From The Trenches | Responding To Enquiries
By Dan Farrant - Tuesday, February 26, 2019
4 Things to Think About When Responding To Enquiries
Replying to enquiries is probably one of the most important parts of your business. It’s people’s first interaction with you (after looking at your website or seeing you at an event) and so you want to get it right. I’m far from perfecting the art of the reply, but here are a few of my thoughts of things you should (and shouldn’t) be doing when responding to prospective clients.
1. Get back to them as quickly as you can
The early bird catches the worm is a cliché for a reason and it definitely is true when it comes to replying to enquiries.
If you leave it more than a day to get back to a potential client, the odds are high that they’ve already booked someone. Respond to enquiries as quickly as you can.
If you have your phone number on your site (I don’t but maybe that’s a topic for another post) answer it and if you miss it and they leave a voicemail, make sure to get back to them at the first chance you get. It’s the same with emails, if you can, respond within the hour. Most magicians won’t and so you’ll stand out by miles. This tactic alone will almost certainly improve your the number of enquiries that you convert into paying gigs.
If you want to take it one step further you can set up an email autoresponder. When someone completes the contact form on my website hireamagician.com it automatically sends them an email, thanking them and letting them know that I’ve received their enquiry. If your site is on WordPress then you can use a plugin called Contact Form 7. It has a feature that automatically sends them an email after they submit the form.
In that autoresponder I let them know when I’ll respond (within 24 hours, but usually only a couple of hours) and I’ll then ask them to tell me more about their event as well as include some testimonials from previous clients and get them excited about potentially hiring me.
2. Don’t follow up too much.
I hate being followed up by a really pushy sales-guy. Don’t be that person. If someone enquires with you, follow up once or twice but if you don’t hear back from them, just let it go. It looks really desperate if you’re following up every day.
Try to respond in the same way that they contact you as well. If someone emails you, respond to them by email, if someone calls you, call them back.
People will contact you in the way that they want to be contacted. Some magicians I’ve spoken to will only quote people over the phone. Personally, I don’t answer the phone to anyone whose number isn’t in my contacts, so I’d recommend catering to people like me!
3. Keep a spreadsheet of your enquiries.
A few years ago I started tracking my enquiries and it was one of the best things I did in my business. “What gets measured gets managed” is a popular quote and one that I found to be true. Whenever I get an enquiry I put a new row in my enquiry tracker and fill all the details in so I can stay on top of enquiries and know which ones I need to follow up, what I quoted, how many guests or if I need to send an invoice etc.
If you want to use the one I’ve made here’s a link to it in Google sheets. Just copy it and start your own :)
Keeping my spreadsheet up to date does take a while but it helps massively to stay on top of everything. I can also see if I’m having a bad month for enquiries by comparing that month to previous years and also when people are most likely to enquire (for me it’s Tuesdays and Wednesdays) so I can make sure to be at my computer and responding fast.
4. Using canned responses or something similar.
Another useful little thing is to use canned responses. I’ve got a series of pre-written emails (one for weddings/corporate/birthday parties etc) that I can choose and customise with the client’s name and details to make it more personal. It saves me loads of time and also means that I don’t make any spelling mistakes.
If you use Gmail there’s an option built in - You can use this guide to canned responses to set it up.
Another option which I use is a program called Text Expander. It’s a little complicated at first but has a lot more customisation and has saved me heaps of time. You don’t have to use Gmail either. It works with any text on your computer. There’s a free trial and then after that it’s a monthly subscription. But you can download an old version for $44.95. Look for TextExpander 5, it’s the “standalone app” rather than subscription.
If you’re on a budget you could also try aText which seems similar and is only £4.99 (let me know if it’s any good!)
Anyway, I think that’s probably enough talking about responding to enquiries. Disagree with me or have any other ideas that I should try? Email me or take to Vanishing Inc.'s social media to discuss.
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