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OMG how do you keep filling your rooms?!

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I have several arms to my business, but one of the main ones is the events we run. We’re currently in the process of filling a three day event and have been using low-cost preview events to do this. At every single preview event, I get someone asking me,

“How do you keep filling your rooms?!”

It’s an interesting question and one that might not seem relevant if you don’t do events as part of your sales funnel. However, the principles that lie behind filling a room are generally the same principles that lie behind getting more clients in your funnel.

Also, events – if you’re not doing ’em, you should do more of ’em! I find events a very effective way of using my time to close sales. I mean, look – out of every 10 people you go and see, maybe two or three are going to buy.

Let’s say you spend an hour with each (and don’t even get me started on travel time!). That means you spend 10 hours to get two clients. Now, if you had all of those 10 people in a room for an hour to make your presentation, you would still close the two who were going to close; you just don’t have to spend time on the other eight – thus saving you eight hours and all of the travel time.

If you’re a confident public speaker and know how to close a deal from stage, events are an awesome way to streamline your sales process.

My Top 5 Tips for Filling a Room (or your sales funnel!):

#1 – Get on the phone!

I know it probably seems scary if you’ve never done it before, but getting on the phone is the second best way to sell anything. Events, of course, are the first. Actually, a brief aside – average conversion rates:

From Stage – 10-40%
On the Phone – 10-20%
On the Internet – 3-5%

I know it seems easier to just send an email or to spam the social networking sites, but you simply won’t get the same kind of result. Especially in this day and age when everyone is avoiding talking to one another – the human touch is often highly appreciated.

#2 – Partnerships are everything

People are more likely not only to turn up but to buy from you on the basis of a recommendation of someone they trust. We’ve been told over and over again that referrals are the best way to get new business – and this goes just as much for putting people in your rooms as it does for selling them in any other way.

#3 – Don’t be shy of the value you represent

Whether you’re doing a free event or a paid event, you need to know the unique value that you provide and communicate that to people.

Here’s the thing, even if your event costs ‘nothing’ it still costs ‘something’ – you’re asking people to take time out of their lives and spend it with you. Regardless of whether it costs them a cent or not, you’d damn well provide something that’s worth their time.

In 2001 as a huge Buffy fan, I went to see the movie Valentine starring David Boreanaz (AKA Angel, AKA at the time, love and light of my life) based purely on the fact he was in it. I won’t recap the horror that is that movie, but suffice to say the highlight is Denise (wall of teeth) Richards dying. After two hours in the cinema, I felt cheated. The money was never the issue. I’ve retained that ticket stub and on the off chance that I ever get the opportunity to meet David, I will have him sign it:

“Dear Leela, IOU 2 hours of your life. Sorry. David Boreanaz.”

Make it worth their time!

#4 – Confirm, Confirm, Confirm!

There’s an inevitable drop off rate with events – the lower the price point, the higher the drop off rate.

A phone call the day before the event to confirm not only attendance, but also to ensure people have the venue details can up your turn-up rate by 20-30 percent.

#5 – Be Real

All of this is great, but if you’re not congruent and authentic, you’re screwed. Sure, you might make a little bit of money in the short-term, but as the old adage goes, “Everyone knows everything” – sooner or later you’ll get busted.

When I first started presenting, I was very focused on being professional and proper – until a good friend (bless her!) said to me, “Leela – get yer Tatts out!” She was right – trying to be other than what I am was not only exhausting, it wasn’t getting me results. Now I dress how I wanna dress, talk how I wanna talk, say things that are grossly inappropriate – and convert like crazy.

Leela Cosgrove is Managing Director of Business Writers Anonymous, focused on sales, marketing and business development. She is also a firewalker, has a black-belt in Tae Kwon Do, a penchant for tattoos, and enjoys bands such as Rammstein, Li Bach, Marilyn Manson, Pennywise and Bad Religion.

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