The ABC’s of Producing an Event
I’m in the moving business (and you probably are, too). While I don’t actually move heavy boxes, my job is moving people to participate in events. Sounds like sales (yuck!). It’s actually non-sales selling and according Daniel Pink’s new book, “To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others”, 9 out 10 people do it. In fact, we spend upwards of 40% of our time on the job moving others.
So, what does non-sales selling have to do with producing events? Results. To successfully achieve results, we must convince, persuade, encourage and influence people to participate. Think about it. As an event producer, I convince clients to accept my designs; persuade vendors to give me their best products and services at best prices; persuade sponsors and donors to part with limited resources; and influence participants to invest in an experience.
So now that we’ve accepted that we engage in non-sales selling, how can we do a better job at producing events with better results? Daniel Pink writes that we need to improve our human relationships and focus on “Attunement, Buoyancy and Clarity” … the ABC’s of non-sales selling.
Here’s how I will apply the ABC’s to event production:
Attunement – “stepping outside our own experience and imagining the emotions, perceptions and motivations of another”
- Listen to and think like your guests. Answer ‘what’s in it for them?’ and then tell them in every marketing communications and every detail of the event.
Buoyancy – “how to stay afloat amid the ocean of rejection”
- Think like Bob the Builder. Bob asks ‘can we fix it?’; you ask ‘can I make a great pitch?’. The answer will remind you of your successes and motivate to you to pursue your goal.
- Remain positive. People respond to positive statements, especially if you really know what you’re doing.
- Remain optimistic. If first you don’t succeed, try, try again!
Clarity – “problem finding, not problem solving”
- Limit options. Pink cites a booth experiment. One booth had 24 types of jam; the other had 6. More people visited the greater selection BUT more people purchased from the limited display. Something worth considering as you set up your next exhibit booth.
- Give clear instructions. Pink says people need ‘a specific request accompanied by a clear way to get it done’. Another words, ask people to volunteer and then give them the means to sign up for specific tasks.
Some other great ideas from the book:
- Use your head as much as your heart.
- Leave a vacant chair at the [production] meeting. It’s a reminder of the most important person in the room … in our case, the people who attend our events.
- Serve first then sell. Great reminder.
- Find the 1%. Don’t get caught up in the details. One percent gives life to the other ninety-nine. Know the essence of your offering and explain it well.
Ok you’re turn. How will you apply the ABC’s to your events? If you read the book, what other nuggets of wisdom did you reveal? Please leave a comment to let me know.