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Open House or Not to Open House

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Over the years I have been fortunate to attend 100 plus customer Open Houses. Some have been outstanding and some were failures. A few have really stood out for how well they were handled and here are my observations as to why they were successful.
Invite a mix of companies. Invite an equal mix of prospects and existing customers. Focusing on one or the other can equally lead to an empty room. Call early and call often. Setting appointments 2-3 months in advance is never a bad idea. The average event has a 50% no show rate, so get people lined up way in advance so your event is firmly on their calendar.
Have a clear message. Clients want to know a very simple reason as to why they are coming. The less compelling the bigger the drop rate.
Don’t skimp on food. Chips and pretzels don’t cut it. Find a local caterer, deli, or restaurant and give them some visibility – they can really help show that you are a professional.

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Bring in speakers. Many vendors will gladly come and speak for free and help support you. Make sure you give them a topic that gels with your message. And since many will just wing it – ask for their notes in advance. First time it happened to me I was a bit put off, but my presentation improved because the customer asked and we discussed in detail what I would cover.
Success can be defined in many ways, drafting a goal, planning ahead and creating an environment rich in value will result in a successful Open House.
Have you had a successful Open House? What worked for you and what would you have done differently?
Dave S. Brown
VP of Sales
Optima Graphics
Categories: Business
  1. February 12, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    Spot on Dave. We’ve attend a few of these Open Houses together. Just recently one on the East Coast that was well-attended and carefully planned.

    An Open House is no different than inviting guests to your home. Some people clean the house, make special dishes, arrange entertainment, and communicate what client’s should bring and expect. Others put Pringles in a bowl and call it good. A successful Open House is a reflection of how your clients can expect you to handle their account. With thoughtfulness and care or . . . with a shrug and a sigh.

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