With the downturn in the economy over the past 10+ months, there is a direct correlation to the increased number of cold calls meeting planners are receiving. In addition to my M&IT hat, I also oversee the Conference & Event division of Rogers Business & Professional Publishing. I polled my team and came up with the following 12 Tips for you to get through to meeting planners in these tough times.
We know that 99% of the time you are leaving voice mail, here are the Do’s and Don’ts that can help you break through:
- Speak clearly and repeat your name, company and phone number twice (beginning and end) and make your message brief and to the point (i.e. don’t fill up our voice mail with long messages).
- Speak to our needs; if you don’t know them ask if you can learn about them. Don’t assume you know our needs.
- Respect that we most likely already have an established partnership/relationship with another vendor.
- Respect we are most likely getting at least ten cold calls/emails per week. It is OK to say in your message I understand if you can’t call me back right now, I’ll call you again in 2 weeks (or what ever timeline is required).
- Research the business’ event(s) and the planner before you call; opening with a hook such as I heard your ABC event at XYZ hotel was a success and I’d like to learn more about it will get our attention (and stroke our ego).
- Get a referral. We are 10x more likely to call you back if you can get a referral from someone in the industry we have a positive relationship with (supplier or planner).
- Ask us to spend an hour (or more) of our time to learn about your products, we can do that from your website.
- Assume you know our business’ needs and challenges.
- Assume it’s always about price or open with the line that you can beat our current supplier’s price (i.e. we are offering 50% off).
- Try to buy my business with personal incentives or rewards (i.e. personal flight rewards, free weekends, etc).
- Call once and give up on us; be persistent and call no more than 3 times and send no more than 2 emails within a four week period.
- Call us less than 30 days out from the event and expect that we haven’t already contracted that service.
And the most important thing is to listen to us; if we actually do call you back (as a result of the tips above), ask open ended questions and listen. If we tell you our buying cycle is in the fall, then follow up in the fall; nothing burns your chances of getting the business faster than not listening.