You Have To Persuade People Even If They Said ‘Yes’
Even if people say they are going to commit to your event, you still have to persuade them.
Look at the role you play as a constant guide for others where you hold the torch. It’s a great feeling when someone signs up, leaves their email, ticks a box, confirms their registration. In their mind (and yours), they think they can benefit from what you do. However, for some, it doesn’t quite work like that. There is still a job to do.
What I want to share with you here is that being present and directing people is just as important as the moment you know someone has signed up. This is going to be valuable for you if you ever want to deliver a free event.
What I Did
You Are The Media Learning is our free community learning group, on Zoom, and our last session had a focus on writing (you can watch the full session here).
This event started in February 2021 and we will continue in 2022. It’s a way to bring people together and to learn and put the spotlight on others who are experienced in their field of writing, video or audio. It’s a way for new people who aren’t too familiar with YATM to come into a space and feel a part of it. It’s one hour, hosted by Matt King and we now have a flow with it (time and preparation is minimal, which is why a free event is comfortable).
When delivering free events, the drop-off rate can be huge. It can be reassuring when you have a sizeable attendee list of people who say they will show up, but there is no guarantee they will. If something is free, there is no need to commit and if people are doing something else when the event starts, it’s easier to continue with what we were doing.
For the recent YATM Learning, I tested something out, that you can apply your side. Numbers for YATM Learning can be from 50 to 70 people. The November session hit a peak of 82 people. Let me share what was different.
People can book the free events via the You Are The Media website or by using LinkedIn Events. When you are setting up a free event in LinkedIn do this. In your settings tick the LinkedIn box for ‘use a LinkedIn registration form’ this means that you can download an Excel sheet with the attendees and their emails (just don’t go putting them into another database of yours, they didn’t ask for that!).
You can also reach out to all your attendees (even people you are not connected to but ticked the box they will attend) as a direct DM on LinkedIn. I didn’t want to be pushy but made gentle reminders in the week leading up to the event. For instance, it could be a nudge checking that they have the Zoom code for the event and a day before the event, mentioning what we’re going to be discussing and confirming they will be there.
The point I want to get across is that to get people to attend you have to do more than email the login details and calendar invite and then nothing else from you until the event. You can’t expect people to turn up, just because you decided to take up an hour of someone’s day.
Getting people to attend your event, still means putting your time into those who get it, over the line.
Focus On Those Who Show Interest
Too many times we try to persuade the wrong people. It’s the effort that goes into converting everyone, instead of persuading the people who have a connection and understand what you do.
You have to serve the people who are naturally drawn to your content, rather than just anyone. When you recognise the scope of the audience you serve, you then put the effort into them.
One thing you cannot forget is that you still have to work on those who show an interest. What they need to know is that they made the right decision all along.
😀 need to know you’re invested in what you are doing for them
😀 want to know what’s in it for them
What You Can Do
Making that decision to attend or commit to you still means work to do. You want to be in a place where people look forward to the time they spend with you and others.
A way to approach is to demonstrate the value you bring where you share the end result, and explain it through the small steps that need to be taken to get there. For instance, for YATM Learning, the build-up was centred on people having confidence in an area they want to invest more time in and find out more (this was via the weekly YATM newsletter). The small steps were the nudges to people who agreed to attend.
It’s not enough to tell people what they get as part of the transaction today and then walk away. The reminders you make are just as important as the signposts you set up to direct people to book.
Here is what is important when being present and some gentle persuasion.
Be Visible. People want to know that the messages they are receiving is from a familiar, honest and trustworthy person. If they know that what they are receiving isn’t automated ie. they aren’t referred to as ‘friend’ then even better.
Be Useful. You always need to prove to people that time with you is going to be valuable. Explain why by the end of the event, it is going to feel rewarding ie. educated, entertained.
Be Specific. There is no room for fluff here. If you want to get people over the line and to attend, you cannot be vague. Tell them what is going to be delivered, key times and that you’re going to end on time.
Be Friendly. The last thing you want is someone to say ‘no’ and not bother attending. There is something to be said about being a good host and making everyone feel comfortable (even before it starts). A lesson from the last YATM Learning session is to write as we speak, there is no need to try and come across as clever.
Be Committed. To get people to commit and make a decision, you have to continually make your stand and be clear on the role you serve. Once you do that, it becomes easier for others to understand and know the space they will be stepping into.
You don’t need a huge ‘dream’ audience to deliver great things for your business or project. You need to focus on the people who care. For those who show an interest in what you have lined up, you put your effort into them.
You still need to convert and get others into the same room as you (either online or offline). This comes from proving to people that it is right for them and the experience you are responsible for is something they won’t get elsewhere ie. the people, the vibe, the delivery.
Persuasion plays a huge part in people stepping forward with you. You’re not trying to convince them, they can already see the value that is being delivered. It’s the reassurance that time spent with you is going to be the best part of their day.