The Benefits of Identifying Buyer Types

Buyer Types

Defining the type of buyer upfront leads to better communication throughout.

Before diving into the events industry aspect, let’s talk about something many of us have (or will) experience in our personal lives …

A father and daughter decide to visit several car dealerships on the girl’s 18th birthday. They’re looking for a reliable, yet affordable, vehicle as she heads off to college.

At the first dealership, a salesman greets them at the father’s late model SUV. They talk briefly before heading toward a row of brand-new vehicles. He pitches the daughter on how cool a new car would be and tugs on her dad’s heartstrings citing zero maintenance and quadruple driver’s side airbags. Since the salesman blatantly ignored the term “affordable”, they politely excused themselves and left.

Trying a different tactic, they exchange the father’s newer SUV for the daughter’s 20-year-old import and head to a different dealership.

At the second dealership, two salesmen notice the family’s arrival but don’t approach them. Thinking a more qualified buyer could pull in at any moment, they decide to watch from a distance. After looking at several pre-owned vehicles alone, the father and daughter leave without the opportunity to speak to anyone.

Completely frustrated by both experiences, they decide to look online instead.

The website they found asked several questions including vehicle preferences, monthly budget, trade-in value, and even pre-qualified the daughter. Four vehicles were returned as potential matches and there was a portal for asking questions or scheduling a test drive. They picked their favorite, scheduled a test drive, and purchased the vehicle the following day.

The goal of a buyer is to find a seller that fulfills their needs. The goal of a seller is to understand those needs before attempting to sell anything.

In this example, the third experience took place online but was intentionally designed to identify what was important to the buyer and create a journey specifically for them.

So, how does this work in the event industry?

Identifying Buyer Types

A quick Google search yields dozens of resources with lists from three to twenty-three Buyer Types … yikes!

In our experience, organizations buying technical production services can be distilled into three groups …

Value Buyers

Value Buyers leverage supply and demand and make decisions based mostly on price.

Event proposals should include a Scope of Work and Case Study followed by a simple Acceptance Page.

Rental proposals are similar but shouldn’t be “cluttered” with anything unrelated to pricing. Especially in wholesale situations, the Scope of Work is likely to be replaced by an equipment list.

Quickly delivering an accurate SOW or equipment and labor list with subtotal pricing often wins this business.

Control Buyers

Control Buyers are generally technical experts and often submit a detailed RPF outlining their needs.

It’s ok to stray from the request when inventory and/or expertise dictate but an explanation is always necessary.

In some cases, a Scope of Work will suffice but don’t be surprised if an equipment list (with or without line item pricing) is requested too.

Specs and organization mimicking the RFP plus detailing variances are key to earning this business.

Confidence Buyers

Confidence Buyers might be event experts but they trust your team to deliver without much (if any) oversight.

It’s very important to understand their expected outcomes completely. Their reputation … and maybe their job … relies on your execution.

A Scope of Work, Case Study (particularly for new client partners), and a simple Acceptance Page should be included in the proposal. Detailed equipment and labor lists can actually erode the confidence you’ve built!

A verifiable record of consistently delivering excellent results (long-term relationships or outstanding testimonials) is critical to closing this business.

When Should We Identify the Buyer Type and Who Needs to Know This?

Clear communication depends on the seller identifying the Buyer Type and doing so sooner is better. This should be shared with the entire organization so everyone’s communication styles align.

Pro Tip: Once you understand the Buyer Types, identifying them becomes instinct.

In a perfect situation, the buyer also knows their type. In fact, an experienced buyer will self-identify and share their profile with potential sellers upfront!

Conclusion

Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, understanding Buyer Types helps establish clear communications and defines expectations throughout the production process.


Our team has worked in broadcast television, touring entertainment, live sporting events, and countless convention facilities. The combination of unique backgrounds situates us perfectly to produce high-end and complex offerings.

We have technical design experience and a disciplined process that allows us to easily scale events and shift from in-person to virtual without angst. There isn’t much 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”).

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