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How can you work cold leads and lists? - Alan Berg, CSP

How can you work cold leads and lists?

This is another listener suggestion, this time from Meg in Las Vegas. They asked if I could do an episode on working cold leads. For this episode, I’m going to assume they mean wedding expo leads, or lists you might get by being referred by a venue or another industry partner. They send you a list of the people they’ve booked, and you get a chance to reach out to them… but they haven’t yet asked for you to contact them. As I started my career in the wedding industry selling magazine ads that came with a mailing list, and I attended countless shows as an exhibitor, this brings me back to my roots!

Listen to this new 13-minute episode for ideas that you can use when you get a list from a wedding expo or other source.

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– Are you working lists and cold leads? Listen to this episode for some ideas. 

Hi, it’s Alan Berg. Welcome back to another episode of the “Wedding Business Solutions” podcast. This was another listener suggestion, this time from Meg in Las Vegas, who asked me if I would do an episode on cold leads. Now, I believe what they meant was not cold like they’ve ghosted you cold ’cause I’ve spoken about that a lot and I’ve written books about that like “Why Are They Ghosting Me?” That’s one of my books. But in terms of like a wedding show leads, or if you are recommended by another provider, a venue or somebody who gives you leads of people that have booked them, that could be another way to do this. 

So let’s differentiate the different types first and then we can get into a little bit of how to respond to these. So a cold lead, a truly cold lead would be you bought a list or got a list somewhere. They don’t know that you exist or barely know that you might exist, and you’re just going to take this list and you’re going to work this list and try to get people to be interested in doing business with you. A wedding show list could be that, although if you listen to the episode I did quite a while ago on the six steps to wedding shows success, you’ll see that, if they knew that you were an exhibitor at this particular expo, that’s not as cold, right? That’s not the same as someone who stopped by your booth, had a conversation with them, you’re following up ’cause that’s not cold. 

But it could be a list of people that walked through the door and maybe they stopped by your booth, maybe they didn’t, who knows? And same thing, if someone booked a venue let’s say, and you’re on a list and they give you a list of the people that have booked them, do they know that you exist? Did they pay attention to the list of the preferred vendors that they have, who they refer? Maybe they have to use you or one of the other ones in your category, or maybe you’re just referred by them. Did they give you an endorsement? We don’t know any of that stuff. 

So it could kind of be cold that way. So what is your goal? Your goal is to get them to A, know you exist, ’cause it is the four steps to more sales. Get their attention, then you get an inquiry, then you have a conversation, then you make the sale. So the first is to get them know that you exist. So don’t try to do too much in your first exposure with them. Your first exposure whether it’s an email, whether it’s a phone call, whether it’s a direct mail piece, is to get their attention to get them to want to take the next step. You’ve heard me say this time and time again that we’re not trying to rush the process here, so please don’t try to rush the process. We’re trying to get them to the next step. 

So if you are mailing email something or if even if you’re doing a direct mail something, your goal is to get them to take the next step which would then be going to a particular website, sending you an email, calling you, scanning a QR code to take you to do one of those pages, whatever. It’s action, you’re trying to get them to take an action. So make it simple, clear and give them why they are taking that action. 

So you don’t want them to think that now I’m going to talk to a salesperson, ’cause they don’t want to talk to a salesperson. They want results and you want them to feel like you can provide them with great results for your particular product or service. That’s your goal. You’re not trying to get them to the sale. You don’t go from, oh, I got your email, now I want to buy from you. Did that occasionally happen? Yeah, but they probably have to have some prior exposure with you, or you’re selling a product or something that doesn’t require more than, yes, I want this and I need this many or whatever it is. More likely than not it’s they’re going to want to find out more.

And this is kind of like an elevator pitch. I know I’ve spoken about this as well, but an elevator pitch is not 30 seconds, an elevator pitch is five seconds, seven seconds, eight seconds to get someone to want to know more. You want them to as a speaker friend of mine, Brian Walter says, you want it to kind of do that Scooby-Doo, right? That’s what you’re looking for is tell me more. So that first thing you send them, email, postcard, phone call, is to get them to say tell me more about this. So give them why.

So if it’s an email, if it’s a postcard. I say postcard ’cause we do mail, I prefer postcards even if they’re big postcards to envelope stuff because they can get to the message immediately without having to open it. They actually have to look at it before deciding whether to keep it or throw it in the recycle bin, right? So an email subject line matters, who it’s coming from matters. So preferably not from info at, all right, preferably from a person or weddings ad or something. If it’s a wedding or or mitzvah or whatever. Subject line matters hugely. I’m doing so much secret shopping these days. 

This is coming out right around Wedding MBA, maybe a little before, a little after, I forget. And I’m doing a presentation there on my experience from secret shopping. And there are so many bad, bad subject lines. When we scan through the messages in our inboxes, we look at the subject line and who sent it. And with a bad subject line they’re going to skip you and go to somebody that has a better subject line. So pay attention to that. If you have a very long subject line it might be getting cut off. You might think this is a great subject line, but they’re only seeing half of it ’cause it’s getting cut off. Putting their name in the subject line will make them notice it more as well. Is the message getting read at all, or is there so much in there that they can’t even focus on it? It’s longer than one screen, it’s big blocks of text, right? 

