Building trust in your company and its product amongst prospective customers, often in other countries, is one of the biggest marketing challenges for the rapid growth stage entrepreneur. There is significant brand benefit in having a key prospective customer or group of customers visit your company premises, meet your key management, staff and advisors/suppliers.
It builds trust and confidence –the two keys to purchase. If these substantial benefits are to be gained, then planning, preparation and execution are vital.
- Team Selection and Briefing. Decide on the complete group of people in your company that will be “exposed” to the visiting prospects. Remember that first impressions cannot be made a second time. Reception staff/security, executives directly involved in your presentations, executives/staff that will be met on walk-about, etc. should be briefed thoroughly on the impression and messages that need to be conveyed.
- Open Day Nuts and Bolts. The: who, what, where and when of the day – attendee details, agenda of presentation/discussions, times, locations, equipment to be used, hospitality arrangements, corporate gifts and transport arrangements.
- Objectives. Define the key objectives you have for the open day. What is the prospective customer expecting from the day? Everyone on the team has to be clear on these factors and on their role/contribution to both.
- Strategy. How will these sets of objectives be achieved? What are the key messages and who will deliver them? Content for the audio/visual/multimedia presentation?
- Tactics. What do we do if they ask this or query that? Who handles these questions and how?
- Debriefing. Team meeting to review notes on how the open-day went for both parties. Who might be sponsoring executives in the prospective customer companies? Who might not? Did we influence the decision makers? What worked well? What did not?