Its no secret that meeting and event planners have one of the most stressful jobs in the world, and getting their attention is a tough job! They are inundated with requests from industry suppliers, just like you, clamoring for a minute of attention. You may think responding to your email is not a huge request, but they receive hundreds of these emails a day. Timing and poorly crafted communications can often lead to unresponsive clients and prospects.
Sometimes, you may get lucky and a meeting planner will request information from you. You start to think “hey GREAT! I’ve got their attention now! Yahoo! A sale is pending!”
While there may be some truth to that statement, the path to purchase is rocky and there is still a lot of work to do! You may send dozens of follow-up emails, and hear nothing in return. This can be extremely frustrating, but when planners are faced with inboxes filled with hundreds of emails and requests each day, suppliers need to work harder than ever to garner a timely response to their request.
Here are some practices that may catapult your email to the top of the action list in the event planner’s inbox, and turn an unresponsive client into a business partner:
- Include a call to action – informational emails with no call to action are simply that – information. Meeting planners will read the email, absorb what they need to, and consider the email as “read and complete” once doing so. By including a strong call to action, you may push the unresponsive client to respond.
- Precise call to action – some call to actions are too vague, such as “let me know if you need further information.”
- One call to action at a time – if you include TOO many calls to action, it could be overwhelming as to what to tackle. Emphasize priorities, and work with limited time sensitive matters on each email.
- Include consequences of silence – if information is time-sensitive in nature, also include what will happen to that information if action is not taken by a certain time. Surprising them later with changed information, without warning, can lead to more stress for the planner.
- Take some responsibility for next steps – help prod your unresponsive clients by providing options for next steps, including what you can do to help move the project forward.
- Do some research – one of meeting planner’s biggest pet peeves is being sold goods that are not required. If your email contains stuff meeting planners don’t need, chances are they are spending their time responding to suppliers for items they do need. Qualify the business first, and be honest in your assessment of your potential fit for the project.
- Provide a compelling reason to filter your email to the top – your email, while thorough and informational in nature, may not look different from the other thousands of emails they have received. Outline what sets you apart from your competition, versus being just another voice in the crowd.
- The word “just” – I eluded to this piece of advice in my blogpost on email do’s and don’ts, and its truly one of my favourite pieces of advice. Don’t “just” do anything. Don’t “just” follow up on a proposal, or “just” check in on your information. The word “just” minimizes your role in the meeting planning process, and puts you in a position of being “just” a supplier, rather than a partner and collaborator in the meeting process. Consider yourself an equal in the process, and eliminate “just” from your vocabulary.
- Forget the hard sell – some emails take the tone of the pushy telemarketer that called our houses in the early evening hours. You didn’t appreciate that feeling of being pushed into something you didn’t need, so don’t do it to your potential clients. Bullying your way to sales may result in a short-term sales success, but may result in lost long-term business.
- Keep it short and sweet – busy planners also tend to be Type A planners that process information best when its clear and succinct. Long winded emails may be flagged for later for the sole reason of trying to get as much done in one day, and your email is going to take up more time than budgeted.
Use this handy tips sheet for attracting more meeting planner attention, and incorporate some of these practices into your selling strategy.
By employing these simple sales strategies in your emails, you should start to see better return emails, fewer unresponsive clients and information you need to push your projects forward.
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