Hot Tips on turning these leads into profits!  Updated July 24, 2003



Hi, my name is Brian Harrell, sales manager at All Time Favorites.  
I have been selling for over 18 years at an event planning / entertainment agency.  The Internet is clearly a profit center but also a challenge to conventional selling ways.  We hope to change your odds of selling to these email leads from sites like ours.

We want you to succeed in booking these leads.   

If you are having trouble booking leads,  
please review our checklist (click here) before you request additional help here

July 24, 2003
Many vendors have asked recently to give the 10 minute version of this tutorial and here it is!
-->If the lead has one item requested in it (like hall or DJ or photographer and no other needs listed)
1. Email and then call the client immediately (of course, during hours of the day)
2. If you do reach them, just go into your normal sales pitch.
3. If you do not reach them:
       a. Leave a very nice message like 
                "Hi (their first name), this is (your name) from (your company). Thank you for requesting information 
                about our (DJ - photographer - planning or whatever you do) services.  (give them a reason to 
                contact you back here like "We have a special price this month only" or We have played at (their 
                event location name) before and love it there.   Thanks again for your inquiry, please visit our website 
                at (www.yoursite   REPEAT 2 times) or please call me at 555-1212 (repeat slowly 2 times!)
       b. Leave the above message up to 2 times for 3 days in a row.
       c. Try calling them with your CALLER ID BLOCKING in place. In most cities dial *67 and then the 
           number to block your number from displaying on their phone.
       d. If it is a commercial event, call 2 times a day for 3 days, 1 morning and 1 early afternoon. 
       e. If it is a social  or wedding event, call 1 daytime and 1 evening for 3 days in a row.

If you still do not reach them, continue to email them 1x week and call 1x week leaving 1 message each week for 4 weeks.

After that, if you still want to keep in touch with them or their event is over 12 months out, just email them every 2 weeks with a nice message and call them 1x month until a few months before their event date.

-->If the lead has MORE THAN ONE ITEM requested in it (like hall, caterer, photographer, DJ and other items)
1. Email immediately, calling is not recommended right away.
2. Call them within 1-4 days
2. If you do reach them, just go into your normal sales pitch.
3. If you do not reach them:
       a. Leave a very nice message like 
                "Hi (their first name), this is (your name) from (your company). Thank you for requesting information 
                about our (DJ - photographer - planning or whatever you do) services.  (give them a reason to 
                contact you back here like "We have a special price this month only" or We have played at (their 
                event location name) before and love it there.   Please let me know when you are starting to shop 
                for your (whatever service you provide).
  Thanks again for your inquiry, please visit our website 
                at (www.yoursite   REPEAT 2 times) or please call me at 555-1212 (repeat slowly 2 times!)
       b. Try again 1x a week for 4 weeks. leave only 1 message per week but try calling 2x per day.
       c. Try calling them with your CALLER ID BLOCKING in place. In most cities dial *67 and then the 
           number to block your number from displaying on their phone.
       d. If it is a commercial event, try 1x a week, call 2 times a day, 1 morning and 1 early afternoon.
       e. If it is a social  or wedding event, call 1 daytime and 1 evening each day you try calling.

If you still do not reach them, continue to email them 1x week and call 1x week for 4 weeks leaving maybe 1 more message.

After that, if you still want to keep in touch with them or their event is over 12 months out, just email them every 4 weeks with a nice message and call them 1x month leaving 1 voice message until a few months before their event date.

End of 10 minute summary

Be sure to read the special "bottom-feeders" section of our tutorial to see how to beat the low-price competitors!

Here are my ideas/tips/suggestions on selling to the clients that email you through our referral system.
We are open to suggestions/comments/ideas (see bottom of page for a link to submit them)
Comments from other vendors about this tutorial  |  Tips from other vendors 

The following is 2002-2003 All Time Favorites and may not be linked to, copied or for any other
use other than for the exclusive use of our registered vendors here at www.alltimefavorites.com 

VERY IMPORTANT:  (this paragraph was added June 2, 2003)
If a client is looking for your service and they have a lot of other needs listed in their request (such as catering, photographers, entertainment, cakes) and their event is 2 years away, those leads can be turned into bookings if you stay in touch maybe monthly or every other month for the next 1.5 years.    MANY vendors report excellent sales 2-3 months AFTER they received the lead from us for events 9-12 months out and they booked them based on sending personalized, nice "keep in touch" type messages every 2-4 weeks up to 2 months prior to the event date (the date to stop sending emails is dependent on what type of product/service you offer).  The main point is keeping in touch beyond 2 weeks after you get the lead is the key to success.  Fact: About 90% of clients NEVER respond to the first 3 emails as they respond only when they are really ready to shop for your product/service for their event.  Never respond to any client without personalizing the email for example; Dear NAME and personalized subject line (Your September 12 wedding), or your emails will rarely be responded to or opened.

