Answer the Phone, Dammit

I knew it was going to be bad, but I just wasn’t prepared for this. Let me paint the picture for you.

I set aside an hour today to make random calls to some of the awesome members of our Book More Brides community (yes, I do things like that) so I could say thanks and see how we can help them for the future.

I was prepared to TALK. That was my biggest mistake.

Not one person answered the phone. Not one!

I was calling the business phone number from a regular phone. No weird name coming up in the caller ID.

I got the exact experience a bride or groom gets when they call you — NO ANSWER.

So I decided to turn this into a “secret shopping” experience and share my takeaways with you.

#1 – Answer your damn phone!

We complain about how we can’t get brides and grooms on the phone. Well, guess what? They can’t get you on the phone, either!

I called from a regular phone number during normal business hours on a business line. What gives?

You want to get them on the phone, right? Pick it up!

Don’t tell me no one calls anymore but telemarketers and political campaigners. Even if your phone leads only come few and far between…

The bride is most likely to book the person who gets on the phone with her.

And you missed your shot.

If it simply isn’t possible for you to answer the phone immediately:

#2 – Empty your voicemail every day.

One of the wedding businesses I called had a full voicemail box. I couldn’t leave a message, even if I wanted to.

Brides and grooms won’t be able to leave a message, either. DOH.

#3 – Set your phone to only 4 rings before going to voicemail.

It felt like I had to sit through 100 rings before getting a chance to leave a message! Even 6 rings is too long for today’s busy couples. And me, apparently.

The phone of one business I called just rang and rang and rang…

Another made me sit through TWO sets of voicemail messages before I could leave a message.

Don’t make them wait!

Hell, you’re not going to answer the phone anyway, so what do you need 6 rings for?

#4 – Record a professional message that includes a call to action.

Only two of the people I called sounded like they were happy to hear from me. (They were ladies — props to you!)

One person suggested that I send a text, but no one else told me what to do, other than leave  message. Wah wah.

If you want the bride or groom who calls to actually leave a message for you, give them a reason to do so!

  • Smile before you speak. It comes across in your voice.
  • Show some personality! Everyone says, “Leave your name, phone number and a brief message.” BORING!
  • Tell them what to do next. If it’s easier to reach you by email or text, ask them to do so, or direct them to your website for more information.
  • Remind them of exactly what details to leave on the message. You want their name, event date, phone number and best time to call them back, right?
  • Offer them a bribe in exchange for leaving a message. “Leave me your email address and I’ll send you our free report, ‘5 Things You Don’t Know About Planning a Wedding in Chicago.’”

Your voicemail message may be your only chance to connect with the bride or groom who’s calling you. Make it a good one.

What do you think?