Step 12: Client Events
Written by Dave Lorenzo on December 11, 2015 / 60 Second Sale
The next step in the free sales course is step twelve. The title of this step is: Client Events.
Step Twelve: Client Events
Now we’re into step twelve and that’s client events. This is where you can combine the opportunity to deepen your relationships with your clients as well as create and deepen some relationships with your evangelists. Remember we discussed at the outset, evangelists were people who would recommend you but didn’t necessarily invest in your services. This is an opportunity for you to put clients and evangelists together at some of the events that we’re going to talk about right now.
Events really serve as a time machine. They expedite, they deepen the relationship at a more rapid pace. Whenever you do an event and you have client in front of you for an extended period of time, more than an hour, maybe two and a half, three hours or even all day, your relationship takes on a new dimension. You spend time talking, maybe you have a personal conversation and a level of trust develops well beyond the initial level of trust that you had when the client first invested in your services.
I’m going to give you, as action items, a number of different types of events and you can use these both for your client relationships and for your relationships with your evangelists.
Action item number one is educational seminars. They’re educational seminars. Every month, you should be conducting an educational seminar exclusively for your clients and those people who refer business to you, for clients and evangelists. You can educate folks on the latest updates in your industry, new techniques that you’ve developed in your product or service delivery. You can educate them on changes that are coming in the future. You can educate them on how to make more money using your products or services. Education is valuable because teaching is leading. Whenever you get in front of a room, people view you as a leader. Leaders are influential. Influence is what our business is all about. If you have the client’s best interests at heart, you absolutely should exert your influence to do what’s in their best interest to solve problems and to add more value. As frequently as you can, we like to do them with our clients on a monthly basis. Educate your clients and your evangelist groups so that they can make more money and have better quality of life.
Action number two, client appreciation events or evangelist appreciation events. These are events you host where you just thank people for doing business with you. Most people do this around the holidays. I think that’s fine if you want to do that around the holidays and have a holiday party. Make sure that people know that they’re appreciated, that’s great. I would encourage you to do it also at the midpoint in the year as well. You want to do it either in the summer or early in the spring so that people don’t have such a full calendar. You’ll find that at holiday time, people, they’re often super busy and they may miss out on your appreciation event. I encourage you to do it. You could even do it quarterly if you like. Do it in the springtime as well. You can invite people to your office, have an open house, have some refreshments and food or do it at a nice restaurant. Invite people over, do something nice for folks who’ve invested in you. Say thank you.
Don’t force business down their throat at this event. It’s specifically an event to thank them for everything they’ve done for you over the years. It’s a connection for you to introduce clients to one another. They may be able to do business together. It’s a way for your evangelists to meet one another. They may be able to do business together. It’s just your way of of showing appreciation. Rest assured, business will come from this, but it’s not something that you force business down someone’s throat. It’s just simply an appreciation event, definitely needs to be done at a minimum of twice a year.
Action number three is your executive breakfasts. Each month you should do breakfast with a half dozen to a dozen influencers in your industry. These can be evangelists or clients. You should conduct a round table meeting where you discuss trends that are going on in your industry. This reinforces your leadership position, your leadership role in the industry and it helps you stay abreast of what’s new and what’s happening. You can invite clients to these as you see fit. You definitely can invite your evangelists to these as you like. It enhances your stature. It’s a way for you to grow in the industry and in the community and to assume a leadership position. These executive breakfasts can be hosted by you or you can get a sponsor and give that person a ten minute speaking opportunity at the meeting so that they can present their services. Either way, the executive breakfast is a phenomenal opportunity for you to introduce people to one another who can do business with each other. This enhances your stature. These could be clients. They could be evangelists or they could be a mix of both. This is a more intimate gathering than your education events and it’s something that you can conduct monthly. You can do it bi-monthly. You can do it quarterly. The more frequently you do it, the more relationships you’ll deepen and the more business that will come as a result.
Action number four is the learn at lunch. It’s one of my favorites. You invite yourself over to your client’s office. You bring lunch and you educate your clients work group on something that’s going on in the industry, something that they need to learn about. I particularly like this when you use a client organization to introduce you to other groups within their organization. Let’s say you’re working with the client’s group that works in New York and you want to be introduced to the work group that works in San Diego. You offer to a learn at lunch based on the findings of the work you’ve done in New York to the work group in San Diego. You offer to do it for free. You come in and do a two hour lunch that you present in the office and you also present the findings of your work that you’ve done with the New York group. This is an opportunity for the people in San Diego to see what you’ve done with their counterparts in New York.
Now, as an added bonus, you can take your client and make him a hero by bringing him with you to San Diego and co-presenting with the person within the company. Again, this is you expanding your relationship in an existing company by doing a learn at lunch inside a company, bringing your client with you to present and making him the hero. As a twist on this, you can do a learn at lunch at a different company and still take your client with you. Clients love to be treated as an expert. It will deepen your relationship with your client and it will also show the other folks, the folks that you’re pitching to, that the perspective client, the depth of your relationship with someone they respect.