----If you're not a vendor at All Time Favorites----check us out here.

What leads look like when you get them via email - click here for the parts of a lead and what they mean.

Note that the leads are free to paid advertisers and for free trial members they pay a commission on bookings from them.  Paid and non-paid advertisers are not guaranteed leads at all. We are just testing a this option for clients to request vendors through email forms.  

How to sell to the Internet leads  (PRINT THIS PAGE for reference)

Click here to play a Real Audio tutorial that you can use to follow along this page
Click here for the same tutorial in Windows Media format.  
After the player starts the audio, click back on this page to listen and follow along if you like.
(if you want to you can right-click and save the above file for playback later)

All Time Favorites actually takes a random sample lead occasionally and markets it to
the point of a real sale (we have a small entertainment agency to help test the validity of selling to people through our email request system and others).  

We are able to close the sale on about 1 out of every 5 leads!

Without the training below, most vendors average about 2% of the time (2 out of 100 leads)

Here are the best ways we have found to sell to Internet lead referral systems like ours.

The following are examples for DJs but can be applied to many other services offered.
Examples for products will be coming soon.

Introduction/Start of Tutorial:
For corporate events, it is pretty simple as they usually want to book right now.
For private events, weddings and similar they take special attention (see examples below)
The most important point is to carefully time your reply to the client.  You will see the examples below of how to time your replies.

Here are some examples of inquiries and how we suggest marketing to them.
These are suggestions.  
We are not to be held liable for ANYTHING you do with the advice on this web site.

A. Wedding , 3 months from now, has only DJ for the services requested.
Read the lead closely to check how they wish to be responded to:
    1. Email the client a personalized email (if they supplied their email address)
        "Dear NAME,     We would love to provide DJ services for your event on EVENT DATE.  (then
        describe a bit about your company and include your web site link like this http://www.alltimefavorites.com 
        (don't forget the http:// in front of it). Generic and non-personalized emails will not get you many sales.
    2. Call the client 10-30 minutes later if they say CALL ASAP (otherwise maybe wait 1-2 days)
        a. If you get a machine, just leave a polite message like one you wrote above in the email 
             (30 seconds max) - repeat your phone # slowly in your message.
             If you don't get a call back within 1-2 business days, then maybe leave 1 more message and send
             1 more email.  If no response after 1-2 more days then maybe mail a brochure to them.
             If no response, then closely look at your pricing and sales pitch to see if they can be improved or 
             more personalized.
        b. If you get a person, tell them who you are and you are responding to their email request.
              Your sales pitch is SO CRITICAL here as your first impression usually determines the sale within
               the first 2 minutes of the call.  
               (we'll try to cover good sales pitches in a future article for advertisers only)
    3. Close the sale on the phone or send the client a brochure or video demo.  
        Follow up and close the sale.
    4. Variations on this type of lead
        a. If the client has a bunch of needs listed like Hall, Caterer, Photographer
               1. BE CAREFUL as many other vendors may try to call the same day.
                   Maybe email right away and call the next day (leave a message) 
                   Don't try calling too many times in the same day.
               2. It is OK to email maybe 1x every 3-4 days with personalized messages as their date
                   is coming up fast.
               3. If you have extra time, consider helping them find a hall.  They'll love you for it and so will the hall!

