June 2015

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>> EASY WINS STEVE CALECHMAN Throwing the Only Customer Event that Matters Pay attention to these seven details for a memorable event that builds loyalty to the dealership. Y ou have the essentials for your customer event and you have people coming. But more than just attending, you want them to leave more committed to your company. Some useful training and a good plate of food never hurts, but success also lies in the planning details. Take care of those and clients will see your business as thoughtful and meticulous. Allie Keller, marketing manager for MacQueen Equipment Group, offers tips on what to keep in mind: Focus on the old. Trade shows are good for attracting new business. Customer events are for retaining and re-engaging existing clients through training and educa- tion. Salespeople have already established individual relationships, but, by bringing everyone together, people get a sense of the bigger entity and you can build loyalty to your brand rather than an individual. Know your place. If your facility isn't suffi- cient, make sure the offsite location offers the following: It's centrally located. It has ample room for equipment demonstrations. It has an inside congregating area, so people don't file in and out of workshops without meet- ing anyone else. It provides indoor/outdoor flexibility, particularly when the weather is warm. As for schedule, think about who will most likely be coming. If it's people who start their day early and end by 3 p.m., mimic that rhythm. Showing off. Popular equipment doesn't need atten- tion. Have sales- people demonstrate new or lesser-known items. It gives needed exposure to the pieces and reminds people of your capabilities. e sales force can also answer ques- tions directly, which lead to bigger discussions among the attendees. Use signs and balloons. While the industry moves toward mobile technology more each year, not everyone is online, so signs are effective for taglines and information. One with photos of service employees and the total years of experience can quickly promote the message that your company is not a small operation. Balloons add atmosphere, can be taken home to kids, and by having them in the company's colors, offer an easy branding opportunity. Streamline registration. Invest in an electronic sign-in process that scans tickets. No one is excessively standing in line and you don't have to waste time manually, and sometimes incorrectly, entering in informa- tion. Along with that, have support staff at the event to help with the registration, directing people and picking up trash since salespeople will be busy with demonstrations and training sessions. Invite manufacturer representatives. For what your staff doesn't know, they can directly answer product questions. People can also give immediate feedback about equipment and feel more connected to a certain line, and, with that, your company. And the food. You don't want to, not to mention can't, capture anyone's attention when they're hungry. Don't skimp on the order – you can't have too much – and make it warm, comforting and hearty. It works for the higher-level managers and execu- tives, but most especially to the frontline employees who often have to attend and who appreciate the full-on attention. STEVE CALECHMAN is a freelance journalist in the Boston area. He's a contributing editor for Men's Health and his work has appeared in The Boston Globe Magazine, The Old Farmer's Almanac and Delta's Sky magazine. Customer events are for retaining and re-engaging existing clients through training and education. 56 | www.cedmag.com | Construction Equipment Distribution | June 2015

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