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How to run an event for clients and prospects

In today’s fast-paced, digital world, interacting face to face with clients and prospects may seem passé. In fact, face time is more important than ever.

For one, you’ll stand apart from your competitors who only touch base with their customers via email, social media, and virtual conferencing. And by hosting in-person events that attract new leads as well as existing customers, you’ll be able to create trust and strengthen ties.

An on-site workshop is an ideal opportunity to build credibility as you “show what you know” – and bring in more business, any time you need it.

Define your purpose

Depending on your goal, you’ll want to structure your event differently to maximize results.

For instance, if you’d like to attract new customers, you’ll want to offer a seminar or workshop that showcases your knowledge and skills while offering highly valuable information.

If you’d like to engage your current clients – and make some sales – try hosting a VIP event that features a brand new service or product, with the incentive of an exclusive, time limited offer.

Want to attract new leads and sell to existing customers? Host an event that offers something unique and attractive for your loyal clients, and invite them to bring a friend.

Remember: an event isn’t a hard sell

If you’ve ever attended a business seminar or webinar, you’re already familiar with the formula entrepreneurs use when their sole intention is to make a sale.

Many small business owners cringe at the thought of a “hard sell” – and dread the pitch a workshop is leading up to, whether they’re a participant or the facilitator.

An effective workshop isn’t a sales machine. It’s more about letting prospects know you’re there for them, that you’re qualified to help, and reminding your existing customers you care about their needs.

The following tips will help you win over prospects and engage your customers – without the stress or pressure of urgently closing a sale.

Anatomy of a winning workshop

  • Don’t try to impress by listing all your credentials and accomplishments in your intro. The first part of your presentation is your chance to show you understand the issues your audience is struggling with – and let them get to know you by sharing your story. Tell them why you do what you do and why you find your work meaningful.
  • As you deliver the info your audience wants and needs, you’re demonstrating your expertise and giving them a taste of what it’s like to work with you. This is when the magic happens – when prospects decide for themselves whether you can help them, and if they want to work with you.
  • When you wrap up, in place of a pitch, simply leave your audience with the info they need to work with you. You can offer an incentive if you like – for instance, a freebie for permission to stay in touch via email. But it’s more important to let them know how to get in touch and learn more about your products and services.

Final thoughts

Because business is about relationships, prioritizing speed and technology over connecting face to face with your customers does them – and your business – a disservice.

As you get set to host an event, always keep your audience top of mind. Focus on providing as much value as possible. Prepare in advance to ensure your presentation is focused and runs smoothly and efficiently – and above all, listen.

When you tune in to the questions your audience asks and the concerns they raise you’ll be able to deliver greater value next time. You’ll also know exactly which products and services to offer in future – and which ones can most help them now.