Written by: Adam Gray
Events are, and stay with me on this, the ultimate way of generating business. The fact that I get to meet you and have a conversation with you, get to know you and decide if I like you want want to do business with you is, in essence, perfect.
There are however a few practical issues that make events less than perfect.
- The cost of booking the event space. Whether it’s a $250,000 stand at CES to see 1000 prospects or a nice lunch for a single clients or prospect it is a disproportionately expensive form of marketing.
- It takes a lot of time. Planning is everything for events. No matter what the scale it’s crucial to have enough runway to make sure you get it right otherwise it can do more harm than good.
- It takes a lot of my/my people’s time. Whether I’m out of the office for half a day or 25% of the company is out of the office for a week there is a huge opportunity cost in running events.
- It might not always be a good time for the prospect. You have a clash, You’re away on holiday, it’s your child’s birthday…there are a million reasons why the date of my event is the wrong date for you.
Imagine now if you can do this bigger, better 24/7 for less cost? That’s pretty attractive right?
That’s social media. On LinkedIn alone there are 3/4 billion subscribers I can be talking to and not only is there no cost to scaling an “event”… it’s always the right time for you to consume my content. Whether that’s in the evening after your child’s birthday or watching my video whilst waiting at the airport for your holiday there’s always a window.
But like events (and it’s quite a good metaphor) you need to plan, you need to deploy people, they need to be authentic and they need to prepare.
Often people seem to think that there’s a shortcut. Anyone who is no longer a teenager should have learned by now that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
Surly there’s an app to “harvest my contacts” from LinkedIn and then give me a stream of hot leads? No. just like with events, there is no “app” that will get attendees to listen to my sales pitch…I need to build rapport and trust and demonstrate an ability to listen as well as talk.
We send our staff to events. We ask them to be friendly. We ask them to chat to people. We ask them to smile. We ask them to be themselves.
In a word. We ask them to be social.
Just like with real events it’s hard work. We need to get up early and work late. We need to want it. But like with events, when it goes well it goes REALLY well. We just “happen” to meet the right people and they just “happen” to want to listen to us.
So, what’s special about events? It’s being social. It’s what people do best. The only difference is that the best event isn’t in an exhibition hall near an airport any more, it’s in the world’s biggest exhibition hall…and it’s on your computer.