Like anything else in sales, there are tweaks and fine tuning that creates a set of best practices. It's no different when you drive attendance to your sales events. After you've got the presenting part down pat, and the logistics of event management, then the only goal is to increase event attendance.
It certainly is a tough thing to get people to put their keys in the car and drive somewhere they hadn't originally planned on being. I recently did a post called Why Trade Show Sales Leads are Awful...Unless You Qualify Them. As I went back and looked at the source article by Mike Thimmesch, 100 Trade Show Lead Generation Ideas, I realized that many of the ideas he posits are perfectly sound bits of advice to ensure the value of your sales events and even increase event registration for many event formats (not just trade shows).
Here are some of the best pieces of advice that I found universally applicable whether you are planning a seminar, lunch & learn, or otherwise:
- Email invitation to a pre-show microsite with targeted messages and offers
- Use social media to reach more attendees.
- Send half of something of value to attendees before the event, and promise to give the other half at the event.
- Put your event registration URL on all your outgoing materials: email, mail, ads, website.
- Invite top prospects to lunch or dinner (or other one-on-one session) after the event.
- Post your event schedule on your website with a link to the event registration page.
- Introduce a new product at the trade show - tell potential attendees that they will be part of an "inside group" that will know about it first.
- Hold a contest to reward the staffers who register the highest quantity of qualified leads.
- Build in a Q&A session - ask visitors open-ended questions and listen to their answers.
- Instead of giving away all literature, offer to mail it to attendees, and get their updated contact info.
Ultimately, the key is to leverage the event attendance into top-line sales funnel opportunities. Stay tuned for more blog articles about lead generation in an event model. We've registered over 10,000 attendees for various sales events worldwide and look forward to sharing that experience with you.