Educating your prospects is an important part of doing business. It builds trust and offers MSP prospects a way to learn more about your services without the subconscious pressure of a sales meeting.
One very effective method to show off your expertise is to host a lunch and learn. This gives you the chance to establish a relationship with your potential clients and position yourself as an expert in your field. Planning is key to a successful lunch and learn, and there are several factors you should consider.
Planning Your Lunch and Learns
Start planning your lunch and learn about 4-6 weeks ahead of time. Perfecting a presentation and hammering out event details takes time, and so does spreading the word about your lunch and learn. You will also need to schedule it far enough to ensure your prospects will be available.
The most important part of your lunch and learn will be your presentation. Make sure that your message fits your audiences and their needs. The point in your presentation is to educate your audience, not blatantly advertise your services. If you're stuck for ideas, think about problems and questions you commonly solve for your current clients. You can add some color and personality to your presentation with anecdotes. Just make sure and not go off on too much of a tangent.
One way to get rock solid presentations is to use Presstacular's Marketing Kits, which cover various topics like data backup options, MSP pricing, understanding IT terminology and many others. Each marketing kit includes a complete PowerPoint slide deck that you can customize for your company. It also comes with a white paper and pre-formatted printable articles that you can edit. It is a lot easier to modify an existing slide deck or white paper than to create one from scratch. Schedule a Presstacular demo to learn more about acquiring these marketing kits to save you loads of time and make hosting your lunch and learn easier.
Where to Host Your Lunch and Learn
The venue is also import to a successful event. A lunch and learn also doesn't have to be hosted at your office. Try booking a large table at a restaurant. By moving outside your office you can host events in different areas of town that are convenient for your prospects. It's difficult for busy executives to make a lengthy drive and then attend a lunch session.
By bringing the lunch and learn closer to them, you increase the likelihood they will be able to attend. There is also the added benefit that the restaurant will take care of set up and cleaning afterward, so you can focus on preparing your presentation and marketing.
Offset Your Cost using Market Development Funds (MDF)
If budget is a concern you may have some options. Some IT vendors provide market development funds (MDF) to offset the cost of marketing expenses.
If you resell products from companies like Microsoft, McAfee, or Cisco, contact your representative prior to planning your event and they may pick up the tab.
Promoting Your Lunch and Learn
Once you have the location squared away, you need to begin letting your prospects now about your event. Start by sending an email to your contacts inviting them to attend. Write a clear call to action letting recipients know how to register, such as "reply to this email." Include a prominent link to your email address or registration page to make it easy. There are a number of free tools online like Wufoo that will allow you to create a registration form. It will also store registrant information for you to download later.
If you've decided to hold a few events in different parts of town, you can segment you list by zip code and target your emails based on your prospect's location. This way your list members will only hear about events that would be convenient for them to attend. Targeting you emails like this is easy with a marketing tool like Presstacular.
After that, spread the word any way you can. Post to LinkedIn, Twitter, or any other social media accounts that you may have. If you have some promising prospects, reach out to them directly to invite them. Some companies will also provide leads along with MDF, so be sure to ask about that as well.
By following these steps to prepare for a lunch and learn, you should be able to host a successful event. You will get the chance to give your brand a face and personality as well as show your prospects your expertise. Lunch and learns are an excellent way to make sure that you remain top of mind when your prospects have IT questions and concerns.