The Early Bird Books the Gig

birdThe key to making more money may be as simple as getting better at answering your phone. 

Have you ever missed a call from a client and returned their call later on only to hear “Sorry… We already booked someone else for our event”? Just by missing their initial call you missed out on a booking! Hundreds or maybe thousands of dollars lost… vanished.

It’s something that has happened to all of us. But, how can we try and prevent this from happening?

Be The Early Bird and Reply Faster

The first step is to think about what’s going on inside the minds of the client. Once we understand what they’re thinking and feeling we can implement a strategy to try and capture these leads.

We would like to think that customers are trying to book us because they specifically want us for their event. But the reality is they may just be contacting you because you were the first search result in Google or you were the first guy to answer their phone. This may sound like a bad thing, but if you’re able to be that first guy listed on Google, and you’re good at answering the phone, that’s actually good news!

Do you always answer your phone when it rings? The best way to prevent these lost bookings is by always answering your phone. Do whatever it is you need to do to make sure you’re answering your phone. Get in the habit of having your phone near you, having the ringer on, and whatever else you need to have prepared in order to take the booking.

Depending on your personality and schedule, replying to messages promptly might actually be quite difficult. If you find it especially dreadful or time consuming to reply to show inquires, it’s probably because your system for booking shows is too cumbersome. Create a booking process for your business that’s easier so it isn’t as much work to followup. I’ve found that the best way to keep me motivated to respond to show inquiries is by being accountable to my clients. I do that by promising my customers that I’ll return their inquiry within 24 hours. 

On my voicemail and on my website it says I’ll reply within 24 hours. When a client fills out the quote form on my website they receive an automated email with a copy of their event information along with a note letting them know that I’ll respond to them within 24 hours as well.

This concept of returning messages within 24 hours has become a sort of “company policy” for me. Whenever I receive a message I try to deal with it as soon as possible. Occasionally I will be too busy with shows, or I’ll be out of town, and in those cases I’ll update my voicemail message and I’ll create an email vacation responder so that they’re aware that there might be a delay.

So far I’ve only been talking about inbound contact, but this same theory applies to any outbound contact.

After you send a client a quote, do you just wait for them to get back to you or do you proactively follow-up with them? In my second year of business I created a better system for better following up with my clients and I saw a dramatic increase in the number of shows that I booked in a year.

Create your own “company policy” and get in the habit of replying as quickly as possible. So next time you receive a booking inquiry – be the early bird – reply quickly – and book the show!

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