Last week’s article created a lot of emails to me to ask “how do we get the potential groups engaged?”
When it comes to selling, there is never a ‘one size fits all.’ Why, then, do we try to get our groups to buy into a block, on a date that we often try to put them into, offer them the least expensive seats (with the logic that they will buy more), maybe give them an experience, call them repeatedly at the beginning, maybe call them just before, then run down to visit them and ask ‘are you having a great time?’ Oh…and send them an invoice when it’s time to renew. So how has this been working?
Times are diferent, be it sports, entertainment, purchasing a car, a house, going to a local watering hole for a tasty beverage…what we look for is certainly different than what we had looked for in the past. Our job, as stellar salesfolks, are to find out what pushes each particular groups buttons, what type of engagement they are looking for, then make it happen.
We often have a group of 20 or 50 that are simply happy to come out, enjoy the sport or show, have a beer or two and go on their way. But what about all the others? It’s hard to get those groups of 1K or more…it takes work, dedication, and yes, finding what the personal engagement level is to get that group out. When I do a supersize group meeting with collective group leaders, one of the first things I do is throw an off the wall idea out there, then follow it up with the million dollar question: what is it that would get your people breaking down the internet or my phone ordering their tickets? If you could have a million wishes to get your group engaged, what would they be?
Often times, the request is an amazing idea, and it’s simply what would move the needle for that size a group. Our job is to figure out how to make it happen. People have choices, and your venue may simply not be one of them. But getting them engaged with something that strikes them personally…now you’re talking.
What are some of the things I’ve experienced from potential groups that they find most personally engaging?
- pre or post event mixer along with tasty beverages and a meet and greet or talk. This can be from a player not playing that night, a front office person, a member of the show/cast, etc.
- a group picture on the field/court/stage after a game/show.
- use of the facility on a dark day, with the understanding that the ‘cost’ would be 1K tickets. Generally a strong portion of the tickets get used as they are getting the opportunity to act like a pro!
- oftentimes nominally expensive merch will give them that personal feeling, and it’s added to the ticket price. For instance, a purple t shirt with the team/facility, show’s brand and the non profits brand such as what Alzheimer’s Assoc. has done in numerous cities. The branding is oftentimes the personal engagement the group desires.
- the opportunity to watch warmups or in the case of a show, the sound check.
- STEM: there are so many school groups that simply can’t justify a day game or day event without some sort of educational component. School districts are requiring stronger educational components, and you can’t get much stronger than a STEM program. I’ve often found we’ve created fans for life with some kids who hates sports or the arts and ended up loving it for the STEM side of it.
- smaller groups will pay a high end premium if you get them more personally engaged: seats as close to the front as possible, name tags on the seat, personal escort to the seat, and ‘behind the scene’ notes on their chair.
- Alumni visits: premium seating is getting challenging oftentimes to sell..suites are not as easy to fill night after night, and you get the luxury of the suite but what else? If you have player alumni or cast alumni or the President of the team or entertainment facility that pops in for pictures and a short meet and greet, the engagement level is often tweeted, instagramed and facebook posted within seconds. Huge excitement and the marketing they do for you is well worth it.
- Speaking of visits, increase your revenue and add to the ticket price with an off day locker room visit or behind the scenes cast room visit. Their name on a locker or stage door, the opportunity to take pictures, some amazing stories told and with their social media posts, they actually help you sell more. Follow that with the game or show in great seating and add a pic of the group in the locker/stage room on their chair as they come in and they are totally engaged with you now.
- I had a church denomination that wanted for their engagement a choir competition before the event, with the opportunity to sing prior to the event for the winner.
The point is, the days of saying “this will be the night we will have Alzheimer’s night (or you name the night) and this is what it will look like’ are over. Let’s get them engaged. What time of year/type of night do THEY want for success. What does successful engagement look like to them? How can we make it happen? I had one team that served purple slushies, a visual of Alzheimer’s night that is added value to them and kept the engagement going they wanted. Do they want volunteers honored? Do they simply want tabling for engagement?
What does that particular group look for in a game/show? What would heighten their desire to come? What could make them ‘connect’ when they come to our facility? Then let’s figure out how to make it happen. Everyone is asking for entertainment dollars nowadays. How will YOU stand out? Those that are smartest will provide an engagement that no one will want to miss.
KATHY BURROWS, SOLD OUT SEATING (SOS)
Follow all of Kathy’s articles on: soldoutseating.wordpress.com
If your team hasn’t signed up for the twice monthly 6 month skype sessions on how to increase your season and group sales, do it ASAP. Next session to start in August and I have slots for 2 teams left. If an individual, I have slots for 3. For more info, contact Kathy@soldoutseating.com
See YOU at ALSD! Call me if you want to set up a specific time to talk there.