In the business technology world, we've found that more and more companies are adopting a tried and tested sales model. Sales EVENTS.
Whether you choose to host a luncheon at a nice restaurant with the allure of free food and information or whether you are conducting a full-blown seminar at a five-star hotel, one thing is definitely true: sales events lower your cost per sale dramatically.
Wouldn't it be cool to walk into a room where 30 people are waiting for you to give them some valuable information and tell them about your product? So, how do you increase your event attendance?
Here are our 10 best practices to get butts in the seats:
1. Identify your target customer.
This may be self-evident, but it cannot be overstated enough. Hone in on your target prospect profile and use all the list parameters that are available to you (revenue, employees, geography, etc.). It all starts with a good list and you're only as efficient as your list.
2. Allow a four-week timeframe for your calling campaign. Minimum.
You must have time to adjust your message/approach if need be. You don't want to find yourself in a position where you have a minimal number of attendees registered, and are left out of time to adjust and regroup.
3. Ask if any others in the organization would like to attend.
Imagine the two colleagues soundboarding with each other at the water cooler about your product or seminar content. Even better, what if you have all the decision-makers at your event rather than counting on that one person to go back and represent your offering to the others? More ears = GOOD. Always.
4. Purchase a door prize.
Some of our clients have had success in attracting event attendees with a door prize. Make sure that if you give a door prize away, it is worth the mention in a call. Events we've filled have featured door prizes including an iPad, and a laptop. High brow.
Expect that 50% of your registered attendees won't show. Don't stop calling and registering right up until the day before. The venue can always accommodate more seating.
6. Adopt a diligent attendance confirmation strategy.
Confirmation/invitation email should be sent IMMEDIATELY after registering the prospect.
7. The topic of your event should be pertinent and interesting to your target.
When developing your seminar content, your topic should be specific AND current, and most importantly an attractive topic to your target. You'll have better success with a luncheon about How Server Virtualization has Changed Mid-Market Business Practices, rather than The Future of Business Technology. Catch my drift?
8. Make sure your email invitation is impactful and informative.
Include the time and place of the seminar, and confirm that a seat has been reserved for them. Most importantly, reinforce the value of your event topic and drive it home. Don't cut corners here.
9. Have an upscale, easily-accessible venue with adequate parking arrangements.
We've found that it's best to choose a neutral site (NOT YOUR OFFICE!!). Your hotel or restaurant choice should be first-class. Don't be cheap here. Make sure the venue is not remote and accessible to a highway, if possible. Look into how attendees will park (valet, reserved spots, etc.) and make it easy for them.
10. Track your results.
As sales and marketing people, this is obvious, but it's another one of those things that can't be overstated. Key performance indicators for your event are: (1) number of registered attendees, (2) number actual attended, (3) number of opportunities added to the sales pipeline. Find out what your ratios are and aim to increase them.
Why do we know? Vendere Partners has significant success in driving attendance to our customers' events. In fact, we've filled seats in more than 150 business technology seminars, ranging from 20 attendees to as many as 500.