How To Drive Event Sales with Emotions

Skift Take

Have you ever wondered what drives our decisions and why customers make the purchasing choices that they do? Here are four ways of understanding the emotions behind our decision making and how you can use this to drive your future event sales.

In my last post 5 secrets of successful event sales I touched on emotional decision factors and selling the ‘why’ rather than ‘what’ to drive successful event sales. Most people think that it’s logic that drives the key decisions that we make in life, whether professional or personal, but actually it’s our emotions that are responsible for just about every decision we make – and not just the events we attend.

We may kid ourselves that we are more rational than we actually are, however as human beings we are both rational and emotional. Logic simply drives our thought, it’s our emotions that drive our actions, led by our desires and aspirations.

To explain this as simply as possible let’s consider this in regards to the purchase of a new car. In most cases you will have thought about purchasing a new car because you need one (logic), and it’s after establishing this need you then go away and do your research, perusing all of the information you have to hand before making a decision on the car you will eventually purchase, which will most likely be based on which one makes you look and feel good at the wheel (emotion)!

1. What Are These Key Emotions?


With a throwback to my sales days, sales expert Geoffrey James wrote in a 2012 article that all buying decisions stem from interplay of the following six emotions:

  • Greed. “If I make a decision now, I will be rewarded.”
  • Fear. “If I don’t make a decision now, I’m toast.”
  • Altruism. “If I make a decision now, I will help others.”
  • Envy. “If I don’t make a decision now, my competition will win.”
  • Pride. “If I make a decision now, I will look smart.”
  • Shame. “If I don’t make a decision now, I will look stupid.”

Therefore, as an events marketer if what you are proposing doesn’t hit an emotional high note then the chances are you’re not going to make that sale and the same can then be said about your event. However, which emotion you should focus on really depends on your content, your audience, and their needs and aspirations.

2. Find Out What Motivates Your Attendees


As an event marketer looking to design more engaging content that appeals emotionally, a great place to start is to find out why your audiences are attending your events, and though they may not admit it at first these reasons are driven by their personal motivators and aspirations.

By uncovering these motivators and aspirations you can create hot and sticky content that is guaranteed to make an impact, encourage debate and arouse their curiosity, in turn enhancing their event experience.

Simply asking your attendees what motivated them to attend your event at the point of registration and when it is fresh in their minds is a great place to start, and will provide you with some extremely powerful and useful information to improve and enhance the event in hand, and your future events, and really grab their attention.

For example, if you discover you have a large proportion of your audience looking to expand their network or increase their profile, you may be encouraged to add on a networking session or some form of interactive networking to your event. How valuable would that one addition be to your audience and how likely would they be to come to your future events?

3. Build An Emotional Connection And Focus On The Why!

As an event marketer it’s becoming more and more critical to build an emotional connection with your potential audience by focusing on the ‘why’ you are holding an event rather than the ‘what’ of your event. Whilst the ‘what’ is the end product it’s the ‘why’ that’s most important for creating that emotional connection and driving your event sales.

Really focus on the reason your audience should attend your events and remember to put an emotional spin on it, whether that’s fear, shame or plain old envy, and watch the registrations come in.

4. Use Emotions To Drive Your Sponsorship Sales!

Looking for more sponsors for your events? Try encouraging potential partners to harness all of the above to emotionally tie their product and service to a target market, whilst they are feeling excited, passionate, enthusiastic, empowered (whatever emotion the event is driving in them).

Another name for this, passion branding, is harnessing the power of emotions to build strong brands and the very reason that more and more companies are now adopting event sponsorship as part of their integrated marketing strategies.

This is also touched on in The Importance of Emotion in Event Strategy, and how we fall in love with brands for the values they stand for rather than the functions of a product and sometimes long before its use.

In Conclusion

If you’re really going to tap into the emotions that drive decision-making, you need to understand not just an audience’s current emotional state and aspirations, but also the values and beliefs used to evaluate the emotional weight of anything that you might present to them.

And that means research! The more thoroughly you research your audience, the more likely you’ll be able to understand this. They say information is key, but it’s important to remember that human beings are both rational and emotional. Marketing is changing and successful event planners and marketers really concentrate on communicating the ‘why’ these days rather than the ‘what’.

Therefore, ensure that you use information to reel your audience in and kick start that rationale and the decision process, but don’t forget what’s really important is that it’s ‘the why’ that will really have that emotional impact.