Over the past three years, I’ve spent more than 1,000 hours on 1:1 calls with clients.
You want to know what topic I spend most of my time talking about?
Booking more clients at higher prices.
Just this week, I’ve done half a dozen calls with clients who came to me wondering what’s not working.
Is it the pricing?
Is it the packages?
Is it the proposal?
Is it the website?
Is it the contact form?
Is it the discovery call?
Is it the email correspondence?
Is it something else?
Is it all of these things?
As the salesperson for your business, you have to get a lot of yeses if you want to earn enough money to support your company.
And it’s not just the big “yes” at the end of the buyer’s journey. A signature and a deposit are the ultimate affirmations of your success in the sales process.
Get micro-commitments first
But along the way, you have to get dozens of miniature “yeses” along the way.
Yes, I’m interested enough in what I saw on the website to go to the contact page.
Yes, I’m excited to fill out the form.
Yes, I can answer this first question.
Yes, I can answer this second question.
Yes, I’m willing to answer this third question.
Yes, I’m sure I want to send in this form and start the conversation.
However, if at any time you propose a next step they’re unwilling to take, the buyer’s journey ends, or is stalled out until they choose to move forward again.
Fail to hook the reader on the website with compelling copy, and they’ll bounce.
Fail to motivate them to fill out the form, and they’ll never enter their name.
Fail to ask questions they’re willing and able to answer, and they’ll abandon the form.
And so on and so on and so on. Dozens of times. Hundreds, probably, if you broke down each micro-commitment required to go from “I like this image I found on this hashtag” to “I’m so ecstatic about securing them for my date.”
What stops deal momentum?
This is the reason it’s so hard to fill your calendar with clients you love at budgets that support your business. You have to create momentum in the right direction, and remove as many obstacles as possible that get in the way of progress.
I often tell my clients that it’s less important to become a great salesperson than it is to get better at making it easy to buy your services.
One big obstacle negatively impacts your conversion rates more than 10 things done right.
It’s one of the reasons I offer a sales process audit. And also why they’re so effective at boosting bookings for clients who sign up for them. You don’t necessarily have to get better at selling, you just need to stop doing bad things that make it harder for ideal clients to book.
Many of the recommendations I make after reviewing the entire sales process center on “set it and forget it” changes:
Alter the contact form in these ways
Rewrite your inquiry responses to look more like my models
Use a scheduling app to set appointments
Stop asking certain questions on the discovery call
And so many more quick fixes that eliminate – or at least – reduce barriers to progress.
The number one barrier I see?
Poor package and pricing presentation.
Most of you who are reading this think the number of your prices is what prevents you from booking at higher rates.
But it’s not what you’re charging, it’s how you’re presenting your packages that’s causing potential clients to stop in their tracks – or book someone else who’s made it easier to choose.
“How many” matters as much as “how much”
Here are the most common ways I see wedding pros present their services and pricing:
Menu – Zero packages, and all the services listed out with prices for each
Single option – One package, no other option
Base package plus a la carte – Entry-level option with additional services listed out
*Three options – Three packages with services bundled
Three options plus a la carte – Three packages with additional services listed out
*The preferred approach to present options for wedding services.
It avoids “single-option aversion,” and the “paradox of choice.”
One option is not enough
People want the freedom to choose. It’s fundamental to being a human. We don’t like to be told what to do or feel limited in how we live our lives. When we feel restricted or forced, we feel psychological reactance, and will push back or leave the situation.
On the flip side, the services we offer don’t have any absolute value. The worth of what we offer is driven by its relative pros and cons compared to other, similar services.
When making decisions, our brains tend to see things as better or worse, rather than good or bad.
Consumers feel more confident in making not just the right decision, but, in fact
, ANY decision at all when they have more than one option to choose from. We avoid making decisions if we have only one choice to choose from.
Too many is just as bad – or worse
On the other end of the spectrum, however, we don’t like too many options either.
A la carte options, or some other menu of services.
It’s too much. Too many choices. Too much to remember. Too much to compare. Too many risks.
If you’re offering more than three choices when you present your proposal, pay attention.
You think you’re offering them the opportunity to choose what they want, but it’s really just overwhelming them.
Psychologist Barry Schwartz made a name for himself many years ago by coining the phrase, “paradox of choice.” If you haven’t read the book, I fully recommend it. If you want only the introduction to the concept, join 17 million others and watch his Ted Talk.
Basically, when we have too many options to choose from, we have a harder time choosing than if we had an ideal number of options.
In one experiment, he offered supermarket shoppers 24 choices of jam or six choices of jam. The 24 choices attracted more shoppers, but fewer actually bought something. The percentage of people who bought a jar of jam from the selection of six was 10x more than those with 24 options in front of them.
10x more. Wow.
Variety may be the spice of life, but it’s a lousy recipe if you want to make even simple decisions. Picking a jar of fruit jam that costs a few bucks is fairly easy. Imagine what it’s like with a massively complex decision like $8,500 for a planner or $3,000 for invitations.
Make it easy to choose
If you’re putting out a menu for people to pick from, or adding in a la carte extras on your proposals, I strongly recommend you stop doing it.
You’ve worked so hard to get dozens (hundreds??) of micro-commitments to reach the stage in the buyer’s journey where you finally get to share detailed packages and pricing with them. They’re excited to see your proposed solutions to their problems.
Don’t make it harder than it needs to be. Don’t confuse them. Don’t overwhelm them. Don’t make them worry about picking the wrong option.
Use three and only three options with pre-selected bundles of services.
If they request changes to a favorite option, amazing. Go with it. Carry on the discussion and reach an agreement.
Remember, if you want to raise your rates, it’s not just what you charge, but how you present your packages and pricing.
If you want my help on restructuring what you’re offering, reach out. The sales process audit is a great way to get going in the right direction with higher prices. I’ll review your:
You get a written report with recommendations, and we talk about them on a 90-minute 1:1 call – all for under $1k.
Click here if you are interested: Fix my sales process
Own Your Business
Humans make 35,000 decisions every day. Most of them are made automatically without even thinking. The very small percentage that use conscious thought require lots of energy, and, if too many need to be made, can lead to decision fatigue.
Is your sales process making it easier or harder for couples to decide on your services? My guess is you’re sabotaging your own success in ways you didn’t even know. In this episode of Own Your Business, I’ll tell you:
How our brains are wired to make choices
2 ways of thinking about decisions
3 common mistakes that lead couples to analysis paralysis