Have you ever arrived ready to give a talk only to show up to a handful of attendees? You rehearsed your speech until it was bulletproof, you’re ready for a packed house, and the big day arrived only to have a few attendees arrive.
Seasoned presenters routinely triple the number of people they invite to an event. And then they pray the offer isn’t so appealing that more than the anticipated one-third of RSVPs will show.
But don’t you wonder what happened to the other two-thirds who chose to be absent? And wouldn’t you rather increase your attendance than invite three times the number you want?
This is how you can boost your seminar attendance. Let’s look at a few truisms when you call someone to invite them to an event:
- They’re already busy when you call so they’re preoccupied and distracted. You must provoke their interest immediately
- Their first impulse is to refuse so they can return to what they were doing.
- Many people are naturally uncomfortable refusing a request; when faced with a decision, they will accept instead of refuse. These people will be less truthful to a stranger
- Afterwards they’ll hang up and forget about all you
The receiver’s wish to be courteous will compete with their wish to get off the phone. Two things in succession must happen to get them to accept: you must sufficiently pique their curiosity to persuade them to focus on what you’re saying. Then you must offer enough value to persuade them to accept.
The more confident you appear on the phone, the greater chance they’ll hear your message. But you need to do more than just remind them after you end the call. Your reminders must help them remember what you’ve promised they’ll receive by attending.
Your contact’s enthusiasm for your event will burn out unless their wish to have what you’re offering is red-hot and stays that way. Delay is your kryptonite.
In a future article I’ll go into detail on best practices in Drip Marketing. For now, I’ll suggest you send a series of emails and a postcard. That will give you a better chance of reminding them of the value they’ll receive by attending.
But let’s consider the absolute best way to stoke their fire, keeping them enthused to make sure they attend your shindig. By finding out precisely what aspect of the event they value and mentioning it each time you send a reminder card, email, phone call, or whatever.
What is a universally coveted item? Exclusivity. Being a valued member of the in-crowd. One type of exclusivity is select information to which only a few people are privy. So you can convey exclusivity by inviting your prospects to learn closely held information with the leaders in their industry.
The Inner Circle
Let me be clear: I’m not talking about just any kind of information. This is the type of prized information one gets from being part of an inner circle. You’re tapping into a deeply seated human need to belong.
When you talk with your prospect, mention you’re considering inviting them to join ‘the group.’ Use words to stimulate their need to belong. If you have secured an admired attendee’s acceptance, use their star power when inviting others.
Act confident and aloof as if you’re granting a favor by calling them. You’re throwing the best party of the year, and you want them to share it with you. Don’t be obnoxious or arrogant, but treat the invite as if their attendance will not make or break the event. Once you’ve piqued their interest, ask them whom they’d recommend and ask if you can use their name.
People Want What They Can’t Have
The “takeaway” is a powerful close. Once you get them excited, hint they might not qualify or be at the right level to benefit from the information presented. Be subtle when using this technique. You want to fan their desire for membership into an élite club, not act like a sleazy promoter.
It’s important to have fun. Make sure you enjoy talking on the phone with your invitees. Make sure you’re smiling when you’re talking with them on the phone. You can bet they’ll hear it in your voice. At the event, make it a point to speak with them and continue to build rapport.