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!!!!!HOT TOPIC ALERT!!!!!

In December, at my flower shop, we were frustrated.  Most brides are busy planning the holidays, so what few requests for a consultation we get, we graciously accept!!

Then it hit–a string of NO SHOWS.

To top it off, those who were requesting consults weren’t responding to our emails or phone calls.

Ugh!!

So one day, we whipped out a Google Voice Account and gave it a shot.  We texted a few of those leads we were hearing crickets from.  The result?  Three scheduled consultations.

BOOM GOES THE CANNON!!

Today, we text, email and phone every new request for a consultation.  We text follow-ups and we text confirmations for consultations one day before.

The results have been amazing!!!

Our no-show rate for scheduled consultations dropped to ZERO.

We are now scheduling almost every single bride who requests a consultation–and you know what that means!!  More buns in the seat = more weddings booked!!

But the jury is still out on this new tool for many wedding professionals.

Ginny Krauss, a wedding professional and wedding brand strategist, feels that business communication should remain via email and phone (preferably email so it’s documented, which I agree and has saved by butt many times!!).  She ads that it also sets boundaries and doesn’t blur the line of client and friend.

But not everyone has the same views.  Joseph Testa, a wedding videographer and member of Profitable Weddings’ Core Club, says he’s booked 10 weddings without ever meeting or talking to the bride over the phone.  He gives the brides the option of text, phone or email, and pushes for at least a phone call, but business is business and if they want to hire him, texting is a-okay!

Bobby Graham has been texting brides for his DJ business for years and says he has booked more weddings simply because he will communicate with them this way.  He also pointed out that he’s never had a single person tell him not to text.

Texting is easy, for both parties.  Think about it:  The bride can’t accept your phone call at work, so unless you are calling after 6pm or before 8am, you are leaving a message.  Then he/she can’t call you back right away, and although she had intentions of calling you, something else comes up and she forgets.  An email goes the same way, not to mention you are one of several emails she gets in a day.  But a text message…she can quickly respond to you while at work or school.  And remember, millennials LOVE texting!!  This is their preferred method of communication!!  Plus it’s quick for you–have a template ready to go so you can copy and paste and send in seconds!!

So what about using it AFTER she hires you?  Erin Hayward does just that–she uses texting with clients who prefer it and only after they hire her.  NEVER for following-up with leads or unsolicited contacts.

If you are considering using text for your wedding business, think about these factors:

  • Use a different number than your personal cell.  Create a Google Voice account and text from there so the bride can’t call/text you at all hours for any reason
  • Set boundaries.  Explain this is only used for consultation confirmation, or, if you are willing to accept pictures and ideas texted to you, let her know.  I would recommend having any changes to her order emailed so you have a paper trail.
  • It’s fantastic for confirming and reminding brides of consultations.  Your dentist, hair stylist and chiropractor are already using it, so why can’t you??
  • If a bride gives you her phone number and requests a consultation, she is giving you permission to contact her.  You could always add a “preferred contact method” option to your opt-in or request form to solidify her decision.
  • I am not suggesting texting those who are not expecting your contact.  Leads lists from the bridal show, for example–I would NOT text them.  This is unsolicited and could be seen as creepy, or even a scam.  Only text those who have given you permission to follow-up via a request for consultation or other opt-in form.
  • Remember to check your Google Voice account several times a day for responses.  Millennials expect a fast response, that’s why they text in the first place.  If you texted a date and time for a consultation and she responds, but she doesn’t hear back from you in a day or two, she may not show.  The name of the game is F-A-S-T.
  • Consider for yourself if texting blurs the line between friend and client, and if you do chose to text, always keep it short and professional.

I posted the question, “do you text brides?”  on two wedding pro groups on Facebook and netted over 50 total responses.  There are strong opinions about texting; some for it, and some against it.

How do you feel about texting?  Have any experiences with it?  Share in the comments below!!