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How To Get Bum’s On Seats

I have been asked on thousands of occasions “How do I get bums on seats?” “How can I get people to turn up?”

In a society where people have sussed that getting people to “see” what you do, enables sales the market is saturated with events to attend. From charity events, parties, MLM presentations, networking open days, taster days, surgeries, the list is endless. So no wonder getting bums on seats is not so easy.

Having hosted thousands events and as the network I founded The Business Womans Network comes up to celebrating it’s 10th birthday, I can safely say I know how to get bums on seats.

Why the weather can impact on sales.

How to sell tickets for your Christmas event from the South of France in July when your phone is turned off – heck you don’t know where it is!

And even how to get MP’s, journalists and TV celebrities to turn up!

So here are my quick top tips for making your event an ultimate success;

  1. The first thing I want you to remember is that because of my illness (Lupus) I am not able to work as many hours as I would like or use many of the routes to market that may be open to you, thus what I’m saying is, that if I can fill a course in 24 hours, if I can work with a small team to make ££££’s for charity in one evening with only 3 weeks prep, if I can make my networking group grow continuously, then these top tips WILL work if you get this right. (that was my bossy, kick butt voice, did you get that? It’s only because I genuinely care about you getting results.)
  2. Get yourself known as a thought leader first. Its a bit of a catch 22 situation, however if you want someone to attend your event, you need to make it obvious for them, that they should choose you over someone else. If I “Google” you online, what will I see? What would your target audience see? Wherever someone finds you it has to all add up to the same image, the same clear “This is what we do, and we do it exceptionally well.” How do you walk the walk on line and off line? Remember many people I’m working with right now have come to me over anyone else because of my online presence, wherever you go, you get the same version of Mandie Holgate. True authenticity and reputation speak to your clients often before you get the chance to – Can you say the same?
  3. Prove it. You’ve now got the perfect online image that says “we are the experts to learn from.” now prove it. Who have you worked with? Are your testimonials hidden on one page? Are they utilised across your entire marketing strategy?
  4. Results. Okay testimonials are lovely, but anyone can say something nice about you. It can end up as powerful as a like on Facebook (and a lot of likes does not equate to a lot of success), and lets be honest, I’ve only got 900ish likes on Facebook because I’ve never asked for a like. Okay across Twitter on my 2 accounts I’ve 8000+, however wherever I am on line they are genuine likes, and not the generic “Oooo if you like me, I will like you.” So you need to showcase in every aspect of your marketing the results that people can expect. How did you make that customer feel? What impact did it have on their life? Their Business? Their Success? Get specific. Use statistics and facts. Reinforce why people must attend your event.
  5. What’s that word of mouth saying? Quite often we “think” we are known for one thing and in actual fact it can be something else entirely. So find out. What do people actually feel you are good at? What do people feel you lack skill in? Tell people they have carte blanch right to be honest here. Remember criticism is your chance to learn and be a better version of you.
  6. Are you dynamic? Okay this one is a tad harsh, but hey you come to me for answers, and I won’t shy away from the harder ones to address…..so, remember when you were at school, the kid that you were friends with and got invited to their party and yet you questioned whether you should go, because that kid was considered “Uncool.” Do you feel people would want to spend the day/evening with you? Do you have pizazz? Can people believe that you are the expert that won’t bore them to death? In my experience sometimes really intelligent people, actually make poor trainers as they can lack people skills to appreciate other peoples needs and agendas. So are you someone that people want to spend time with? (And if you feel you lack charm or people skills – they are all learn-able – and I teach them.)
  7. Check your ooziness. Leading on nicely from pizazz, do you ooozzzzzeee the passion for the subject you want to host an event on? People buy into passion. We buy certain products because of the way they make us feel. So do you ooze the “Wowness”?
  8. Stop selling at people. Posting the link to your event a thousand time will not equate to a thousand guests, it will equate to a thousand people thinking “is that all they can talk abut!” Blog, share great images, share top tips, I find that I don’t need to sell my books, courses, training or coaching. Sharing enables people to see I’m their expert of choice and they buy into me as a product. So don’t sell at people, enable people to buy into you and feel like they are part of the cool team.
  9. After any event, no matter how small a group you end up with, its a start. Ensure you take pictures, and make sure there are no empty chairs in view. Remember if it is a small group, the only people that will know that are those that where in the room, and if you made them feel amazing, and if they walk out of the room thinking it was amazing, they will talk more about that feeling and what they learned than about how small the group was. If anything they will want to see it happen again and so will be happy to get involved in spreading the word for the next one, so how will you utilise that?
  10. Of all of these points work but don’t forget if you want to get bums on seats ask yourself “Do I utilise 8 to 10 tools off of Mandie’s Marketing Production Line.”
I have helped a lot of organisers of events, hotels, event management companies, networks, charities, marketing agencies, coach’s, therapists, accountants and even financial advisers get bums on seats for their events and ensure they get maximum benefit for their business out of the experience.
I’m happy to have a chat with you to assist and usually this is just a 2 hour coaching session and you are flying high – okay you get a lot of homework, a lot of back burner ideas, an action plan and a coach that will care about you forever – sorry I can’t help the last bit. I care passionately about your success – even if we only work together for 2 hours in your entire life!
  • March 7, 2019

Me too?

