Last month, I wrote about why webinars and live events get the best results, and detailed how they can achieve top results for your business. In this month’s instalments, we’re going to be going a step further. I’ll be outlining specific, detailed methodologies as to how you can implement your own live events and webinars, and convert LinkedIn connections into real clients.
As I explained in my article, ‘The LinkedIn Playbook: Engage, Connect, Convert’, LinkedIn is a great place for finding potential clients, but you should absolutely never try and pitch and sell on the platform. This will only result in aggravating and alienating your clients, and maybe even damaging your brand. The reason that many LinkedIn users resort to this type of pitching is that they don’t know the right steps to go through to take connections off social media and into an environment where they should be making the conversion.
This is where live events and webinars come into their own. They’re fantastic opportunities to build trust and credibility with potential clients, and ultimately show them why they should be doing business with you. If you’re not convinced of the merits of live events and webinars, go ahead and check out last month’s article, ‘Why Webinars and Live Events Get the Greatest Results’, to find out more.
Of course, the methodologies to setting up a live event and webinar differ in many ways. In this article, I’ll just be talking about the steps that you need to go through to create a killer event that will convert leads into clients, and will be talking you through how to organise an awesome webinar in my next post, so be sure to be stay tuned.
So, without further delay, let’s get started in building up a structure for your next live event that will result in clients, credibility and all-round success.
Location Location Location
Thinking about where to host your live event is the first step you’ll need to go through when getting your connections off LinkedIn and into a pitching environment. Of course, if you’re interested in hosting a live event, then the majority of your target clients should be based in and around your area. If not, then hosting a webinar may be a more suitable alternative.
Before planning what sort of space you’ll hold your event in, you should have a good idea as to exactly who your target audience is so as to make sure that you create the perfect environment for them; if your client avatar is an elderly, family-orientated person then you probably don’t want to be serving vodka shots and playing heavy-metal music! (If you’re not sure who your ideal client is then go ahead and check out my post, ‘The First Steps to Generating High-quality Leads’.)
You’ll also want to have a good idea of how many people you can expect. This will help you to pick the perfect venue for your event. You don’t want it to be too cramped, but at the same time you don’t want there to be too much space. There’s nothing more embarrassing than hosting an event with 30 guests in a 400-seater auditorium!
There’s no shame in using your office space for the event. Not only will it save on costs but it can be a handy way of introducing your potential clients to your business’ culture. However, only do this if your office complies with the above rules. Don’t use an ill-fitting space just to save a few bucks as you’ll ultimately end up paying for it in the long run.
To Charge or Not to Charge
This is one of the biggest questions you’ll need to ask yourself when hosting a live event. And it’s not as simple as it may seem. Obviously, you should never charge your guests entry fee in the hope of turning a profit; however, by charging for tickets you may increase the value proposition of your event (and therefore your business) to your potential clients. On the other hand, nothing gets people through the door like the promise of free food and drink.
Thankfully, I have a solution that meets both of these criteria. It’s a system created by Paul Dunn of B1G1 and has always worked really well in my experience. The idea is to have a three-level entry model. Firstly, allow any guest free entry if they like, but then have two additional tiers for guests wanting to make an impact to a positive cause. (For example, this could be $25 towardS clean, drinking water and $50 for educating a child.) Clearly explain to your guests that you’re not profiting from the entry fee, and that instead you’re inviting them to make a generous donation. This model suits all parties; there are few no-shows because it’s free and you’re allowing your guests to make a positive impact on the world and feel good about themselves. Simple!
The Power of Persuasion
One of the biggest draws to your event is going to be your keynote speaker. This person is going to provide genuine value to your audience without actively promoting your brand. They will be, for many of your guests, the main reason they’re coming so it’s important to pick the right person.
Assuming you’ve built a clear and thorough client avatar, you should have a pretty good idea as to what your ideal clients’ wants, needs and problems are. Your keynote speaker should be someone who appeals to all of those things. Of course, if you can bring in a recognised figure then that would be great, but we live in the real world and that might not be possible. Just make sure that you pick someone with credentials and experience who has the ability to ‘wow’ your audience.
Before the keynote speech, decide with the speaker how long the talk will be. It’s important here to find the balance between value and dragging on. An hour is almost certainly too long but at the same time ten minutes will be too short. Typically, a keynote speech at a live event should be between 20 and 30 minutes, with a further ten minutes for questions at the end. Don’t forget, you need to allow time for your own talk!
You don’t have to spend a fortune on your keynote speaker. Find someone who’s recently released a book, podcast or another form of content, and allow them to sell their product in a low-key way after their keynote speech. Note: Do not allow them to steal the show by promoting their own product. This will only devalue your event and create a negative atmosphere for your guests.
The All-important Pitch
This is your moment to shine and, even though the pitch isn’t the be-all and end-all of your event, it’s important to give your guests some light info in what it is that you and your business do.
As you’re already an expert in your ideal client, you know exactly what their problems are and what your business can do to solve those problems. These should be the main tent-poles of your talk. It should be relaxed, informative and to-the-point. Don’t let it go on for more than ten minutes. Remember, you’ve already impressed them with the rest of your event and this isn’t when you close the deal. (More on that later!)
After your pitch, invite clients to hand you a business card if they’re interested in your product or service. Tell them that someone from your team will chase them up. Don’t pressure them to sign up for anything there and then, and certainly don’t ask them to get their credit cards out.
Here’s where you make sure that your guests don’t go home empty handed. You want to give them some info about your business for them to digest at a later date, something that they’ll leave on the coffee table or by the computer so that they don’t forget you in a hurry.
This is a perfect opportunity to circulate your book if you have one, but if not a brochure about your business. Again, this should include information about what your company does, what problems you solve for your clients and the steps they need to go through if they want to do business with you.
Consider having a special deal for your guests, exclusive to them for attending the event. As with everything we’ve learned here, don’t force this down their throats but gently offer it to them as a thank you for making the effort to come along.
This easy-to-implement strategy is tried and tested when it comes to getting big success from live events. In my experience, if you follow this methodology then you’re significantly increasing your chances of taking your connections from LinkedIn and turning them into genuine clients.
When implementing this strategy, it’s important not to cut any corners. It may seem that by saving money or time you’re doing yourself a favour, but trust me when I say that it’ll be a bad idea further down the line.
If you don’t achieve huge success straight away off the back of one of your live events, then don’t panic! This isn’t a get-rich-quick-scheme. You’re building credibility for your business that will come back to serve you later down the line. Sometimes these strategies can take six months to pay off, but be patient and you’ll be glad of all the hard work you put in.
Be sure to check out the next article where I’ll be talking about the perfect methodology to follow when setting up a successful webinar.
If you want to learn more about how you can harness the power of LinkedIn and make the platform work for you, then go ahead and check out our latest offer, The LinkedIn 2 Success Program (Do It Yourself), where you’ll receive a copy of our bestselling book, The LinkedIn Playbook, our workbook and video series for profile optimisation and lead generation, plus loads more.
Also, be sure to check out our FREE 4-Week Twitter marketing course to learn how to generate high-quality leads on Twitter.