The biggest concern with lead generation is how to capture someone’s attention.  Here are some tips for responding to leads.

“Catching” the Opening
Introduce yourself, your role and your location.  For example, “Good morning Ms. Big.  This is Chad Fox the Marketing Director for J&J Marketing and Entertainment.  I’m located on King Carter Drive, just a mile from the Sea View Banquet Center.”  You’ve given an introduction and location and are not simply opening up with “Hi, I’m from J&J Marketing and I have a DJ company and I’d like to talk to you about my services.” 

No More “How are you’s”
If someone does answer the phone, thank them for taking your call.  Ask them if this is a good time to share some best practices about event planning.  Do not make it a general solicitation call.  Instead create a connection that will spark a conversation.   “Is this a good time to talk about your wedding?  I read your lead on Eventective and have some ideas that I’d like to share with you.”
Voicemails That Get Returned
If the client does not pick up the phone, here are some key things to think about when leaving a voicemail message. 

    • Be brief–20 seconds or less.  You may have to train yourself by putting a stop watch in front of you.   Be interesting and say something unique.  If you are going to ramble on about your business, it is going to disinterest the person listening to the message.
    • Be gone – say your name, company name and phone number at the end of the message.  People tend to leave it at the beginning of the message and if someone is not interested in your services they are going to delete it before they even hear the value you can add to the event. 
    • Speak slowly – Many people quickly give out a phone number and the listener does not have time to write it down.  Most communications never get the circle completed because they have an inaccurate phone number, could not hear the message clearly or you spoke too fast.
    • Repeat –Repeat your phone number a second time so the client can check the number without having to listen to the message again.  Everyone is in a hurry so make sure that your message is clear and concise and makes an impact.
Also, let the client know you will call them back.  For example, if you leave a message on Monday. At the end of the message say “If I have not heard from you, I will call you back on Thursday at 9:19 AM.”  Why would you do that?  Because they are going to challenge you to see if you really call them back on Thursday at 9:19 AM.  It creates a level of interest – is that vendor really going to try to call me at 9:19.  It may not be a convenient time for them, but if you do call and get their voice mail and they hear you called at 9:19, you’ve created a level of trust with that client that will help you win their business.  I have done that in my business practices for several years now and I won a major client because of the fact that he sat at his desk waiting for me to call at 9:19.  He said I was a man of my word and someone he wanted to do business with. The business was not driven by price, but the value and trust I created. 
“Catching” the Appointment
When you do get someone on the phone, do not focus on price and commodity, but focus on what you can offer.  All of us in the event business have a network of centers of influence – bridal planners, bridal shops, florists, bands, photographers, etc. – that I have interacted with over the years.  Why not take that group and make it a source for generating leads.  “Can I take a few minutes to share what I’ve learned and be a potential referral source for you.” 
Many people are interested in learning information.  They are interested in learning how to get the best value for their dollar – not the cheapest but the best value.  You might want to say “An article just crossed my desk about how to hire the right DJ for your event.  May I send you a copy of that article in the mail?  Or if we can meet I’d be more than happy to bring the article with me.”  You have something that offers value to the client.  Bringing your brochure or your price list is not necessarily value – you’ve now created a commodity.  The Eventective website has many articles available to you.  Just choosing one of those articles and giving it to a client, will be the value-add you need to catch that appointment and that call.  You can even leave it in the voice mail to call you with a mailing address and you will send the article to them. 
Don’t Talk Yourself Out of an Appointment
When you do get a client on the phone and they agree to meet with you, do not let this become a selling point.  All too often vendors talk themselves out of an appointment because when they got the client on the phone they created an opportunity to sell.  The client will let you know when they are ready to buy.  Keep any appointment setting conversations to two minutes or less.  And never get into a sales pitch.  Combining all of these techniques will help you come across as a trusted advisor to the planner. 
Many thanks to Jerry Bazata for this information!