“Corralling the Chaos”

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Encompass was invited to participate in Lasso’s “Corralling the Chaos” podcast a few weeks ago. If you haven’t already listened, check it out here!

This episode focused on Selling the Show and featured three guests with different perspectives. One company dominates their regional Canadian market, another works coast-to-coast in the US, and a consultant who specializes in helping sales teams be their best.

The podcast turned out great but we felt there were a few questions that deserve a deeper dive …

What are the biggest opportunities event companies have today?

There’s an opportunity to ensure your brand accurately represents your organization

The past few years were filled with challenges but they also provided opportunities to refresh or reinvent the way organizations operate. The actual sale of a product or service is a small part of what most companies do. It’s important to focus on what happens before and after the sale to ensure a great client experience and repeat business.

Even before a potential client reaches out, they begin to experience your brand in some fashion. A brand is much more than a logo … it’s what clients see and hear when they’re not talking to you. This includes word-of-mouth reputation, online presence (website, social platforms, and search engines), publications, etc. Developing and maintaining a company’s brand is hard work but critical to sustainable success.

There’s also an opportunity to temporarily scale completely changes the competitive landscape

Companies downsizing or closing, technicians leaving the industry, and supply chain constraints have impacted expectations throughout our industry. Things that were important in the past aren’t as important anymore.

For instance, staffing an event with full-time techs and owning every piece of equipment was basically expected for decades. That led to some really bad habits! Some companies would substitute equipment based on availability at the cost of functionality. Others would trade profit margin for cash flow to cover their inflated overhead. Both actions had ripple effects that negatively affected our entire industry.

There’s been a shift to outcome-based selling (we’ll get to that in a moment) which minimizes the perceived importance of “who works where and owns what”. Being able to fill positions with on-demand techs and cross rent items that aren’t justified to purchase helps companies manage their overhead and maintain margins without risk of losing business.

From a sales perspective, what has changed the most in the past few years?

As mentioned, there’s been an industry shift toward outcome-based selling. This allows vendors and their clients to focus on big-picture deliverables rather than scrubbing pages of line items.

Another significant change has been lead time. What used to take months has been reduced to weeks (even days in some cases). Sales teams need to respond quickly and accurately plus react to … even anticipate … change.

Pro Tip: Operations teams are equally impacted so communication and process are extremely important.

How can sales teams align on pricing and value proposition?

As Tom Stimson loves to joke, “y’all just make up pricing and get each other to go along with it”.

Every company has its own method of determining prices that include purchase price, life expectancy, and market average. The most important thing for alignment regarding pricing is understanding your model and believing that it’s correct.

Alignment when it comes to value proposition is a little more complex …

First, narrowing down “what you love to do and who you love doing it for” helps immensely. Being everything to everyone is to explain and even more difficult to accomplish. Like a puzzle, it’s much easier to align fewer pieces.

Second, completely understanding your client’s needs and your organization’s role in a particular event determine the value proposition. Here’s a peek at how our team categorizes clients and our corresponding support role …

  • Agency – pick up where they leave off (usually technical design and deployment)
  • B2B – add scalability to a look-a-like providers (supporting an event rather than a rental)
  • Dry Hire – fill a very specific equipment and/or labor need (with few or no mutual outcomes)

Pro Tip: Understanding what your organization provides and being confident in its pricing is important internally and externally. These steps should be considered mandatory and reviewed often

Bonus Topic …

According to a recent Lasso survey, “Almost 60% of production companies said they collect less than a 50% deposit or none at all”. Is that surprising to you?

Karl (the consultant on this podcast) put it best … “That’s bananas!”.

We never understood the arbitrary 50% deposit that everyone considered “standard”. What’s that based on? How much are we willing to refund if this event goes in another direction? Is it transferrable to another event?

We adopted a progressive billing model that we call Scheduled Payments. Services are organized into eight categories and align the timing of our invoices to correspond with milestones. These milestones are based on our labor policies, cross rental agreements with vendors, pre-production tasks, etc. … real things!

Conclusion …

It was a pleasure to be included in Lasso’s podcast. The topics they cover span across our industry … much more than crewing … and their guests are real thought leaders. Their other episodes can be found here.

At Encompass, we have unique backgrounds that situate us perfectly to produce high end and complex offerings. We’ve worked in broadcast television, touring entertainment, live sporting events, and countless convention facilities across the country.

We have technical design experience and a disciplined process in place that allows us to easily scale events and shift from in-person to virtual without angst. There isn’t much that’s beyond our scope and we love the intensity of putting on events!

If you’re a planner working to create an event, seeking help with virtual event technology, or simply want to learn more … we can help! Sign up below to receive our updates (we promise to keep your contact information secure and won’t “overshare”).