How to convince your attendees’ boss to send them to your event
If you’re organising a professional event often, your guests will have to convince their manager to let them attend. As an organiser, you can boost ticket sales by supporting your would-be attendees in their efforts to get approval from higher-ups.
When an employee is looking to pitch to their boss, they’ll want to be as prepared as possible. Many will plan out costs, adjustments to work deadlines, plan cover for their roles and have a list of reasons why they must attend, for the benefit of the business.
These practices don’t only apply to business conferences or professional training, they could equally be a of great values when encouraging managers to give employees access to your workplace wellbeing events, like yoga or meditation.
When an employee approaches their manager about attending an event, the first question will be: how much is this going to cost the company? For small workforces with low budgets, this will be the first port of call when considering attendance and often, will be the reason the answer is ‘no’. The high cost of attending an event won’t always be the ticket price, as many business shows are funded through sponsorships rather than admission fees. Whether admission costs anything or not, some guests will have to travel or stay overnight while attending your event. Additional costs can quickly build up when an event is far away, happens over a number of days or requires the attendance of more than one employee.
The challenge of additional, unexpected costs for companies wouldn’t just be affected by your ticket price. For conferences out of the area or multiple day events, there are additional costs for travel, accommodation and any daily stipends.
Practically, you can help employees keep costs low by providing details about transport and accomodation. Partner with local hotels to offer discounts to attendees who book rooms for the event. If you can’t get discounts, do the research for your potential guests. Have a list of local accommodation options with rough pricing and any offers publicly available.
You can easily do the same with transport. Consider the location of your event and any notable nearby places guests might be travelling from. Look into the best value public transportation to the venue and share the expected pricing – include a variety of options including buses, trains, subways and taxis. Some taxi companies may be able to provide discounts to guests for pre-booked rides and in exchange for promo. You could also share details of local parking availability and rates for guests who are likely to drive.
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For some managers, the disruption caused by staff being out of the office could be enough to put them off approving attendance to events. Proving the value of your event will be particularly crucial in these circumstances
If your event is targeted at high-level professionals, it could be especially important to provide facilities for attendees to catch-up on emails or phone calls throughout the day. Publicise access to breakout spaces and wifi & suggest guests utilise these areas during lunch.
Making the pitch
If you’re running a training course or multi-day industry conference, it’s likely the ticket price could be in the hundreds, if not thousands. It’s important you help attendees see the value in the price and provide practical information about the potential return on investment (ROI) for their bosses.
Networking: If you’ve run the event before, utilise data and testimonials from previous attendees. Information about notable past attendees, large companies and those confirmed to attend this year can help employers see the lead generation and networking opportunities for their staff.
Solutions: Whether your event is a training course or a conference, make sure you can show what skills attendees will leave with. Give detailed information about the content of the day, including workshop topics and guest speakers. Where an employer can connect a challenge facing their business with an opportunity to find a solution at your event, attendance is more likely to be approved.
Skills: Testimonials and reviews from previous attendees who are able to show how your event practically helped them in their roles will show the real value in your event. Consider the goals of the event, including those within different workshops or panels. Use these to identify the problems being solved and how they can benefit an employee, department or entire company.
The benefits to a company could include:
- Practical skills or a qualification
- Financial benefits through knowledge of less costly solutions
- Better project management skills leading to less time wasted in the office
- Lead generation or networking opportunities to promote and grow the business
Providing Practical Resources
Some of the biggest event-organising companies in the world provide ‘How to convince your boss’ articles or email templates to potential attendees. Take a look at the events below and note their different techniques for encouraging attendance!
Adobe released a simple, one-page blog identifying the reasons why attending MAX The Creativity Conference, would be beneficial to employees and their businesses.
Data Driven Summit made a ‘Get your trip approved’ letter available for download. It details the key benefits of the summit as well as a budget template! Read the letter here.
Tech crunch’s conference homepage breaks each ticket price down with every benefit included. The number of benefits increase with the ticket price, including discounts for local hotels. The organisers also provide discounts to students, non-profits and government/military staff – making convincing bosses even easier.
Frontend United published a ‘Convince your boss’ page for the conference. This page is slightly different to some of the other examples listed, in this case, the organisers have created a 6-point list ‘debunking’ the arguments against attending. These include no ‘corporate sponsored talks’, tickets for access to the co-working space and comparatively low ticket prices.
What you can do
- Create a simple landing page with the key benefits of the event, make sure it’s ‘manager-appropriate’ so staff can forward it to their boss while they’re making their pitch…
- Create an email template for staff to send to their managers. Ensure it highlights the value in attending and any relevant issues being addressed at the event. To get started and make sure it contains all of the key info, use our example template to the right!
I’ve found this event, [insert event name]. The event is a [conference, workshop, etc], running on the [date] in [location].
I think it’d be beneficial to go for a number of reasons, particularly with regards to [insert project/job role/task]. The [workshop/panel] will provide a great opportunity to network with our target audience – the list of expected attendees is here and includes [target company].
I’ve estimated travel arrangements to be circa [£] and there is a discount available for accomodation booked in conjunction with the [£] ticket – so it would only cost [£] to attend.
I’ve looked at the office calendar and there is no leave booked on those days, so any issues that arise in my absence will be dealt with by the team. Plus, there’s internet and office space at the venue, so I can catch up on anything missed over lunch/during breaks.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts!
B2B events are a different beast to selling commercial events to the public – often, approval will have to be sought by several members of staff. So, the best thing you can do as an organiser is to make it easy for decision-makers to see the benefits and potential ROI from your event.
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