Live Marketing Events Work
But Only If You Treat Them Like Direct Response Marketing
Every week I talk with sales people who are involved in setting up lunch & learns. In some cases they have an audience building, in other cases, they’re struggling to get people to attend. But in just about all cases, no thought has been given to the conversion plan.
A Word On Sponsoring Vendors and Why They Should Never Be Your Speaker
Your sponsors – Vendors who supply MDF, are looking for an ROI – Return on Investment. It’s interesting to me that their demands are more often than not, to get a speaking slot. I guess they think that by speaking they have more control over the message. But the truth is, their message is not designed to convert anyone to a sale.
They’re top direct sales people likely have great selling skills, but those attending your event most likely don’t. That doesn’t mean they aren’t great channel managers or SEs, and it doesn’t ding their technical knowledge. It simply means they don’t really know how to close a CIO or small business owner. Why should they. It’s not in their job description. (Of course some vendor partners do staff one or two keynote speakers – but getting one of them assigned to your account is not easy.)
Do You Have A Solid Conversion Plan?
Direct Response means, there’s a conversion plan, and you plan to measure it. I was recently talking to a channel manager about events. He made the statement, ” We pay for this – it doesn’t cost the reseller anything!” Wow, very short sighted. It’s expensive to run an event. Even if the reseller has no cash expenses. The time spent on the phone, writing invitations, and even attending they event, is costly to the hosting company. Everyone has skin in the game. So what’s the conversion plan? If it’s good, the ROI is strong and the cost is meaningless. It’s an investment with a strong return, like buying land in a growing city.
In just about every case, when I ask what the event is suppose to drive, the answer is – conversations or call backs. “We hope they’ll call us when they have a need.”
Don’t count on it. Out of sight, out of mind. The fact is, they have a need right now – it’s security. There may be other needs across the group, but this one is predictable in every account. The question is, can you move them in your one hour meeting?
Selling From The Platform Has Already Been Tested
Selling from the platform is what speakers do. If you are doing a live event, you have a speaker. If they understand the speaking industry, they know that all speakers, at least the successful ones, have learned to sell from the front of the room. We call this, “Selling from the platform.”
It’s a proven fact that if you let your audience go home without closing, they won’t be back. Maybe 2%, but not enough to call the event a success. A speaker who closes less than 25% of his audience on something, goes home feeling like he failed to close. Does your event speaker feel the same?
Here are some statistics from my own experience. If I make an offer and follow up by phone, it’s going to be a 2% conversion. If I have them line up in the back or go online to order, it might be 20%. If I get them to sign up by asking them while they’re listening, my close goes up to 75 and sometimes 90 or 100%.
Don’t waste your time on events with no conversion plan. Instead, start with your conversion. Convert to what? Convert to something – my favorite is the assessment. It’s a next step that offers value and builds justification for future involvement.
Next ask, “What will cause my group to convert?” The speaker’s job is to make this conversion, but everything surrounding the speaker also encourages the conversion. So do you need 3 speakers to convert? No. You need one – the best one. Should your event go all day, or is one hour long enough. Test it. Find the sweet spot – where conversion numbers seem highest. Then, repeat the process over and over until you have a predictable sales model in place.
© 2016, David Stelzl