B. Wedding , 12 months from now, has only DJ for the services requested.
    1. Email the client a personalized email (if they supplied their email address)
        "Dear NAME,     We would love to provide DJ services for your event on EVENT DATE.  (then
        describe a bit about your company and include your web site link like this http://www.alltimefavorites.com 
        (don't forget the http:// in front of it)
    2. Call the client 10-30 minutes later ONLY IF THEY SAID BOOK ASAP
        (otherwise maybe wait 2-5 days before your first call)
        2a. If you get a machine, just leave a polite message like one you wrote above in the email 
             (30 seconds max) - repeat your phone # slowly in your message.
             If you don't get a call back within 1-2 business days, then maybe leave 1 more message and send
             1 more email.  If no response after 1-2 more days then maybe mail a brochure to them.
             If no response, then closely look at your pricing and sales pitch to see if they can be improved or 
             more personalized.
        2b. If you get a person, tell them who you are and you are responding to their email request.
              Your sales pitch is SO CRITICAL here as your first impression usually determines the sale within
               the first 2 minutes of the call.  
               (we'll try to cover good sales pitches in a future article for advertisers only)
        3c. Another good option is to mail them a personalized cover letter along with a brochure.
              Do not waste sending a videotape or DVD demo at this stage as you need to talk to the client
              before sending a brochure UNLESS it is a slow date for bookings and you want to get anything 
              you can on that date.
    3. Follow up with trying to call the client every 10 days by phone (don't leave a message more than 1 time)
        and email them personalized messages every 2-3 weeks for then next 3 to 8 months at most.
    4. When they call back or your reach them be sure to ask them 
        "HOW SOON ARE YOU LOOKING TO BOOK YOUR DJ?".  This question politely sets the timeline
        for you to call the client back and they very much appreciate it.  For corporate clients this is a requirement!
    5. Close the sale and send the contract.
    6. Variations on this type of lead
        a. If the client has a bunch of needs listed like Hall, Caterer, Photographer
               1. Especially if they do not have a hall yet,  DO NOT CALL them ASAP
                    wait maybe 1-3 weeks before you call them as they need a hall first.
                    Guessing the bride/groom timeline is the most important thing.
               2. Cool it on the # of initial emails, maybe 1 within the first week but not the day you get the lead as 
                   halls will be emailing the client and you may get lost in the shuffle.
                   Follow up emails can be 1x for every 2-3 weeks and phone calls maybe 1st one after 1-3 weeks.
               3. If you have extra time, consider helping them find a hall.  They'll love you for it and so will the hall!

C. If you find they went with another company DO NOT HANG UP
   
1. Ask them "May I ask who you booked?"
    2. Ask them "Was there anything we did wrong?"
    3. Ask them "May I ask why you picked "XYZ COMPANY"?
    
    This information is SO CRITICAL to analyzing why your not getting the sale.  
    It could be price, but over 50% of the time it is NOT low price that made the difference.
    Most vendors are afraid to ask these simple questions and you will see that over 50% of the
    clients will answer them but ONLY if you include the question #2 to get the sympathetic mood going.

    50% of the time when you lose to low prices it is because you did not sell yourself properly.
    The other 50% of the time the customer just did not have the budget for what you charge.

    After you get who you lost to and why, you may want to closely look at that information to see if there 
    is a logical reason why you are losing to a certain competitor.  
    Have someone SHOP them by phone (not you) and pose as a client to see how they pitch over the phone.
    This is an excellent chance to see how to win they way they do.  Ask them to send a brochure (use
    a friends address).  Remember to let them know in a few days that you have found someone else 
    for your event so they don't tie up real resources during your "shop call".

D. Wedding , over 2 years from now, has only DJ for the services requested.
    1. Email the client a personalized email (if they supplied their email address)
        "Dear NAME,     We would love to provide DJ services for your event on EVENT DATE.  (then
        describe a bit about your company and include your web site link like this http://www.alltimefavorites.com 
        (don't forget the http:// in front of it)
    2. Call the client 10-30 minutes later ONLY IF THEY SAID BOOK ASAP
        (otherwise maybe wait 1-2 weeks before your first call)
        2a. If you get a machine, just leave a polite message like one you wrote above in the email 
             (30 seconds max) - repeat your phone # slowly in your message.
             If you don't get a call back within 1 week, then maybe leave 1 more message and send
             1 more email.  If no response after 1-2 more days then maybe mail a brochure to them.
             If no response, then closely look at your pricing and sales pitch to see if they can be improved or 
             more personalized.
        2b. If you get a person, tell them who you are and you are responding to their email request.
              Your sales pitch is SO CRITICAL here as your first impression usually determines the sale within
               the first 2 minutes of the call.   FIND OUT WHEN THEY ARE PLANNING ON PURCHASING.
               (we'll try to cover good sales pitches in a future article for advertisers only)
        3c. Another good option is to mail them a personalized cover letter along with a brochure.
              Do not waste sending a videotape or DVD demo at this stage as you need to talk to the client
              before sending a brochure UNLESS it is a slow date for bookings and you want to get anything 
              you can on that date.
    3. Follow up with trying to call the client every month by phone (don't leave a message more than 1 time)
        and email them personalized messages every 4 weeks until about 1 year out from the event date. 
        If you have not heard from them by now, you won't probably.
    4. When they call back or your reach them be sure to ask them 
        "HOW SOON ARE YOU LOOKING TO BOOK YOUR DJ?".  This question politely sets the timeline
        for you to call the client back and they very much appreciate it.  For corporate clients this is a requirement!
    5. Send a brochure or video if needed then close the sale and send the contract.
    6. Variations on this type of lead
        a. If the client has a bunch of needs listed like Hall, Caterer, Photographer
               1. Especially if they do not have a hall yet,  DO NOT CALL them ASAP
                    wait maybe 4-6 weeks before you call them as they need a hall first.
                    Guessing the bride/groom timeline is the most important thing.
               2. Cool it on the # of initial emails, maybe 1 within the first week but not the day you get the lead as 
                   halls will be emailing the client and you WILL get lost in their emails.
                   Follow up emails can be 1x for every 2-3 weeks starting after the 3rd week. 
                   Then phone calls maybe 1st one after 1 month following up 1x month until you reach them or 
                   until it gets 1 year away from the event date.
               3. If you have extra time, consider helping them find a hall.  They'll love you for it and so will the hall!
    
