In-person live events of various types can be a great source of new clients.
Before you move forward with hosting events, it’s essential that you keep track of and understand the underlying marketing numbers. With each and every marketing channel you start at the end point and work your way backwards through the marketing funnel of new prospects.
Near the end of that pipeline you need to know how these numbers line up and the cost to get to each point, as well as the ratio from one step to the next:
Numbers Tracking Starts Before Registration
The numbers prior to registration are just as important. Let’s say that you’re tracking traffic from a series of Facebook ads. Then I need to know:
If I were tracking Television advertising, while certainly I’d buy the media based upon cost per thousand and effective cost per thousand but I’m also certainly focusing on the ratios and cost per:
- Prospect (completed prospect information)
I may also be, or alternatively be, driving them directly online to register or to text as their response. If so, each of those need to be tracked.
For an advisor who’s already been running live events, often with inadequate results, I like to start by going back and looking through the stats in order to analyze what’s really happening. What I am looking at here is the person’s ratio from each step to the next as well as the cost to get to each step.
For example, they could have a great ratio from prospect to registration – but the ratio from attendee to appointment was really low. Too many people complain about their new client results or their live event results without actually exploring the data and finding out what is going wrong. In this example, as is common with advisors, the follow-up from the time someone registered to getting them to show up for the live event was in mediocre shape.
Improve Your Event Results with the Right Steps
For instance for a live event that I hold most often there will be the follow-up follow-up steps, especially if it’s more than a few days away:
- A reminder sequence (automated) that will sequentially remind them of the event, expectations, driving directions, etc. by email, text, and voice mail (X4 or more times.)
- A direct mail sequence that often will include:
- Personalized often “fake hand written” note thanking them for participating;
- A “shock and awe” package including a copy of my book or multiple books, background information, and preparatory information.
- A live call by my assistant who’s going to answer questions, give directions, pre-qualify (as will all of the other steps) and, if qualified set an appointment for my first one-on-one “discovery meeting.”
- I’ll also ask them to fill out a background information form that’s going to help me understand their financial situation and their primary needs (and, allow up to pre-qualify (or, disqualify) them as a prospective client.
Was it the Event? or the Sales Process?
After all, if you throw a live event and the ratio from prospect down to appointment is incredible, but the ratio from first meeting to new client is awful, it can make it seem as though the live event was a disaster. In this example, the sales process was troubled. In the actual situation the advisor complained about the “flakey” prospects. Reality was his sales process was crappy. If you are used to small traffic of highly qualified direct client referrals and, then “open the spigot” with a lot more prospects from “colder sources,” it’s often true that your sales processes will turn out to be inadequate.
With one of our latest clients, they had around 10 appointments from the live event and got six or seven new clients – a very good closing rate. However, he was disappointed in the live event because he was only looking at the final number – six or seven new clients. So his issue was getting the attendees to actually make appointments, rather than convincing them to become clients once they had an appointment. Our conclusion was that if I could get more people through the door and more people to sign up for appointments, that six or seven could turn into 35 or 40 new clients.
That would be a huge difference for him.
It’s all in the follow up.
Notice in the above example that I was having a staff member contact the registrants IMMEDIATELY upon registration to build rapport, confirm the time, place, structure, to pre-qualify and if qualified to schedule a one-one-one meeting (often before the live event.)
With all live events I move the time to schedule the follow-up to earlier in the process AND, eliminate places where they can fall through the cracks.
Often I hear advisors that I coach complain that their live events do not work because of the cost of acquiring a new client. Way too often they really aren’t sure what their near term value per client is or what the life-time value of that client is going to be on average. If they know that they haven’t taken the time to re-evaluate who they are targeting for the meetings.
The simple answer to all of this is that you MUST first know your numbers.
What is a new client worth to you? What is it currently costing you to get a new client? How much does it cost you to get an appointment? How much does it cost you to get an attendee? How much does it cost you to get a registration? You need to know those numbers from each media and source. While you are at it, never fail to account for the cost of your time and of your staff.
The success of a live event ultimately comes down to the cost of creating a new client as compared to the expected value from those clients. And, the value of clients aren’t equal. A very small number of very high quality clients is better than a bunch of high maintenance, low value clients.