During the Wedding Venue Owners Working Vacation to Nashville we stopped into The Bedford and were so fortunate to meet Megan Schmidt the Director of Sales. During our venue tour she brought up the Book of Lists. My inner networking nerd went nuts! I have used the Book of Lists for years to increase my sales. I have never had anyone else bring it up until Megan at The Bedford. She loves this book and uses it successfully to contact prospective corporate clients. Lot’s of wedding venues want to host more corporate events because often times these events can be hosted during the week and won’t disrupt wedding business. Additionally, some venue owners and managers prefer corporate events to weddings as they are far less demanding (not always but mostly) than weddings. No matter your reason for wanting to book more corporate clients, the Book of Lists is a bounty of the best prospects in your market! This is just one of the many incredible secrets to wedding venue success we learn on the Wedding Venue Owners Working Vacations! If you have not attended one yet, click here for upcoming cities and dates.
How to book more corporate events using The Book of Lists. The Book of Lists costs about $80 to $100 and lists hundreds of prospective clients for you to contact. The lists are, “Top 50 Law Firms”, or “Top 100 mortgage companies”. I buy The Book of Lists every year and start with law firms, real estate and constructions companies. I start at least 6 months before the event season I am promoting. I like using spreadsheets to track my progress. Of course many of you will use your office CRM to track your progress. First I call the company and let them know, “I am hoping to reach the person in your office who manages meetings & events.” In my market, Washington DC there are hundreds of meeting & event jobs and many companies have entire departments for M&E. If you can’t get past the gatekeeper just let them know you want mail the information or you want to stop by and drop off a gift box for the correct person and need the persons name for your address label or for the gift card. This is how I get the name of the appropriate contact at that business. Most often I am held up there by the gatekeeper and told to leave a message. I will always leave a message but it rarely leads to a returned call. Another tip, be nice to the gatekeeper. Receptionist and admins answering phones are often not treated as nice as they should be. I always make sure I treat them very well and usually bring them a cookie tray when I drop off my marketing gift to my direct prospect. The receptionist might be the one who gets me in with the right person.
THE VIDEO BELOW SHOWS THE BOOK OF LISTS AND HOW I USE IT
Next, I write up all the info in my spreadsheet so I can track who I called, the date, the person I spoke to, titles, the person who is in charge of events or planning special events and whether or not I was given the green light to stop in and drop off a gift for that person. I like packaging up a box of cookies or candies, something that the recipient will be excited to receive. Dropping off a folder or envelope of information is not memorable or exciting. I have boxed up Starbucks bottled coffees prepackaged/sealed and safe to offer as a gift. I packaged two coffees and two mugs with my company logo, fill the mugs with candies. I have also worked with local bakeries to get 4 packs of gourmet cupcakes again, packaged properly for gifting to a business colleague. If you are friends with a baker they can make you holiday cookies for your prospective clients, giving those out in June to promote holiday party planning is a fun way to stand out and stay on their mind. Even if they are not ready to start planning their upcoming events when you stop in or make initial contact, you want them to think of you when they are ready. I package these in a very nice box with my logo on the outside of the box and promotional material inside the box along with my contact information. Every time I drop off a box or gift I try to get any cards sitting at the front desk. The meeting and event manager is a prospective client BUT EVERYONE in that office is as well. They have elegant soirees, milestone birthdays, graduations, etc… and I want them to know about my services, every single person I can connect with in that office!
Most often after dropping off the gift & promotional material, I will get a thank you call from the recipient and have the opportunity to find out if they are planning any events and the: when, what, where? I add all that information to my spreadsheet. If I don’t hear from anyone I will follow up with monthly mailers in a bright envelope that look like a “thank you” card. This will ensure that my correspondence stands out and is probably the first item they open from their mail that day. As someone in the event industry, I want prospective clients to get excited to work with me. Boring doesn’t cut it when you are selling events.
I hope you found this helpful, please subscribe to my Youtube channel so you will be notified when other videos are published. Let me know if you found this helpful. I know that many business owners do not love this part of the business, prospecting, cold calling and building relationships for the sake of increasing sales. If you don’t have time to manage sales properly please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I provide consulting services for small business owners on a case by case basis. I would love to chat with you about your business goals and challenges to help you find solutions.
Where else can you find prospective corporate clients: Use indeed to find companies hiring marketing and event management positions as an additional way to find companies to contact. Another tip, your relationships with caterers are so valuable. They may have a client that books a $100,000 holiday party every year. Caterers have hundreds, if not thousands of event clients, the same type of clients you would like to connect with. Ask to meet with the sale director at the catering companies to find ways you can collaborate on ideas to work with clients together. Maybe they need a place to host a large tasting or employee appreciation event. Offer to donate your space in exchange maybe they could agree to doing a few Facebook/Instagram LIVE’s featuring your venue to their audience. Finally, if you do not have a Book of Lists in your area or one that benefits your venue, then check into your local Chamber of Commerce. I will create another video soon about how to properly use your local Chamber of Commerce. They have a member directory listing lots of local businesses, you can use that resource in the same way you might use a Book of Lists.