Cold Calling Meeting Planners

PE of Connecticut asks:

I tried to contact a state dental association Executive Director today to learn more about opportunities to speak for their meetings.   She was out and they gave me her voice mail.   What do you recommend dental speakers do in this situation? Would you leave a voice mail and then follow up with an email, or just send an email?  What is the most effective protocol?

Dear PE,

Great question!   This reminds me of Jane Atkinson’s “Call-Send-Call” method for contacting meeting planners.  When contacting an organization to learn if your programs may be a good fit, phone is still usually the best method for making the initial contact.  

With this approach, identify your prospect, CALL them to ask about their event and when they are hiring, and establish their interest in your topic(s).   SEND your materials at an agreed upon time (during their planning stages). Then CALL to follow up at the time the planner indicated would be appropriate.

If you reach the planner’s voice mail instead of the person, I would leave a message with this same information and tell him/her you’ll send more information via email.  Email a brief introduction letter * and attach your speaker marketing packet.  You’ve now made two points of contact (phone and email).  Tickle a reminder to yourself for 1 – 2 weeks out and call the planner one more time in follow up then.  If you’ve called twice, left two voice messages and sent the email in the middle, this has provided the planner with enough opportunities to show interest in your programs.

At this point, if you’ve not heard back from the planner, it may be best to “let it go”.   Your programs may not be a good fit or the timing may not be right.  Always be courteous and understanding that it’s impossible for our dental meeting planners to reach out to every speaker that contacts them.   And don’t give up hope!  You may still hear from this planner down the road.  Or they may refer you to an event planning colleague.

If you’d like to learn more about fostering strong relationships with meeting planners, contact to book your complimentary consult.

* Email with ‘Speaker Intro Email Template’ in the subject line to receive your complimentary template.