In an economy where every penny counts, return on investment is king. People want to know how much they will get back on anything they spend money on.
One area you probably can’t go wrong in is business events. Investing in events, and the face-to-face opportunities they present, provides you with returns that you can measure.
Regardless of whether you attend, sponsor or buy a booth, you can determine whether it was worth the time and money you invested. If you attend, how many people did you meet who were prospective customers? In an age dominated by e-mails, text messages and the occasional phone call, nothing beats face-to-face communication. People do business with people whom they know and like. The best way to earn their trust and get to know them is through a face-to-face meeting at a casual business event.
If you are sponsoring an event, you’ll know how many people were there and will probably get introduced to some VIPs and get other opportunities to provide information about your business to others. Like the attendees, you’ll get plenty of opportunities for face-to-face contact with business prospects.
If you buy a booth, you’ll have a list of qualified leads to work off of after the event is over, and they will be people you met in person. So no matter what route you take with events, you will have a measurable return on your investment.
The key to a successful event, whether you are putting the event on or just attending, is qualified people. You want to go where your potential customers would go. Customers are lured by high-quality information that’s relevant to them.
The more specialized the event, the more significance it will have. It’s easier to find general information than it is niche information, so if you have an event that is narrowly focused, you will find a lot of customers in attendance who are attracted to that niche.
If you are the one putting on the event, take great care that everything is professionally done from start to finish. If you are uncomfortable handling the details internally, I recommend using an event management firm to look after all of the details for you. It only takes one small slip up to ruin the entire event. You will be judged not just on attendance but also on things like the food quality and how well the sound system worked.
Your event should provide an opportunity to bring buyers and sellers together, even if you are the primary seller. Use your event to get face-to-face time with not only prospective customers but existing ones, as well.
A big part of building a company is repeat business. You can’t afford to lose a client these days. An event can build on the trust and rapport you already have with your customers. It offers the opportunity for face time and perhaps even a chance to introduce them to other customers who can assist them with other problems they may be having. The more value they get out of your relationship, the harder it becomes for them to walk away.
A good event will keep people coming back year after year. Regardless of whether you are a sponsor or attendee, with a little preparation and the right attitude, you can get a great return on investment. In this economy, is there anything better than that?
Read Fred's previous column.