Build Contacts and Win Business
When I identify a lead that I would like to follow-up with and seek to win their business, I take a several pronged approach to developing that lead.  Immediately after purchasing the lead, I send an email introducing myself, asking if I may have the opportunity to speak with them and pointing out something of interest that refers to the event inquiry. 

If the client is interested in having an event near the ocean, I offer a piece of advice on how I can help them select the right venue.  I do not focus on my business, I do not provide price and I do not make it a selling pitch.  Instead I make it an introduction for the client to want to contact me. 

Capture the Client’s Attention
Two days later I send an article of interest, such as an email that talks about planning an event along the beautiful sunny coast, advice on selecting the right banquet hall or DJ service or an article with the latest floral trends.  I include a short note that says “Would you like to hear more? I have more to share with you. Please give me a call and I’d like to talk to you about your event.”

The third contact I make is again following up with something unrelated to my business that sparks the client’s interest.  The fourth contact is five days out from the initial lead when I’ll place a phone call to the client with a short, simple introduction to call me to have a discussion about the event.

Off-Peak Voice Mail Message
The seventh or eighth day out, I make my fifth contact with an off-peak hour phone message.  This is usually done during the daytime when the client is at work.  I will leave a quick 20-second message on their home or cell phone.  

Engage the Client
These five combined touches never once actually sell my product or service, but engage the client in a source of conversation so that I can learn more about the event and provide the appropriate pricing.  Keep in mind that most people are unaware when they start planning an event what the budget is really going to be and what the final cost will be. 

They determine something in their mind and have a vision of what the event will be.  But they need the source and guidance to direct that vision into an event that can be produced with a budget that fits their means.  If your basis is to help guide them through this process, then the sale of your particular service will be highlighted tremendously by the added value you bring to that client.

Don’t Give Up
Now once you’ve done several touches, do you walk away and say I’ve done those five contacts?  No, you may repeat them.  Many times clients will not respond to an initial lead for two to three weeks.   For example, I had a client that I did over seven touches with via email and phone.  I did not hear back so I gave it a three week rest. 

I started another touch process again and on the second touch of that second turnaround the client called me, talked to me about the event and apologized for not getting back to me because she had been extremely busy at work.  We talked about the event and I ended up booking it.  So the timing was right to continue that contact process; it was just not the right time when she had initiated her original request. 

As I said 85% of the vendors that purchase leads stop calling after the second touch.  Whether it is an email or a phone call, think about if they had carried those on.  Maybe that 85% in the seventh or eighth touch of that client could have booked some business. 

Many thanks to Jerry Bazata for this information!