5 Keys to Building Relationships During Online Events

By Aaron Joslow5 Keys to Building Relationships During Online Events

Your [company’s] survival depends on having sales conversations with the right people. Webinars offer an opportunity to have them. The attendees are people whom you targeted and who told you—by registering—they want to spend an hour listening to you.

And what do most firms do? They practically ignore each person. They might say hello to the group, but rarely does anyone ask an attendee what he or she thought.

Consider how someone usually interacts with a speaker or company during a webinar. He or she:

1. Receives a marketing email and registers.

2. Receives a confirmation email with login instructions.

3. Receives a reminder email or two.

4. Watches the live presentation.

5. Receives a thank you email with access to the slides and on-demand recording.

Many prospects can register, show up, and disappear without anyone every communicating with them one-on-one.

This fact does not diminish the effectiveness of webinars. (Most companies run them this way and say they are an unqualified success.) Rather, it means most companies could lift the effectiveness of their webinars to new heights.

Here are five actions you can take to interact one-on-one with attendees, initiate more conversations, and form new client relationships.

•  #1 Ask for Questions Ahead of Time

One goal of your webinar presentation is to provide as much value to your attendees as possible. What better way to discover what registrants want than the ask them.

Action Item: Email each registrant with the main points of the presentation. Ask each person, “Which one(s) would you like me to focus on?” Or, “What questions would you like me to address in greater detail.” Track the results by individual.

(Read on to see how to leverage this information.)

#2 Initiate Chats during the Webinar

Attendees usually communicate with the webinar speaker(s) and moderator by chatting. Usually a number of them do. But most do not.

The ones who do chat have their own concerns addressed directly by the speaker. These same people typically give the webinar a higher rating in the exit surveys and are more inclined to having follow-up conversations.
Your job then is to create more chats.

Action Item: Assign several knowledgeable people to start chats with every webinar attendee. Have nearby their replies to the question email (cited above) if possible. Ask the attendees what they think. Ask them for details about their business. Ask them why they joined the webinar.

Some of these conversations will bloom: Attendees may share their needs and aspirations and may agree to a phone conversation with the speaker at a later date.

#3 Use Webinar Handouts

Most presentations are one-way communications. The speaker speaks and the listener listens. More good things happen when presentations become interactive. Webinar handouts are another way to do this.

Action Item: Send attendees a handout or worksheet before the webinar and build in work for attendees to do during the webinar.

This could be questions they have to answer or a checklist they need to complete. At the very least, it keeps them focused on the webinar (and not on their inbox). And it often leaves attendees with something of physical value and leaves you with a good conversation topic if you reach them later.

#4 Have an Exit Survey

You felt you did a great job delivering the webinar presentation. What did the audience think? Most speakers cannot answer with certainty because they never asked.

Action Item: Create an exit survey and give the URL to attendees before the webinar is over. It lets them rate their experience and give open-ended answers to what they liked and didn’t like. The survey provides you with invaluable information about the reactions of each individual.

(Note, more attendees will take an exit survey if it is offered at the beginning of the Q&A and not at the end of the webinar.)

#5 Make Follow-Up Phone Calls

Have someone call every attendee and registrant after the webinar. Ask them how it went and inquire about their exit survey comments and any other information you have.

Calling always makes a difference. For instance, a three-dimensional mailer campaign we executed received a 1% response rate. That response rose to 10% when the firm called each recipient. It isn’t the job of the prospect to call you if they are interested. It’s their job to be interested when you reach them by phone.

Action Item: Call every attendee within 48 hours. Call every registrant within 96 hours. (They’ll usually be happy to hear from your company.)

•  Talk with Your Guests

When you invite friends over for a dinner party, you ask them what they might like to eat beforehand; you talk to them during the event; you have fun things for them to do; you say good night; and you speak with them a day or two later to find out how their evening went. You absolutely call friends who said they would come, but then had to cancel.

Do the same thing with your webinar attendees and registrants! Ask them what appeals to them ahead of time (offer areas of interest). Provide them with something to do (give a handout). Start a conversation (initiate a chat). Ask them how the evening went (provide an exit survey). And call them later to talk about the evening and schedule other events (make a follow-up phone call).

You want your prospects to become clients. Talking with them only helps.

Aaron Joslow
Principal at Rally Point Webinars