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Being on the cutting edge of technology gives you a leg up on the competition, unless it’s scaring your event clients.
Technology should be a tool, not a tyrant.
According to market research company Frost & Sullivan, event technology can increase event attendance by 20%, decrease costs by 20-30%, and increase productivity by 27%. Those numbers can make a big difference in your budget and be well worth the technology investment. However, these numbers only pan out if your clients, and attendees, embrace the new eventtech. If not, your new technology can cost you more than just its going price.
Know Your Audience
Before embracing, or introducing, any new technology to your clients - know your audience. This includes your client and the attendees of their event. Ask yourself:
- What drives them?
- What are they looking to accomplish through their event and by attending the event?
- How old are they? What do they do for a living?
- Where do they fall on the technology adoption scale?
- Who will train them to use it?
- What benefit does the adoption of this technology bring them?
- Do you need to share the technology with them or is it something just for you?
The last question is very important because often there is technology you use as an event planner to increase your efficiency. If you use technology that you love, is it necessary that your client use it too? What are the benefits of doing so? Does it outweigh the hesitancy they might have in embracing it?
After you’ve done your research and decided to push forward in sharing it with your client here are a few things to be aware of to keep them from running.
Things about Tech that Scare Most Clients
Change isn’t easy for anyone but if you have clients that are tech phobic, being sensitive to these most common concerns can help you convince them the technology is exactly what they need to be more productive and grow their event.
Too Many Moving Parts
Seamlessly integrated tech is one thing. Tech that requires a lot of jury-rigging and manipulation, gives everyone pause. If you make sure your new tech integrates nicely with some of the other things they currently use, they’ll be more apt to get on board.
It’s Too New for You
Convincing someone to use technology is easier to do if you are a power user. If you have a proven track record of successful uses and implementations, and data to back up your claims about the benefits of the eventtech, clients will trust you. If, on the other hand, you “heard” it was “cool,” and have never used it, most clients won’t want to be your test subjects.
It Didn’t Work When You Unveiled It
If you unveil technology in the hopes a client will embrace it and it goes wonky, you better have a backup plan or a joke, like Bill Gates had when the “blue screen of death” appeared during an unveiling of Windows 98.
They Don’t See the Connection Between Your Technology and Their Needs
You never want to adopt technology for technology’s sake. There aren’t any event planner gold stars for who has the earliest adoption. Sure, it can set you apart from your competition but only if they trust in it. To trust in it, they must first trust in you and then understand the business reason behind adopting it. The business reason should never be your portfolio, at least not as it’s understood by the client.
You Seem Hesitant
You must be confident in your presentation of the technology. You’ll present why you like it; why it works well for them, their needs, and their event; and what problem it solves for them (not you). If at any time when you are talking about these points, you seem hesitant, or you answer one of their questions with, “Well, let’s just see if this works. It’s bound to be better than what we have.”, you’ll scare your client. Confidence is beguiling. Hesitancy is halting.
It’s Very Expensive
Expense in itself is not a deal breaker, but expense without return, or expense and a murky return is unacceptable to most businesses, even those with deep pockets. Whenever possible, share projections of how they will see a return on investment.
You Don’t Know Your Client
It’s important to know who you are pitching to because this often brings up its own set of cautions. For instance, in a 2009 report conducted by the AARP and Microsoft, they found Boomers expect technology to:
- Be safe and easy to use
- Work the way they do (they don’t want to recreate established processes for the way the technology works)
- Give them ways to connect
- Not take the place of other forms of engagement. (This is important to know if you think putting in technology between you and the client is a good way to cut down on those long status calls, you may come to realize they want both.)
- Be a tool but not a tyrant. Boomers have no desire to become dependent on the technology. Keep that out of your sales pitch.
Do your research so you know how to present your tech with a personalized approach.
It Does Too Many Things They Don’t Need
When you are presenting the possible tech, don’t show them everything. Show them only what they need and what will help solve their challenges. After all, if you don’t like coffee, you won’t care that the new technology can make you the perfect cup in under a minute.
They Already Feel Overwhelmed
If you’re asking them to learn yet another platform, you’ll automatically have people running, especially those whose current workload seems unsurmountable. Make sure they know what you’re asking and you’re clear with them about the amount of time it will take on their part. Being honest upfront will help allay fears and avoid feelings of being misled.
Change and the unknown are two of the scariest concepts for adults and embracing new technology calls on them to face both. While there are a lot of self-help gurus talking about facing fears these days, it’s difficult to persuade a client that this concept also covers technology adoption. But with a personalized approach and tying the technology into their goals for their event, you’ll be able to help them see why the new tech is a boon, not a bust.