Today is a special, Sunday Edition of the Converse Digital blog to celebrate my next big experiment — The #ivs4charity Book Tour. Sure it’s a book tour to announce my new book, The Invisible Sale and raise $10,000 for 10 deserving charities… but it’s more… it’s an experiment in the power of Propinquity to build meaningful relationships that can convert to clients or future business opportunities.
It’s OK to Prospect for Sales at Charity Events
Some folks might think “that’s icky” when they hear me say the #ivs4charity tour isn’t just about raising money for charity. I get that… but here’s why they’re wrong. For them, charitable giving has to be pure to be right. Well I disagree. There is nothing wrong with creating a very cool event that benefits both a charitable organization AND the creator of the charitable event. Having motives that may be considered selfish isn’t impure. Especially when you consider all charitable acts are at their heart selfish in nature…but that’s another post. In fact, if more charities would approach their event design with this in mind — versus just offering up naming rights or other advertising awareness oriented sponsorships — they’d probably raise more money.
How To Create a Charitable Sales Prospecting Event
First, for this to work, you have to actually be committed to helping. If you just create an opportunity to place your business card in a bunch of peoples’ hands, you’re doing it wrong. Your motives will show through and people will resent it. Thus you’ll end up meeting a bunch of people that will never want to meet you again.
Second, pick a cause you truly care about. This will ensure your passion and “pureness of intent” shows through.
Third, focus the event on the charity as much as possible. That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t have any corporate branding or product mentions, just don’t lead with that message. For the #ivs4charity events (which are book launch parties) notice that we used the word Charity in the title and hashtag and shortened the book title to IVS. We even constructed a hashtag that conveyed the book tour was a vehicle ivs FOR charity.
Fourth, recognize the goal of the event isn’t to sell or make sales. The goal is to create Propinquity with prospects and customers via social sharing, content marketing, and ultimately, face-to-face interactions during the event. Your goal is to increase the frequency of positive interactions between prospects and your brand.
Fifth, make others the star of the show. When I was planning the book tour, I knew I wanted it to be about the charities, the party hosts and the brand that made it all possible by underwriting the entire tour (donating all meeting space, staffing, food and in most cases, 50% of the party bar tabs to the 10 local charities) DoubleTree by Hilton.
So when we created banner ads, landing pages and talking points, we made sure we featured everyone else versus focusing on the book.
Interesting Note: towards the end of the promotion period we began focusing more on “hey come meet and talk with the author” at the bequest of a few hosts because they thought it would drive more ticket sales resulting in bigger donations to their favorite charity. Even though I tried not to make the book the focus, in the end, the hosts were asking me to push my brand (book) to the front because they felt it might help their cause (raise money for their charity).
Yep — Karma — she’s got a funny way of rearing her head.
Notice, there isn’t even a mention of me, the book or an image of the book in the above banner ad because the events aren’t about the book. They’re a means to an end. Everyone that comes gets a book — so great, I sell a bunch of books. But more importantly, I get to meet a bunch of people!
Will all of those people be prospects? No. Will some of them be prospects? Maybe.
How Can You Learn From #ivs4charity?
If you’re interested in learning more (at a very how to tactical level) follow me for the next 10 days as I make my way through the tour. I’m going to be demonstrating how you can use events like these to create more Propinquity Points with your prospects. I’ll show you content tips and marketing hacks so you can see how events can serve as incredible content generation tools. I’ll be sharing the story in real-time and providing my thoughts on what is working (and more importantly) not working. I’ll share the successes AND the failures of the idea.
And you’ll get a ringside seat to my latest adventure in learning so that you can apply the insights I’ll discover before your competitors!
Most of all — if YOU or a FRIEND live in any of the #ivs4charity cities — BUY A TICKET and come to see me in person. It’s a hell of a deal (now that Amazon has my book selling for $21), you’ll meet some great people and we’ll get to talk shop.