CURRENT FACTS: 
10% of the people use our request form just to see if there current DJ is a good price.
 5% of the people just fill stuff out for the fun of it (like high school projects or competitors)
10% of people put completely false phone # and email addresses.
75% are legitimate leads.

VERY IMPORTANT:  (this paragraph was added June 2, 2003)
If a client is looking for your service and they have a lot of other needs listed in their request (such as catering, photographers, entertainment, cakes) and their event is 2 years away, those leads can be turned into bookings if you stay in touch maybe monthly or every other month for the next 1.5 years.    MANY vendors report excellent sales 2-3 months AFTER they received the lead from us for events 9-12 months out and they booked them based on sending personalized, nice "keep in touch" type messages every 2-4 weeks up to 2 months prior to the event date (the date to stop sending emails is dependent on what type of product/service you offer).  The main point is keeping in touch beyond 2 weeks after you get the lead is the key to success.  Fact: About 90% of clients NEVER respond to the first 3 emails as they respond only when they are really ready to shop for your product/service for their event.  Never respond to any client without personalizing the email for example; Dear NAME and personalized subject line (Your September 12 wedding), or your emails will rarely be responded to or opened.


Why do all the "bottom-feeders" (low price vendors) seem to be getting all the jobs?
"Bottom-Feeder"
-A DJ or other vendor who prices themselves significantly lower than the market rates
for similar services.  They do this on a regular basis just to get any job they can while telling the client their 
services are the same as others in the market when in fact they are offering much less in quality equipment and
experience.   All Time Favorites will remove any "Bottom-Feeder" member caught doing this as it only hurts the client and the industry in general.

A "Bottom-Feeder" is NOT someone who has a smaller sound system, limited or no lights, 
but has a lot of professional experience, conducts themselves professionally, and is pricing their services
based on what they are providing.   

For example (having 18+ years in event planning) I think vendors lose to bottom-feeders a few ways:
1. The client only wants very simple services such as a smaller sound system, no lights and limited interaction.
    They can easily hire someone professional for their event at low prices that seem like "Bottom-Feeders" but
    they are really pricing their services based on what they are offering.  The way to compete with these DJs is
    to scale back your equipment and match what they do at their price OR make sure the customer knows they
    are asking for a very simple limited amount of services compared to what you offer and see if they really want
    to go the "basic" route or order your service with more features.
2.
The client does not have the budget for your higher price DJ service.
    The only way to beat this one without lowering your rates is to help them trim the fat off of another part of 
    their event such as the $1500 wedding cake.  It takes educating them that your part is very important and 
    they can still have a great cake at a lower price (maybe refer them another cake vendor) 
    and then they'll have the money to shift over to your DJ services. 
    Public perception of the rates are also affected by the general industry image, bridal planner magazine articles, 
    other websites, and economic conditions (which are not very good in February 2003 at this time).
    Be careful about cramming your top-end show down a clients throat when all they really want is a simple 
    show with limited sound and lights.  Huge and tons of interaction is not always what every client wants.
3. The client that DOES have the budget has not received a good enough sales pitch from a 
    vendor to show the differences in quality.  This is a sales technique problem of the higher quality vendor.   A 
    vendor has to show the client how to shop for a DJ and not just give them a sales pitch.  
    If you educate them about how to shop for a quality DJ, they will usually end up picking you.
    Blow away your competitors by showing how good you are using DVD demos, Video demos, 
    or on-line streaming video demos so they can see the quality (bottom-feeders do not have these tools!)
    Most vendors who are losing business never really take the time to ask the client how they want it during
    the first sales pitch on the phone or email.  Remember also to make sure what package of services you are
    selling is what the client wants and needs and not just based on what you think is cool for every event.
    See our "how to hire" tips guide used by clients and shown on our DJ pages at
    www.alltimefavorites.com/dj.htm    If you need help getting streaming video on-line email us.
4. As an entertainment agency selling DJs and event services, I have been able to outsell bottom-feeders 
    8 out of 10 times when the client has the budget for my services and it matches what they want.

