question mark road

It’s my goal to learn something new to use in our wedding business whenever I go somewhere new. Geeky, I know, but as my step-son would say, “That’s how I roll.”

Attending the 50th birthday/promotion celebration for one of Jeff’s childhood friends was no exception. As a totally unrelated side note, we both learned something important about showing up on time for surprise parties (even when the invitation doesn’t specify a deadline) since we bumped into the birthday boy in the parking lot, completely ruining the surprise. *Cringe.*

Back to my business lesson…

While Jeff was charming the ladies he hasn’t seen since high school, I started up a conversation with Brian Altmann, owner of a very successful Poughkeepsie remodeling business and (wonder of wonders!) it turns out we both have a fondness for teaching other people what’s worked for us.

Who Thrives When the Industry Suffers?

While the entire construction industry has been suffering since the Recession, hurting much worse than the wedding industry, Brian’s remodeling business was thriving. I eagerly listened as he shared the secrets of his success for ideas that could be applied to a wedding business.

Brian uses cutting edge marketing, SEO, video and social media to absolutely dominate his local market, but his real “secret sauce” is both incredibly powerful and deceptively simple. His peers always want him to reveal the magical tactics behind his marketing success, but Brian believes the real reason his business continues to thrive boils down to his dedication to customer service.

The Post Wedding Survey

After every job, Brian’s team members do an exit survey with each customer. They ask two simple questions:

1. What are three things we did well?

2. What are three things we can improve?

“If you want your business to absolutely explode,” he said, “run your business by those answers. Keep getting better at the things you do well, and improve your weaknesses, and you’ll rocket to #1.”

Sounds way too simple to be that powerful, right?

Here’s the truth: most of your competitors are not asking these questions in the first place. And even if they do ask these questions, they’re not going to actually take action on what they learn. It’s sad, but true.

Pick the Brain of the Bride and Groom

Want a short cut to a wedding business that beats the competition and creates overwhelming demand? Ask your clients what they want and then give it to them.

I know, it’s much for fun to do what YOU want. But if you let your clients direct your business by making everything you do 100% about meeting their wants and solving their problems, it will not steer you wrong.

Let me give you an example. Some years back we had what I’ll call a “difficult” bride. She was very particular about what she wanted, and I held her hand through the whole planning process.

After the wedding, we learned in our post-wedding survey that she wasn’t completely satisfied because we hadn’t played enough of her requested songs.

This bride had given us a request list of over 75 songs, more than enough for the entire night, and 35 of them were “must plays.” And, to be frank, the songs she picked absolutely sucked. The dance floor would have been empty all night long.

We ended up playing over 40 of the songs she requested, be we skipped about 5 the lamest “must plays.” I figured that it was more important to get people dancing than it was to play every single song.

Well, that complaint let me know that we hadn’t communicated exactly the terms of the Must Play List. From then on, if it’s on the Must Play List, we play it, come hell or high water.

BUT we also explain to the couple how it’s going to work. If the couple has more than 10 “must play” songs, we ask them if they’d like us to play them no matter what, even if it clears the dance floor. We come to an understanding of exactly what they expect so that we can deliver it.

This has become a promise we make that reassures our couples and keeps them happier than ever.

Check Your Customer Service

I’m sure you think you deliver excellent customer service. But do you ask your customers how you’re doing? Do you survey them to make sure?

And if you do survey them…what was the last improvement you made as a result?

Ask these two questions and take the answers you get seriously, and it’s a compass for your wedding business success that will not steer you wrong because you’ll always be connected with exactly what your clients want and don’t want.

You don’t need fancy software or new fangled tactics to get the marketing answers you’re looking for. Your customers hold the secrets to transforming your business; you just need to ask them.

What do you think about listening to your customers and clients?

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