20 Jul 2020

How To Make Your Enquiry Form Work Hard For You

Elisabetta White

A few days ago I received an enquiry from a directory I advertise in that read:

“Name: Such & Such
Date of the wedding: MM/YY
Where would you like to get married: Italy
More info: “groom from XXX, bride from XXX, around 30-40 guests.”

DONE.

Seriously, not a word more, not a word less. 

I’m ok with this because it came from a directory… BUT, before my website overhaul, this kind of enquiries was a daily occurrence. And because I was inexperienced, I would write a bespoke reply to each and everyone… And because I am such a boring perfectionist, it would take me HOURS (I’m yawning just thinking about it).

Honestly, if you are getting enquiries that are vague, with no oomph and passion, and more importantly, without the details you need to gauge immediately whether you can or can’t help them, it is time to rethink your enquiry form altogether. 

Here you’ll find a simple list of thing you must ask, or else you’ll go down the rabbit hole of never ending back and forth emailing with clients that might just be the wrong one for you!

So what should that enquiry form include?

1. FULL NAMES. The simple reason for wanting their names is because it means you are more likely to find information on them online. And that is important because number 1, in this day and age you just can’t trust anyone, particularly when potential clients are asking you for an in person meeting. Number 2, it also helps to understand the background of the couple, both from a professional and personal point of view. For instance, you may find out that the bride works in the same field you used to work in – suddenly you have things in common, and establishing common ground helps loads in your quest to establish affinity!

2. WHERE THEY’RE BASED: You could have a whole back and forth with clients without realising they’re on a completely different time zone. Knowing where they’re based helps me tailor my communication to them (i.e. “Hey guys, hope you’re keeping safe in XXXX – I hear the lockdown is lifting in your area. It must be such a relief!”). Also, as I propose times for a consultation, I have a better idea of what might suit them…

3. PHONE NUMBER: I once had a client enquiring using my form, but he typed in the wrong email address, so my emails kept bouncing back and I had no other way to reach him… So frustrating! 

4. WHERE AND WHEN THEY WANT TO GET MARRIED: Obvious no? 

5. HOW MANY GUESTS THEY EXPECT: A range, any range, is better than zero. ☝🏼​ How are you going to gauge what’s doable with their budget without having any idea of how many guests they will be taking care for?

6. WHAT KIND OF CEREMONY DO THEY HAVE IN MIND? Offer them options – civil, religious or symbolic? 

7. BUDGET: I have made this field compulsory on my enquiry form. I need an idea of some sort. I don’t expect the budget to be precise, but if you encourage them to give you a figure now, you’re more likely to know straight up whether their expectations can be fulfilled or whether you are the right planner for them. Ultimately, you don’t want to jump on a consultation without knowing their budget. Believe me, in the world of destination weddings the biggest lie and myth is that weddings abroad are cheap. They aren’t cheap. They’re most cost-effective, which are two VERY different things. It’s crazy how many people think they can do a wedding in the Amalfi Coast with 100 guests for £20,000! So the quicker they get used to the fact you can only talk wedding if you know what budget they have, the quicker you will proceed to consultation stage or to a polite goodbye. Yay for saving time! 🙌🏼

8. MORE INFO: Now, my ideal clients are those that take the time to tell me more… So this is a free space for them to take me through their vision. My personality type connects to people that love stories and writing… We’re passionate. So I expect my ideal client to want to share with me their dreams. If they write 2 words, chances are, they’re not my clients. I will still probe them in my reply to their enquiry, but if I realise that’s a consistent trait, it’s likely I will let them go to a planner who’s more suited to them. Yay for picking your clients! 👯‍♀️  

9. WHERE DID THEY HEAR ABOUT YOU: Guys seriously, if you’re spending money for advertising, you better have this in there. It’s always good practice to look at your analytics, but I realise not everyone is tech-ey. So this might do the trick. You need to know whom you need to thank for the enquiry, ‘coz if something isn’t converting, it’s time to ditch and move on. And on the other hand, if someone has personally recommended you, it is good manners to say thank you. 

A great example of a well thought our enquiry page is Mae  & Co’s. Check it out here: https://www.maeandcocreative.com/contact-us.

A note regarding budget: some people just don’t enjoy talking money with a stranger. But guess what? If we work together I’m going to have to closely monitor your budget, so you don’t have much of a choice… I need to know the budget, right? However, there are only two reasons why you may not need to ask for budget:

1. Your site spells out in so much details what you offer, how much it costs and what budgets you work with, that 99% of times clients that don’t meet those requirements don’t bother enquiring.

2. You work with such high profile events, that budget isn’t an issue. Clients that truly have the money don’t really care what it costs. Hence why you’ll notice that high end wedding planners don’t really bother asking that question or talk budget on their websites.. 

Until you’re at that level, I really feel that the best way to streamline your communication and save you loads of time is to ask your potential destination enquirers all the right questions upfront, so you don’t need to waste time entertaining conversations that will never go anywhere. 

Hope this is helpful!

xo

PS: if you feel a bit alone in the industry, come and join my Facebook community of destination wedding planners ▹ Launch And Grow Your Destination Wedding Business

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