Group Sales Meets Corporate Sponsorship

It might seem, at first, that Group Sales and Corporate Sponsorship are worlds away from each other. However, they can work together to sell tickets AND get donations.

Perhaps the easiest way to start is to institute a Corporate Discount Program offering ticket discounts to a few of the large businesses in the area. A good way to go about this is to get together with the staff member(s) who are in charge of sponsorships and inquire about the biggest donor businesses but ALSO the businesses that they have as prospects.

Most likely, the business will offer a discount to their employees more readily than contribute funds. The more employees that take advantage of the discount will show the head honchos that your organization is something that the employees care about and they should become a sponsor.

This approach requires that the Group Sales and Corporate Sponsoship staff work together as a team and share information. The typical guarded nature that both parties have about contacts must be shed to get the most out of the effort.

Service Fees

I will be the first to tell you that I am not a fan of service fees. They seem to be on everything nowadays.
I AM, however, a fan of service fees on group ticket orders. I generally think they shouldn’t be above $5 for regular orders with perhaps the option for a higher rate if someone wants their tickets overnighted or something similar.
If your order were 2 or 3 tickets, yes, that would seem high. But on an order of 50 tickets; not so much. Also, if you’re not tracking your postage use, you should. You’ll find out quite quickly that mailing all of those little padded envelopes chock-full of tickets can cost a pretty penny.
Just be sure that your ticketing system allows you to manually subtract that fee if necessary.

Moving Day…

So, I moved the blog to WordPress. I find it to be much more user-friendly and it has STATS!!! So I’ll be able to tell how many of my millions of fans are reading this each day…

Contracts: Really Important

It is amazing to me how many arts organizations still don’t use or require any kind of contract for their group sales. A signed contract is necessary both to protect the organization and the group.

Information the Contract Should Include (at the minimum):
1. Number of tickets
2. Seating location(s)
3. Payment due date(s)
4. Terms of Agreement

Your terms of agreement could include anything from return/exchange policies, to what will happen if payment is not made on time. Your organization’s regular single ticket policy is a good place to start in formulating this.

It is also important to make sure that your group leader actually signs the contract and returns it to you. An unsigned contract is as good as null.

Having Beginner’s Mind

Another great video clip. Not necessarily directly related to Group Sales, but an interesting commentary about how to think.

“Look from the person out, rather than from the organization in.” – Paul Bennett (Creative Director of Ideo)

Sometimes thinking about the group experience can make us find ways to serve the group even better and thereby make that group want to come back.

I command thee…MARKET!

Here is a great video clip from Seth Godin (marketing mastermind).


Arts Marketing Isn’t Just for People with the Word “Marketing” in Their Job Title

Group Sales has always been a bit of a mis-nomer for me. In reality, we are “marketing” to groups rather than “selling.” Some larger Group Sales departments do have a bit more of a sales edge, but the vast majority of us are doing things on a smaller scale for mid- and small-size organizations.

The 2007 Arts Marketing Conference is coming to Miami. Group Sales Managers should go as well as those people who have the word “marketing” in their job title. Valuable marketing ideas can come up that can be directly translated to Groups.

The more information and knowledge you have in your arsenal, the better!

Butts In Seats

Please excuse the language, but the primary goal of everyone who works for an arts organization is to get “butts in seats.” That is not to say that the goal is to make money (although that is part of it) but rather to expose as many people as possible to the arts.

In my experience, one of the major roadblocks that stands in the way of getting those “butts in seats” (especially for groups) is unfamiliarity with the arts. That unfamiliarity breeds a small amount of fear. Fear that they won’t understand what is going on. Fear that they’ll be bored. Fear that they won’t like it.

How do we overcome this fear? By providing FREE exposure to the arts.

Host a FAM and offer group leaders free tickets to one of your performances. If you’ve got an open dress rehearsal, invite them to that. Post video clips on YouTube and include them in e-blasts to groups. Invite group leaders to any outreach events that have a performance element.

I have yet to meet a group leader that was unhappy with a performance that they attended. If the group leader likes it, they are far more likely to bring a group of 50 to the next show. And all 50 of those people are going to like it too.

Offer an Incentive

Recently I recieved this e-blast from Minnesota Opera. While it was not sent from the Group Sales Department, it does show a great tactic: providing an incentive to take action in a timely manner.

This principal can easily be applied to groups. Offer something extra if groups place their order early. Have some seats to fill 2 weeks away from opening night? Add something extra for that last push for groups.

As with most people, some groups tend to wait until the last minute to place their order for fear that something else will come up. Making it worth their while to place their order early (or place it at all) can do wonders!

I’m Back!

Sorry for the long absence. International travels kept me busy for a while.