Should you send a video or DVD demo to every lead?  
    NO, only after talking to them by phone or email and determining the quality of the lead.

MYTH:
ATF leads are just low price shoppers.
   
Even though we ask clients to put their budgets into the request form, many are VERY WORRIED 
    about giving you a number and having you take every penny.  Most people feel ripped off this way
    and we find that many DJ's will sell their show for whatever the client said they had.
    YES, many of the clients put TOO LOW of a budget to be safe and in economic tuff times they will
    choose the lower numbers.  
    However, after we have talked to some of these clients their reasons were
    #1-Worried about you taking their entire budget 
    #2-They did not have the TIME to make a budget decision at this time so they picked a low $
    After talking with random samples of leads, 75% of them raised their budget 
        closer to more normal numbers for what they were shopping for.
   
Many examples we get include catering at $1000.00 for 250 people.  The client did not take time
        to figure out the budget when filling out the form.  In almost ALL cases the client revises it after
        you talk to them to a more normal range.

TIPS:
Getting answering machines all the time when you call leads?    
   
Most phone companies allow you to block your "call identification" to the person
    you are calling by pressing *67  before you dial the number.  Customers sometimes
    screen every call and won't pick up if they don't know who is calling but they will
    pick up if they see "private caller" instead which is what most *67 calls display.
In every email you send, type near the top of your message:
    "Please print this for easy reference and place this in your event planning folder."
Email Subject Line Suggestions: They will never open it if all it says "Wedding DJ" or "DJ"
    We'd love to DJ your wedding on September 13th 2003
    Yes, we have excellent DJ's available for your wedding September 13th 2003
    Beautiful Flowers for your wedding March 16 2003
    Trade Show booth design experts for your July Convention in NYC
Email Content Requirements
   
Include your Company Name, Phone # and Web site link at the bottom of EVERY EMAIL
    If you do not, your client won't take the time to look it up anywhere.
    Use http://     in front of your web address to make it a clickable link in most email programs.
Review your competitors on our site
   
Check out their web pages and see who your competition is.
    Try to look through the "customer's eyes" when viewing their site and yours.
Not have a web site?
   
This is almost as important as a phone line. Order one today from www.accsi.com .   

Absolute ways to KILL a sale
Calling the client 6 times the same day but hanging up when you get the machine.
    Most people have caller ID and won't book you because your a pest.
Calling a client and spending the first 3 minutes telling them how great your service is and running     
through the entire list of services you offer.
    People don't want a commercial first.  Ask them what they want in a DJ before you start rattling
    off the list of things you provide.  Take some sales courses to learn the proper techniques.
Send people to your website where you have POP UP ADVERTISEMENTS
  
  If you host your site on a server that has pop-up ads every time someone visits, you will not get
    very many clients as clients dislike them.  Get a host that does not have them and start seeing a huge
    improvement in customer satisfaction.



Tell us what is working and what is not
Please forward any examples or tips back to us so that this whole system works for everyone.
email suggestions to customerservice@alltimefavorites.com   (be detailed...include examples)
Note: All suggestions received become the property of All Time Favorites and it is considered that
all compensation for ideas/suggestions is waived.

NO COPIES may be re-printed of this tutorial without permission from All Time Favorites.
(C) 2004 All Time Favorites Inc.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

We may put up a special paid advertiser expanded sales tips/training section based on the number who want it.

Thank you!