If you’re sending them images and things whether they’re in the message or whether it’s a video or whatever, have you looked at it on a phone? I mean, you might design it on a laptop or a desktop but have you looked at it on a phone? And now this little tiny video and will they turn it landscape to see it bigger? And is it even good enough there or does it need to be bigger because they can’t make out the detail? So put yourself in their shoes a little bit and think, is there one goal of this piece? And is it clear that they’re supposed to click this button to go to this website, to get pricing, to check availability, to do whatever it is. And then when they get there does it give them mono focused? I’ve said this on the show that I did about wedding expos. Don’t send them to your homepage. Create a landing page on your website, can be a hidden page that they have to have the link to get there. Where it speaks specifically about that same message. 

So like when I do Wedding MBA or Catersource or one of those big shows, I have a landing page and I offer people my slides if they’ll go to that show or go to that page. So they have to go to that page and on that page they can click right away and get the slides for free just ’cause I offered that. But there’s a contact form on that page and there’s info about my books on that page and my podcast and things, all the other things that I want them to do. And the hook is, hey, you can have this. So what do your customers want? They want pricing, they want packages, they want more information. Are you giving them a why when they get there or is it just a list of services, maybe even a list of prices and things? And now, yes, they have that stuff but are they going to contact you, or are they going to move on to the next one? 

So let’s think again about what am I doing with this cold lead? The purpose of my postcard in the mail, the purpose of my email is to get them to want to find out more about how we, specifically we, can give them the results that they want for their event. Wedding, , mitzvah, fundraiser, school event, whatever it is that you’re doing, whatever you’re sending out about, right? For me when I do prospecting, and I don’t do a lot of prospecting these days ’cause 2019 I did a little too much, actually probably 2018, filled my calendar too much. Kind of like year 2022 and ended up being away 178 nights that year, literally almost half the year. And it’s like, I don’t want to do that again. 

So I balance it. I don’t do a lot of prospecting. I do respond to leads and I do follow up on leads. I actually just did that yesterday with a bunch of them. And I had somebody come back and said, I love how you keep following up. I love how you send me the short message with the one question. Just like I teach, I do practice what I preach. But I don’t do a lot of prospecting. But when I do and when I have in the past, I love taking a smaller subset and doing a combination of direct mail and email because direct mail is hard to ignore, right? Not everybody goes through their mailbox every day which I didn’t understand that ’cause we do in our house but we’re also not the demographic of a couple getting married. But I know that my sons who are in that demographic, they go to the mailbox, maybe not every day, but they’re going to go. When you go how many pieces are in there for your wedding or for your corporate event or whatever it is? Probably none, probably just the one. 

You can get this exclusive attention with great imagery and great messaging and then good calls to action. And that’s the key is visually is it getting their attention? First, because we’re humans, we’re visual. Then is the messaging clear and concise? Are you just loading it with too much? And then are there calls to action that are telling them why they’re taking the action not just what the action is you want them to take, right? Call or contact us today is a call to action, to check availability, to get a price quote, or to speak to one of our wedding specialists, call, email, or contact us today. That is a specific call to action, that’s going to get you more than the other will because why am I contacting you? They have guess what it is this way you’re being specific. 

So dealing with cold leads, Meg, I know you asked about this. It requires you to think about what you want them to do, what the action you want them to take. Being clear about that action, being mono messaged on the piece. So if you are let’s say an entertainment company and you do DJ, photo booth and lighting and all kinds of other stuff, maybe you should be talking about the thing that would be booked be first which would be entertainment, talk about that first. And then you can mention you do the other stuff. But I would really go after that, get the inquiry and then you could tell them about the other stuff. And then you might want to do separate mailings for lighting or for photo booth if you do them if they don’t book you for DJ as well. 

And same thing for any of you that has multiple things you do if you’re a dress shop and you also have bridesmaids and you also have tuxedos and things like that in suits, you might want to go after the thing that gets booked first and then you could do separate mailings later for those other things so that you’re not trying to dump everything all at once. You’re trying to go mono focused on it because the clearer the message, the more simplified the message, the more clear the call to action and why they’re doing it. Not just what, and why they should choose you not just what you do, you’re going to get a better response on that. 

And then you’re going to just have to do it multiple times. Not everybody is going to respond to the first one. Not everybody is going to respond to the second one, or the third, or the fourth or the fifth. And you’ll hear me say this just time and time again. If you don’t ask the answer’s always no. So follow up again, follow up again, follow up again, try different messages, try different subject lines, test different messages and subject lines, different visuals inside. Don’t put these great graphics inside there without testing it on your phone to see what it looks like ’cause it just may not look the same, may not have that same impact, right? And look on different phones, different devices, different email programs. I have Gmail, Apple Mail and Outlook on my phone and I’ll open up the same email in all three of those programs to see ’cause some of them show more of the subject line, some show less, things like that. 

So Meg, thanks for the suggestion. Keep it mono focused. Keep the subject line great, the imaging great if you’re doing a postcard. Great images of real people, great looks on their faces, they’re having a great time at the event, whatever it is that you’re trying to sell there. And just do it more because most of your competitors aren’t. Hope that helps. Thanks, keep the suggestions coming.

I’m Alan Berg. Thanks for listening. If you have any questions about this or if you’d like to suggest other topics for “The Wedding Business Solutions Podcast” please let me know. My email is [email protected]. Look forward to seeing you on the next episode. Thanks.

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