Putting on a Show

May 7, 2012

Tantalize Clients with Private Concerts and Watch Your Business Grow

Mike “Sparky” Detmer (mdetmer@nilesaudio.com) is president of Niles Audio

My wife and I were both excited when our neighbor invited us to attend a live concert in their home. It was an intimate event featuring a contemporary trained musician playing a private concert and interacting with just a few close friends and neighbors…outstanding in every way.

The musician’s name was Jesse Terry, a singer/songwriter, and as his Taylor guitar and robust voice filled the room, I couldn’t help but think that many of your customers would appreciate experiencing such an event. In fact, I suspect hosting a private concert in your showroom or home would have a lasting impact on how your top clients view your business. What’s more is that the cost of putting on an impact event like this is nominal. So you could host a few concerts throughout the year and cover a wide range of clients and professionals like the architects and designers which whom you are aligned. If intimate client relations and differentiation is the key, I can think of no better way to set you apart from the crowd.

Here’s how to put on your own event:

1 Select your target guest list

In this case, I would invite two groups of clients–those you have done work for in the past and their guests who will likely be your future clients. Doing so builds relationships on two levels: strengthening your bond with existing customers and developing trust among a new client pool. Additionally, you might invite influential professionals that you want to enhance your relationship with going forward. Remember, these pros are where valuable referrals originate, and you’ll want to be top-of-mind, so their referrals come your way.

2 Select your artist

This is easy to do when you know where to look. One terrific resource is web based at www.concertsinyourhome.com. If it’s classical music you’d prefer, try www.privaterecitals.com. Both are free resources that have hundreds of vetted artists, each with experience in small-venue performances. This way you avoid amateurs and work with professionals who will put on a solid performance for your guests.

If intimate client relations and differentiation is the key for your business, there may be no better way to set your company apart from the crowd than to host a private concert in your showroom. Here, singer/songwriter Jesse Terry plays his Taylor guitar at a similar event at the home of the author’s friend.

3 Set your budget

Typically private concerts request a donation by each attendee for the artist. This varies from $10 to $20 per guest. In your case, you’ll pay the artist for your guests. That means if you invite 25 guests, you can expect to pay the artist $500 plus travel expenses. Say the artist total is $1,000. Next plan for any catering and transportation you plan to provide for your guests. Say another $500. Then consider the promotional opportunity of sending press releases and photos. You can do this yourself or hire a PR firm. That’s another $250. Are you getting this? You can put on a firstclass impact event for under $2,000. If you sell just one system from the effort you’ll get a tremendous return on your investment.

4 Prepare your space

Make sure that you have all of your company’s systems integration bells and whistles active and operating in your showroom. How cool would it be to have your automation system change the lighting, background music, and room ambiance during the different phases of the concert? You already do similar automation scenes in theater room demonstrations, just apply that same thinking, do a little programming magic, and your guests will be awed.

5 Conduct your private concert

You can do this as you would any project, by making a timeline with assigned tasks to it, i.e., send invitations, confirm RSVPs, schedule talent, schedule catering, send follow-up thank you cards, etc. If you need help with an event scheduler/planner, send me an email and I’ll send you an Excelbased check list to follow or download a planning template from the Microsoft Office template site, www.office.microsoft.com/en-us/templates. Conducting an event is just like doing a job; it takes planning to come off right.

6 Be a gracious host; enjoy the show and your company

Interact with the artist and set the tone of fun but serious entertainment. We all know that the clients we serve–or at least our best clients–buy from the people they like and trust. This is your opportunity to be sure they do both while you build credibility with potential clients.

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