An interesting article from our guest blogger this month Megan Mackeigan on adding events into the prospecting mix.
The best part of my job is talking to event planners. We have been fortunate to work with some of the best and brightest in the industry that have shared their expertise and to help us develop OneLobby. I continue to connect with event professionals on a daily basis, and they have been gracious enough to share their insights.
I had an interesting meeting last week with an American company with several offices across the country. They have an event planner on staff that coordinates with all their offices to use events as prospecting activities for lead generation. In my last position we held similar events. We would invite potential clients to briefings that would provide not only an overview of who we are and what we did, but also helpful information they could take and implement immediately. Even our 10th Anniversary Party yielded business, we were able to engage past clients and prospects and develop new relationships that added to our top line.
I started to think about how independent planners could approach companies and sell the idea of events as revenue generators. How many companies out there lack the expertise of how to plan a successful meeting and are losing out on a valuable active prospecting tool because of it? As an independent planner, how can you communicate the value of events as revenue generators to your prospects?
In a day and age where technology is king, how much face time are we losing with prospects? Phone, email, Twitter, LinkedIn – these avenues have allowed us to be efficient and more easily connect. As efficient as we have become at making connections – are we really connecting? A study by Albert Mehrabian, Professor of Psychology at UCLA, tells us communication is broken down into three elements. Body language amounts for 55% of all communication, tonality for 38% and the actual words you say – only 7%.
So how much communication is lost when we’re not in front of each other? What cues do we miss out on when we are connecting via technology rather than having a face-to-face interaction? Events as prospecting activities allow you to connect with a large number of prospects at once and see immediate feedback in body language and facial expressions. What is the value of being able to read these signals and adjust your own communication style to engage an individual or crowd?
If your clients or potential clients aren’t using events as a prospecting activity, how can you help them come to the self-discovery that it would increase their top line revenue? We need to find out: what are they doing now? Cold calls, asking for referrals, e-marketing blasts – is that working? Are there things they wish they could achieve on a larger scale but haven’t yet with their current activities? Are they scheduling a lot of meetings with un-qualified prospects and spending hours traveling to those individual meetings? How much time and trouble could they save by holding an event where they could engage a room full of prospects and qualify those who merit a more meaningful conversation?
If the prospecting event cost ‘X’, what would they need to see as a result in order to feel like they got a good return on investment? Go through the process of developing an ROI strategy with them, and determine together if events are a valuable option. Ask questions that will help them come to the realization that you are what will make the event valuable.
Events bring people together. What is the value of face time with potential clients? What is the value of having an event go off without a hitch because a professional planned it? That’s for you to know, and your clients to find out.
Megan Mackeigan, One Lobby. OneLobby is a cloud-based, collaborative event management platform for independent, corporate and enterprise event producers. For more information visit www.onelobby.com