Now, the one caveat to this is I would not do it with competitors in an individual industry. I would do it in complimentary industries with people who are non-competitors. Bringing your client with you to the learn at lunch is an enhancement on this strategy that works phenomenally well because you develop two relationships as a result. You develop a relationship with the people you’re pitching to and you develop a relationship with your client. You deepen that relationship with him or her.
Action item number five, strategic alliance events. This works great in professional services. Let’s say you’re an attorney and you’re targeting realtors because realtors are phenomenal people for you to work with. You do home closings and you make a lot of money doing the title work. Well, you can do presentations to realtors with mortgage brokers. You can talk about the state of the industry, you could talk about new mortgage products that are out there. Both of you co-present and you get the benefit of the mortgage broker’s list that you can target as well as your list that the mortgage broker can target. Now, these are people that both of you haven’t done business with before and you’re presenting to prospects, but you’re combining your two lists in the process.
This also works well for CPAs. If you’re a certified public accountant, and you want to get in front of business owners, you could work with other people who are looking to get in front of business owners. For example, business brokers or bankers. You could market to their lists and they could market to yours. Both of you are presenting to the people you’ve invited to be in the room. You double your opportunities in the process. These strategic alliance events are powerful ways to grow business while you’re educating people from your list as well as people from the list of your strategic alliance partner. There are dozens and dozens of different ways you can use this strategy. Simply think about the people who are also targeting your perspective clients. If you have folks you know are targeting your perspective clients in non-competitive industries, these strategic alliance events are phenomenal ways to grow your target base and to make more money as a result.
Action item number six are trade association events. Any time you go to a trade association you have a unique opportunity. A bunch of people in your industry are together. You know who your targets are. What I would do is I would have you conduct an event either the day before or the day after the trade association event and market it for at least six months in advance. Make it a can’t miss meeting so that they come in a day early or they stay a day later. If this is not possible, pick the dullest portion of the event, or pick the social portion of the event and do your event during that time. During the trade association convention, you pick the dullest time or you pick the time when everybody’s going on the sightseeing tour and you offer an educational event that people can attend and also network with people in their industry.
This is a phenomenal way to capture people who are at the trade association and want that extra networking opportunity or really crave the education that you can provide. How it works for you is it allows you to enhance your expertise in the industry and it also allows you the opportunity to see who’s really interested in your products and services at that trade association event. The ideal case would be to do an event either before the trade association event or after and see who comes in early or stays just to attend or to do it during slack time at the trade association event so that you can see who’s really interested in what you have to offer. This is an educational event you offer to your industry and you can do this exactly the way you would do any other education event. What you’re doing is you’re simply doing it during the trade association time.
Those are the action items associated with step number twelve. I just want to remind you of a few things related to events and making the events your time machine to fast forward your relationship. The first thing is always leverage your personal star power when doing events. If you’re the person in the front of the room, make sure you have someone introduce you, make sure that you are the person who’s up front and presenting and make sure that you have the cache that you need to have. In terms of taking questions, I would offer to take questions at the end of the event on an individual basis. Have someone email you or text you their questions afterwards. I wouldn’t offer to take questions and answers right there from the stage, because it diminishes your star power a little bit.
The second thing is, if cash flow is tight, or if you want to, you can go out and get a sponsor. You can get a sponsor for your events to underwrite some or all of the cost. Keep in mind that when you get sponsors for your events, then you really have two different people that you’re trying to please. You’re trying to please your clients who are there and you’re trying to please the sponsors as well. If you can handle this, sponsorships are a great way to underwrite the cost of the events so that you don’t have to worry about bearing all that cost yourself.
The third key component to these events is you can always have a bring a friend offer. Every one you invite who has said yes to attending, you can send out a subsequent invitation for them to bring a friend. They just have to register the friend ahead of time with you. This can double the attendance at your events if you’re feeling like you don’t have enough people in the room, you don’t have enough people registered. Ask them to bring a friend, but give them the qualifications that the friend needs to be this type of professional, they need to be in this type of a company and they need to have this level of revenue. Make sure you qualify what the bring a friend approach is and you can always offer the opportunity for people to bring a friend. You can do this right at the beginning when you initially invite them. You can do it sixty days out if you want to pump up your attendance numbers. The bring a friend strategy is a phenomenal way to meet new people as you’re hosting these events.
Finally, I want you to keep in mind that you can use the event strategies that we’ve outlined here with clients, but you can also use them with evangelists. They can be exclusive to either group or you can combine the two groups. You definitely need to host events multiple times a year, because again, events are time machines. They advance your relationship at a rapid pace. Doing events is a phenomenal way for you to grow your business and enhance your revenue in the process.