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I had several conversations with consulting company sales people yesterday regarding event planning.  By far, most lunch & learn events don’t appeal to business owners and executives.  They attract the IT and security people.  On the other hand, most of those I meet with tell me, they would like the business leaders there.

Whether you agree or not, I am adamant about getting business leaders to these educational events.  This is the group that must understand the liabilities and risks associated with data loss.  This is the group that has the power to turn things around.  But this is also the hardest group to attract.  Here are 5 reasons this group won’t attend your next event…fix these and you’ll be on the road to fixing your events:

  • You didn’t invite them.
  • They don’t want to sit through a session designed for a technical audience.
  • They don’t want to meet with a mixed group – executives and technicians.
  • They don’t want to be sold to – a product oriented meeting designed to sell technology gear.
  • They don’t know anyone on your attendee list – it must not be that important.

Fixing Your Customer Event

Consider making it invitation only.  And be willing to reach out to business leaders in your community by phone.  Be ready to explain the value of your event to their administrative assistant.

Make sure your program is designed to educate business leaders, not field engineers.  Executives don’t need to know about protocol stacks, virtualization technology, or techniques for securing cloud applications.  They  do want to understand industry trends, competitive advantage, and liability.

Don’t create an event that appeals to both technologists and business leaders.  It won’t work.  The business leaders will lose interest when you start talking tech – the technical people will not appreciate the high level approach needed to appeal to executives.  Their different roles in the organization demand a different learning track.

Stop selling!  If you think your vendor sponsors must be the center of attention, you’ve made a mistake.  They want the same thing you want – an opportunity to fix real business problems.  Show them a better way to accomplish this and your partners will support your efforts.  The business leaders I am talking about have the ability to buy, but they don’t want to be sold.  They do want education.  The sale will come later where real needs exist.

Focus on creating a networking event.  I talk with business leaders of technology companies all the time.  They spend their own money to attend all kinds of partner events.  Half the value, they tell me, is in the relationships and networking that takes place during the breaks.  Can this also be true of your lunch & learn events?  It can.

© 2012, David Stelzl

PS. My new book, Event Marketing, 7 Secrets to Profitability Using Lunch & Learns and Sales Events will be out in just one week – stay tuned! – Oct 10th.


My Next Workshop

I mentioned last week that I was in the final stages of editing my new ebook, Event Marketing: 7 Steps to Profitability Using Lunch & Learns and Sales Events…I have also been working on a companion course which I am looking to schedule the week of Oct 8th (Online). As a special bonus, I will be doing a complementary session sometime at the end of this month.  Why am I doing this?

The Problem With Lunch & Learns

Resellers have been doing Lunch & Learns for years – I am sure you have done  at least one of these.  If you’ve been in this industry very long, you have probably been to dozens.  I know there is some benefit to getting your name out, inviting your clients, and hopefully attracting a few more as prospects.  It can’t hurt.   I see road shows covering several cities, with 100 – 150 people attending across the program, and I think, “This could be good.”  But then I ask the big question – “What was your conversion rate?”  At this point I have disconnected with the person I am talking to – “What is a conversion rate?”

Conversion rate refers to the number of attendees that were not buying; who are now suddenly buying, just because they went to your event.  Are you getting back as much as you should be?  This workshop is geared to one kind of person – the marketing or sales professional who wants to maximize the potential marketing power of every JMF (Joint Marketing Funds) dollar that comes their way!  If you are getting some business, you can get more.  If you don’t see much at all from your events, I can drastically change that. Here are a few of the topics I will be covering:

  1. Re-engineering the event – a look at how to measure and maximize conversion rates.
  2. Effective event planning – writing the marcom, raising money, and every detail affecting the outcome.
  3. Marketing your event – who to reach, how to reach them, and even what to say by mail and phone.
  4. Topics & Speakers that work.
  5. Creating your conversion offer – exactly what to offer your audience in order to take them to the next step.
  6. Conducting the Event – I’ll give you every step you need, including the schedule to follow.  It’s a formula that works every time.
  7. The Follow Up Plan – exactly how to follow up, and how to multiply the number of deals that come out of a single event.

If you are trying to build a bigger territory, trying to reach higher level people in your accounts, and trying to shorten sales cycles, this workshop is for you.  I am working on the logistics this week and will be announcing them shortly.  Make sure you are subscribed to my blog and twitter – dstelzl – to receive updates on the complementary session and early discount sign-up.  I know there is a better way to sell – cold calling is dead in my opinion, and wasting a lot of people’s time.

As part of this you will receive the book I am just now finishing, and if you can’t make every session, I will be recording it for you!

© 2012, David Stelzl