be getting this chance. Asking for a better price is one of the biggest buying signals. After all, who asks for a better price on something they don’t want to buy? When they ask for a better price, whether your policy is to discount, or not, ask for the sale.

• Not following up – Most couples tell me that most of the wedding pros they reached out to rarely follow up. They may get an initial reply, but then nothing. Same thing after you’ve had a conversation with them. If you want to get the sale, you have to follow up. If you’re waiting for them to come back to you, you’re losing out on sales. We occasionally secret-shop our customers (businesses like yours) to see how you reply, how quickly you reply and whether you follow up. The results aren’t pretty.

Are these the only self-inflicted problems?

Of course not. We’re human, so we’re not perfect (despite what our mothers tells us). Realizing, and accepting that we are making these mistakes is the first step towards correcting them. Trying to find out who’s at fault doesn’t get you any closer to solving the problem at hand. First, fix the problem. Then, after the smoke clears, you can work to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. The most successful business people accept responsibility for their failures, which allows them to accept credit for their successes. Now, I’m going to go look in the mirror, and find the root of my problems!

See Alan Berg at Catersource 2018. Click here for a list of his sessions and descriptions.

Alan Berg

Alan Berg

Marketing Guru,, Kendall Park, NJ

With more than 20 years in wedding & event related sales and marketing, Alan Berg has been called "North America's Leading Expert on the Business of Weddings & Events". He's uniquely qualified to help caterers achieve success in this most important sector of the business. As a highly regarded industry expert in all aspects of marketing, his knowledge and expertise can help practically any caterer move to the next level. As the author of the popular books "If your website was an employee, would you fire it?" and “Your Attitude for Success” (both in their 2nd editions) and the mini-book “Don’t Paint The House”.

Weddings represent the...