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The Ultimate Guide to Selling Event Tickets

By Julius Solaris
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This post is for those event planners who haven't realized they are the no.1 salesperson of their event. In time of crisis, ticket sales go down. Here is how to sell out and go to bed with a big smile on your face. Read on for our guide to selling event tickets.

I see a lot of talk online on how to engage your attendees, how social media will save you from the oblivion, how new event designs will solve all of your troubles. Selling event tickets isn't always easy.

What about selling more tickets?

Don't get me wrong; being innovative, using social, engaging in different ways is amazing. If you sell 10 tickets out of 100 though, you are in deep... troubles.

Event planners need to wear a lot of hats. They need to be people managers, accountants, project managers, customer service representatives. They also need to be salespeople.

Having met thousands of planners online and offline, this is where a lot of us get stuck.

We don't realize how crucial it is for us to become the prime advocate of what we do. We need to transfer the excitement of what we are planning to prospects and influence them to buy tickets.

I hear you. It's not an easy task.

Here is a small guide to get you started and become a sales ninja.

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The Core: What You Sell

I asked the same question in a post three days ago. I am picking this up again because I've been astonished by how many people mentioned this paragraph when sharing the post on social networks.

You are selling a unique experience that will wow your guest.

If you nail the above, you'll feel confident enough to sell it to the world.

Learn: Selling Event Tickets

Do you know how to sell?

Selling event tickets is an art. It's definitely about charisma, but you can learn a few tricks.

I am a big fan of the AIDA method. I believe this is one of the most effective approaches to selling that can be applied to online, offline and verbal communication.

Alec Baldwin explained it in a testosteronic way in Glengarry Glen Ross. [update: content no longer exists]

If you are willing to get your audience to take Action, Attention->Interest->Desire are the most recurrent motivational states that you need to drive them through.

I've been applying that in the past 10 years to all copy and marketing communications and I can say it works really well when properly implemented.

Learn Persuasion Principles

Now that you know the basic commandments of selling and the process that drives people to take action, you need to work on your persuasion techniques.

When I say persuasion, I think Robert Cialdini. He is the first non-bogus author who tackled the science of persuasion with an academic approach and without wishy washy theories.

The books by dr. Cialdini are all time best sellers and laid the foundation to modern sales and marketing communications.

This is the best sum up of his theories. In the years these have become the archetypes of every piece of advertising that has been developed.

Learn these principles by heart.

Learn Who Your Customer Is

Do you know who buys your ticket? How much do you know about them? Where do they live, how old are they, what's their job title, what social networks do they use.

You need to have a clear image and segmentation of your audience. The best method to build a profile of your customer is by creating personas.

One of the best posts I've read in the past months about shaping personas is at Copyblogger. They also provide a PDF of what a profile may look like.

Clearly defining your audience helps in shaping your selling techniques and calls to action. You'll be amazed how good you can become at anticipating questions and hurdles.

Oh, almost forgot. Concentrate on the top 3. Ignore the others, they are a waste of time and resources.

Learn to Measure

Do you know how many ticket sales each marketing communication channel generates? Without this information you won't be able to understand what works for your audience.

One of the most common mistakes I've seen in the past two years is desperate event marketers jumping on social media and spending crazy budgets without really knowing the effectiveness of their initiatives. This is wrong and not healthy.

It may well be that your audience prefers to be called via phone or faxed.

In order to make sense of how your funnel looks like, learn how to use goal setting.

Some tools to track the effectiveness of the most common communication channels are:

- Website: Google Analytics
- Blog: Postrank, Google Analytics
- Brochures, Print Materials, Faxes, Direct Mail, Print Ads, Display Ads: QR Codes, ShortURls
- Email: Short URls, Platform Analytics (MailChimp)
- Phone: Unique Phone Numbers (FreshEgg)
- SMS: Unique Codes
- PPC: Google Adwords Analytics

Review and Re-deploy

Once you are confident with the motivational cues that drive people to action, the principles of persuasion, the profiles of your ideal customer and the measurement of your efforts, it's time to sit down and review what worked.

I use a multivariate testing approach. That means that I try different messages and motivational inputs to see what works best.

Isolate the channels and the messages that worked best and double up the effort to maximise on the opportunity. You'll soon realize that you'll have a selling machine in place that sells more tickets with an exponential decrease in the effort required.

In Conclusion

This guide is a starting point for your sales efforts. We hope this helps you in selling event tickets.

Please do read all of the links I attached as I cannot give you all of the answers.

If you find it of value share it on Google+, Twitter, Facebook or wherever you wish. It's a great feedback loop for me to know the content is going in the right direction.

about the author

Julius Solaris
Julius Solaris is the editor of EventManagerBlog.com, he is an international speaker, author and consultant.
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