Savvy marketing executives and business owners are leading a new business trend. No longer content with being passive participants in networking groups, they are taking charge of their business growth and producing their own events designed to generate more leads and more sales. The event marketing formula is a simple one. Host an event whereby you create an opportunity for your guests to network. Give away valuable information that helps your guests in their professional and personal life.
And then take an opportunity to pitch your wares. Is it generating more leads and more sales? You bet! Trading valuable information for leads and sales can truly be a rewarding social, financial and business experience. And leveraging that information in the context of producing your own networking events has its benefits. For example, as the event producer, you create the potential to: Quickly garner trust as a leader in your area of expertise. Collect attendee information and use it to follow up.
Create opportunity for yourself and others. Disseminate valuable information that creates real world results for your networking group. Entertain and educate your clients, suppliers and potential customers which fosters relationships and builds more trust. Most importantly, you create a built-in opportunity to pitch your wares or upsell your products and services to a specific target market.
When producing networking events, there are few guidelines you want to follow: No one appreciates a maverick producer. The last maverick event I went to, the leader, a group insurance re-seller by trade, was clearly using his group to scope out potential candidates for something else. The day following his event, I received his multi-level-marketing pitch. Annoyed by my own ignorance, I now interview network group leaders before I find myself attending potential maverick productions. Avoid being a passive event producer (PEP).
A PEP is a business professional with an authentic agenda to help grow local businesses or help charities. However, PEP producers often fall short of creating fruitful networking experiences. For example, one of our local networking groups invites its members to a different local business once a month. The owner gives a very dull speech about the history of the business. Afterwards, there is one hour for us to network with wine and cheese in hand. The unfortunate part is that both the PEP and the business host have completely missed the opportunity to engage the guests and create a critical flow of information.
A well produced event might hire an entertaining host and lead networking games and exercises and lead active participation. The whole idea is to raise the energy level in the room and engage your guests. This creative energy usually manifests into opportunity because you have stimulated the flow of information. Even though the lack of a good networking structure will eventually diminish your audience, rigid rules are almost worst.
There is nothing that takes the fun out of networking more than unrealistic rules. While implementing group traditions and guidelines is a positive thing to do, rigid rules will eventually suck the creativity out of the group. A healthy approach is to create realistic goals for your guests while they are present in the room.
Avoid setting up future expectations such as being penalized if you miss a meeting, or having to bring two leads before entering the next event. These types of goals may be setting your guests up for failure. The long term effect is that your events will not attract new prospects. A great networking event engages you from the minute you receive your invitation to when you exit the room.
The successful producer has planned every logistical detail and delivers Valuable Information in an Entertaining Context(VIEC). A VIEC producer thought of the perfect room, perfect music, perfect sound system, perfect guest speaker, and perfect set up for food and beverage. They have given away valuable information that helps people, and have implemented networking games that enroll every single person in that room.
They implement successful traditions, guidelines and have strategies to keep the group energy up the entire event. They have collected and disseminated information, created opportunity and made the whole experience entertaining. And while people are offering you great testimonials about how much value your event created in their lives, you too will enjoy the leads and sales your VIEC event generated for you. Copyright Training Business Pros 2006.
Nancy Houle is VP Business Development of Training Business Pros.com, a leading business training company offering training seminars, tele-seminars and training products www.trainingbusinesspros.com.