Last Updated on February 28, 2022
Using events to generate business is not a new concept by any means, but most of us haven’t been able to use them as a viable source for leads in quite a while now. With things starting to get back to normal in many places, and people excited to get out into the world and socialize in groups again, it’s a great time to start thinking about events that can generate leads and referrals for your business.
Relationship Based Marketing
I know I talk about this a lot, but generating leads from any type of marketing basically comes down to the relationships you have with people. In this day and age people can get the same products, brands and services from multiple places, so loyalty is dead and consumers are more concerned with saving money.
To be successful among the competition, it’s more important than ever for you to build friendships and keep them intact if you plan on doing business with people again and again – but even more importantly than that, if you want them to send you referrals continuously. Events are one of the best ways to nurture any level of relationship because they get you directly in front of people, allowing you to personally deliver your message and bond with them through a memorable experience.
Plus, when you bring a bunch of people together that share something in common, they rally together around that commonality… and if that thing they share in common just happens to be you, what you really end up doing is building a community around your business and reinforcing people’s loyalty to you.
The Importance of Your Sphere of Influence
Imagine you have $20 (we’re just pretending for a moment) and you want to give it away to someone. Imagine now there are two people in front of you – one of the people knows you well, and the other is a complete stranger. When you tell each of them that they can have the $20 free and clear, who will be more trusting and receptive of your message? Obviously in this case, it will be the person who knows you well, as there is already a certain level of trust established between you.
Funny enough, marketing messages are received in much the same way as that hypothetical no-strings-attached $20. In reality, the maximum probability of selling a product or service to an existing customer is 70%, versus only 20% to a new customer. What’s more, is that on average 65% of a company’s business comes from their existing customers. This means that the people who know you are actually going to be much more receptive to the things you put out into the world, plus they’re also going to be more likely to respond and take action.
This idea works with the same connections in your Sphere. In fact 93% of consumers make a purchase or a hire based on an online peer recommendation including ratings, reviews, recommendations, and from In Search Ofs (ISOs). So, you’re a lot more likely to buy if your friend refers you.
Remember that $20 you had earlier? This time, imagine the two people in front of you, where one of them knows you, and the other person knows the person who knows you. When you offer them each $20, and the person who knows you takes it, they also convince their friend that they can trust you at the same time, just by their action. Therefore, sticking close to your sphere, and to the people who know them, will produce greater results when it comes to generating business with events.
Event Marketing Done Right
Now that you know who’s on the guest list, it’s time to focus on the event, and the options are endless. This is the fun part and you can really get creative here. Craig and I discuss many different event types (which you can watch in the Workshop replay above), including community-based events, charity sponsorships, client appreciation parties and events with local businesses. The thing is – the event doesn’t necessarily need to be your own. You can piggyback on others’ events (with their permission of course) by helping with the marketing and promotion, ticket sales, volunteer coordination, donation logistics, running parallel activities, giveaways, contests and more!
In the workshop, Craig brings up our good friend, Craig Wilburn, as an example of an agent who’s had incredible success generating business with events. It began in 2010 when he started a chicken wing eating contest at a local sports bar. The first year he asked the restaurant for permission to host the event and they got a few tables in a section near the back. The second year the restaurant ended up shutting down to host the event. And now?! They sponsor the event each year because it is such a success. Other examples of things Wilburn has done include: renting out a movie theater (during off times) for big movie premiers, throwing an ice cream social and bringing in a machine to have snowball fights (they are in Florida after all).
There’s tons of great ideas for events all around you, but here’s a list of a few more to get you brainstorming about what might work well in your locale (you can even switch it up by hosting family/adult versions of the same events):
- Memorial Day/4th of July/Labor Day Picnics
- Halloween/Costume Party
- Holiday Parties
- Pictures with Santa/Easter Bunny/Character
- Snowball Fight/Snow Building Contest
- Bowling Night
- Ice Skating/Roller Skating Day
- Virtual Reality Event
- Golf Day Tournament/Indoor Golf Night
- Rent Out a Driving Range/Museum/Cooking School
- Paper shredding events
- Annual Dinner/Luncheon
- Pancake Breakfast
- Board Game Tournament
30% Back Into Your Business
Agents that end up going this route never look back, because they see the results right away and realize how successful events are at driving business and creating connections. Even if you decide to make a significant investment in hosting an event, it’ll pay off ten fold.
Committing a percentage of the revenue back to your business which can include professional photography, video/drone & marketing for listings. We’ve also seen some agents use that revenue to provide crazy client perks,like a paid overnight getaway at a local hotel for your sellers when you’re trying to host an open house. The clients love it and you know the house will be clean and clear while you host showings.
Personalized Closing Gifts
I’m not sure how many of you use personalized gifts in your business, but they’re a timeless sales gimmick that really works well. Events make these items work even better, because they become tied to the memory of the event they were given away at, really generating a connection between that item and the event where they got it. Close the event with something that will have a longer shelf life, and will help people think of you every time they use it. Best advice I can give you is to make it as personal (about them) as possible.
Get More from Events with Digital
While in-person events will drive business exceptionally well, you can do even more to extend your reach and success with the same event by enhancing it with digital. The more you’re able to drive engagement with your event online, the more successful your in person event will actually be. You can get people involved by asking questions, promoting things about the event, sharing past event memories, showing event prep progress, running contests, making introductions among guests, and so much more.
Digital events are also a great way to include people who can’t make it in person, and get them participating online. Last year, we shared an idea for an online pumpkin carving event that dozens of agents had success with in their first trial, and you’ll find some great tips for hosting any online event in that article. You can even use the digital event as a follow-up mechanism afterwards, or to get a head start on marketing your next event!
So, what event do you have in mind to host?
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