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Hire a BDM (Business Development Manager) OR run an event?

Yesterday, I had a really interesting discussion with a successful business owner who runs an electrical business. The question came up: Do I hire a BDM (business development manager) or can I run an event?

Although the commercial side of his business is at capacity, what he is looking for is more service work. Specifically, he is looking to grow his business to services high-rise apartments in the city. The best way to get the contract is to speak directly to the facility managers of the high-rise, as they are the decision makers. His idea was to hire a BDM and send her in to talk to these guys one on one and convert them. While this is the typical way to build your businesses, there is a better way.

Why Host An Event?

We continued the discussion to delve further into what a facility manager wants and discovered that what they want is a kickback. At this point, I reiterated some facts. A good BDM is going to cost about $100K - $120K a year plus commission. We already have a list of 500 plus facility managers. We already know what they want.

Once we reviewed these facts, I made a proposition - Why don't you host a Dinner for these facility managers? Wine and dine them, make sure that there's really good food, really good drinks, get a great speaker on board and position yourself as an expert by present your opportunity directly to the facility managers. Hosting a dinner will cost you $5K - $7K versus $120K. Even if you run 3 of these dinners per year, you’ll still be saving a minimum of $100K. Plus there's an opportunity to create, convert and build relationships and position yourself as an authority and a thought leader.

To further validate my perspective, I went on to explain that hosting a dinner will help to build relationships with these potential prospects to get to know them. Will enable his company to provide an awesome experience for his prospects. This will make them feel more inclined to convert and work with him. Plus he's going to be able to get an abundance of marketing collateral; videos, photos, testimonials. This final conversation won him over to my way of thinking. He was ready to host an event in the form of a dinner!

Our conversation now turns to strategy. In order to make this dinner a success, there is one specific question we need to answer - What do I need to know about my prospect in order to be able to create the right type of event for them?

5 Questions To Ask When Planning An Event

Before planning a dinner/event for your prospects asks yourself:

Who are they?

In this example they are facility managers, looking after high-rise apartments in the city of Melbourne. We already have a list with their details, which makes it easy for us to reach out to them directly.  

What type of event would they enjoy?

There are many different types of events. Understanding who your prospect is and what experience you want to create for them will help you understand what type of event they would enjoy. A breakfast, a lunch & learn, a dinner, a retreat, a seminar, an online master class.

We decided that Facility Managers work hard, they would enjoy being wined and dined, and given we want to woo them. A dinner is a great choice. 

What are they looking for?

Facility managers are looking for “kickback”. They just want some commission from the company they are giving business to. Knowing this gives us great leverage to create an offer around exactly what they want.

How are you different from their current service provider?

It is really important to understand how your business and your services are different from the current service provider. Be clear on what your prospects need, what they currently aren’t getting, and where you can add value. This knowledge will enable the conversion from using our competitors to using us.

What are we going to offer our prospects (attendees)?  

There's no point in running your event, especially a Dinner Party for prospects if you're not really, really clear on what it is we're going to offer them. Having a really clear concise offer that's going to give them what they want and solve their problems is of major importance.

Save $100K And Position Yourself As An Expert

I think we've answered the question. Sometimes running an event is more cost effective and gives you a lot more benefits than hiring a BDM.