When the #Metoo campaign became common knowledge last year I realised how lucky I was to never have experienced sexual harassment or sexual assault and my heart went out to all those that had been impacted upon and how it may still be affecting their lives. Then recently something happened, and I found myself asking lots of questions. I have since asked other women in business how they might deal with such things and we all struggled to come up with a decisive answer.

I even questioned whether I should write this article however I realised that as Founder of The Business Womans Network and as a mental health ambassador as well as someone who successfully worked in a traditionally male-dominated environment and I empower, motivate and build confidence for others, I realised if I cannot talk about it when I’m a strong confident woman who helps others to be just that, how could anyone else find the strength?

I will go back to the incident and share my questions, together perhaps we can help all of us, male and female to understand how we ensure that everyone feels safe, respected and free from sexually inappropriate behaviour in any environment.

I was at a business event and found myself next to a business owner who constantly throughout the meeting touched my arm and found an excuse to kiss me on arrival and on leaving (even though I didn’t know them). On two occasions they touched my leg too. Even writing this makes me feel uncomfortable because I worry greatly that you will not be able to read my tonality or will take your own experiences into account and have a very different perspective on this situation.

On a few occasions in the event, someone sat near me asked if I was enjoying the full experience of sitting next to this person and laughed, so it clearly was their natural way of behaving and people knew that this person behaved in this way. I do not believe I commented however on driving back to the office I found myself asking if I had handled that situation in the correct way. While I’m a confident woman who was not impacted on by that experience I can clearly understand how it could put others off from networking or open events like this again.

I later learnt that someone who had not been at the event was networking in another town and someone who had been in attendance at the previous event mentioned how they’d never met Mandie Holgate before and they looked forward to meeting me again and they talked about how this person had been “all over Mandie”. So clearly it had been behaviour that had been noted and was later being commented on.

Even as I write, I’ve walked away from this article on numerous occasions, so the first thing to consider is why?

I suppose because by raising awareness to this behaviour I do not wish to risk offending the person in question. I’m a grown woman and quite capable of looking after myself so this is where on discussions with other women we have struggled to assess the correct way to handle these moments and whether we should say something.

Clearly, most of the people in the group knew about this behaviour and deemed it harmless, therefore I know I would worry about not being accepted by that group again if I said something. I would also worry that it could impact on my reputation and professionalism. However, if I don’t say something surely it risks damaging the other party’s reputation and professionalism because people are speaking about them behind their backs? Hardly professional is it!

It really does help me appreciate that if something I deem to be harmless and misjudged proves difficult for me to organise my thoughts, words or actions on how the hell does someone come forward with a serious grievance? I’d say the answer lies in a lot of guts and determination to make it better for everyone and complete appreciation that this is wrong, and they must not be allowed to get away with this.

Do I feel that strongly about what happened? Clearly not, however, is that then acceptance? Is that then stopping that person from learning a better way of behaving with decorum expected in the 21st century?

When I mentioned this to one business friend they spoke about how they found it difficult in business to know the acceptable greeting. Why is it that women tend to be kissed on the cheek whereas men tend to shake hands? Do we need to openly discuss this? Are women being treated with a different level of professionalism? Is it acceptable? The lack of confidence women experience is worth millions to our economy. Women often fear closing the sale. Women are less likely to ask for a pay rise and confidence is often the underlying issue. So, do we need a standardised way? Will we find that we are looked at differently if we ask for the acceptable greetings to be discussed? Will we be seen as petty for insisting on standards that make everyone feel comfortable?

You can see why I had so many questions, can’t you? If as a woman I struggle to know what to say or think then surely others feel the same too? I actually have no issue with a man opening a door for me, however, is that on the scale of sexist inappropriate behaviour? Does this come into the realm of “she was asking for it” because she had chosen to dress in a certain way? Another business friend told me that they had heard that a man who had been robbed in the street “had been asking for it” because he was wearing expensive clothes and jewellery. Can that be just reason? Really?

So where does this leave us? Clearly, there are many instances that are clear-cut and obviously inappropriate however what is the scale and what can we all do to help each other to feel comfortable and professional in any environment?

We need to be more open and not fear that we will be ostracised if we discuss these things. We need to make it clear that everyone has the same right to feel comfortable. We need to talk about personal space and how it makes people feel when we invade that. We need to talk, however when social media is full of attacks and people taking offence when you ask a question that can be hard to do can’t it?

I’ve also heard the argument that certain generations just behave in that way, it’s no big deal. Is that a good enough argument to warrant exemption?

I remember someone attacking me when they said that as a feminist I had to care more about women than men because I’m female. Really? Am I not allowed to care equally about all humans? And as such as hard as this article has been to write and raise some of the questions I have, I felt it was important for us all that I write this. Please feel free to share your thoughts. Be honest. Be respectful and appreciate tonality and meaning can be misconstrued in the written word. Thank you.

  • January 14, 2018