Have you ever tried to sell tickets to a workshop, training event, expo or product launch? When is the last time you ran an event and just barely broke even? Regardless of what business you are in (retail, manufacturing, trade, coaching, distribution, etc.), VIP events, seminars and workshops are an excellent opportunity to build client relationships, add value and increase your sales and bottom line. Learning how to develop, promote and run them effectively could mean thousands of dollars to you in profit.
However, promoting an event or workshop is vastly different from raising the profile of a business and thus requires a completely different strategy.
Here’s my Top 5 Tips to making your next event an overwhelming success.
1. Get clear about WHY you are holding this event
Are you looking for direct product sales and referrals or are you simply looking for an opportunity to train/educate your customers and strengthen relationships? Being clear about your intention upfront can save you a lot of time and money. If you are looking for product sales, then spend the bulk of your time on explaining the benefits and building offers that are irresistible. Give away the tickets (if you have to) but make sure the room is packed and that you have made it easy (and risk free) to buy from you.
If you intend to educate and build relationships, spend the bulk of your time ensuring that you deliver value. Err on the side of over-delivering in terms of providing information and value for money. Ensure that all of your clients attend and incentivise them to bring a friend. If ticket sales or bookings are low, consider a teleconference (or a booking incentive) for people to get to know you and your products/services. I find many clients relax and give better presentations once they take the sales pressure off of themselves and concentrate on building long-term relationships with their customers and potential customers.
2. Focus on your #1 asset
No matter what product or service you are selling, your #1 asset is your database/list. It represents the permission that you have gained to speak to them about what you do and to add value by providing information. Be careful to respect the consent that has been entrusted to you — it’s not a license to flog endless reams of offers and products. View it as a long-term relationship. Focus your attention on adding value and communicating regularly and consistently… and the rest will follow.
3. Do your research
Is there really a demand for the workshop or event that you are planning? How do you know? Have you considered asking your target market what they want?
Remember, he who is most flexible and open to change wins. Just because something worked or was hot last year doesn’t mean that it is still relevant today. Success lies in your ability to spot trends and give your customers what they want, when they want it.
4. I’ll scratch yours if you scratch mine…
Stop trying to do everything yourself! Knowing who to ask and asking for help are the two best skills that you can learn in your business. Look for people who have access to the kind of people you want to reach (i.e. your ideal target market) and be prepared to make it worth their while. Everyone wants to know WIFM (what’s in it for me?). Depending upon the strategic potential, you may want to consider a commission or affiliate fee, a free place or table at your event, assistance with another project, the opportunity to present an offer to your attendees, etc. Think of this as a chance to develop a mutually beneficial relationship for the long term.
5. Don’t be afraid to give away something for FREE
Pre-event teleconferences and early booking offers (i.e. if you book before X date you will receive an audio CD and an eBook worth $X, FREE of charge). Both of these are an excellent way to double or triple your registrations and they cost you very little in time or money to do. The more value you provide, the more likely prospects will part with their hard-earned cash to attend your event.
Rhondalynn Korolak is a lawyer, chartered accountant, clinical hypnotherapist and Master of NLP and is an expert at business acceleration and the power of influence. She is the author of On The Shoulders of Giants and Financial Foreplay.