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Immortalized by the movie Glengarry Glen Ross, Alex Baldwin plays the cut-throat sales consultant sent in to motivate a group of real estate salesman.  His 7-minute onscreen tirade is legendary as he stresses the core tenet of his sales philosophy:

Always

Be

Closing

While the strategy might work for timeshares targeted at the elderly, it does little for association professionals and event managers.  I propose a slightly different take…

Aside from the obvious – its never fun to berate your staff and demean their salaries – Baldwin’s character is right about something. Reducing the customer and client experience down to its bare essentials is becoming more essential. Customers want value, and its your job to deliver it.

In response to the above, I propose that event professionals will be able to stay ahead of their market, the competition, and increase innovation by following these ABCs:

Always

Be

Calculating

Creating a data-supported sales strategy can have a number of positive benefits. My top four reasons to use data in the sales and retention process:

  1. Transparency is trust…
    If your customers/attendees see that you are using event data to see the world through their eyes, it conveys that you care about their experience and taking an active role in consistent improvement.
  2. Data creates a baseline… 
    The Holy Grail for conference organizers is understanding their ROI. By generating customer usage and engagement statistics, you are providing the customer with their own ROI (to use for their event and getting ahead of the competition!)
  3. Your competition is not doing it…
    Ok, so this isn’t a guarantee, but it’s pretty safe to say. It provides you with a sharpened blade to cut through the marketing noise. You’re changing the game, its no longer about colorful marketing pieces and hyperbole, you are bringing facts.
  4. It keeps your team focused on the customer’s needs…
    When your team can measure growth (or decline) of a customer over time, you tell a story. Understanding the factors that contribute to that story shine a light on the factors that drive it. The results are a team that is more informed throughout the process, not just when the post-event surveys come back…

Go forth and calculate.

Joe Colangelo

@joecolangelo