An interview with the Co-Creators of Event Refresh and Event Sales, Frazer Chesterman FM Future and Paul Streeter PSJ Training who will be delivering two exciting new courses in the Autumn as part of the UFI certified professional programme.

Who are you and what is your background?

Frazer : I have both have around 25 plus years working in the exhibition and events industries, mostly launching and running shows in various markets from events for PA’s, events for exhibiting, to professional training, to printing technology. As well as trade-shows in 4 continents, I have also run conferences, summits, meetings and so on. At FM Future we are believers in the power of events to create positive change. This remains true today despite the changing world we live in. In fact, today, in our distracted digital society events remain even more important as a place to connect and create new opportunities.

Paul : Tuesday 3rd August 2021 was the 32nd anniversary of running my own training and development consultancy. I have been privileged to work with many talented and experienced sales professionals, to help them grow and polish their personal sales approach. Much of my time is spent working in the media sector including exhibitions. As well as training for clients in the UK, I have designed and delivered sessions across the globe, including Shanghai, HK, Singapore, KL and Boston, New York, Washington DC, Houston and Santa Rosa. In the UK, current clients include CloserStill Media, Mash Media, HPCi Media, Mark Allen Group and Step Communications

What is Event Refresh?

Frazer: Prior to Covid we had been running a series of training sessions on Launching events – Event LaunchPad and these had been really popular. We were surprised to discover that there is very little access to insight and information for launching new events. So, we felt we could provide both a service to event organisers who may need some help or inspiration to launch or even re-launch their events.

As we now get back some normality after these last 18 months, we wanted to help the industry to re-ignite the interest and excitement that we all get from face to face events. Many of the same considerations are applicable to thinking about Launching an event as Re-Launching your event. Clearly, there are going to be new challenges for organisers as customers slowly return to using events as a main marketing medium, so all of us need to re-examine the values of our shows and remind customers that events represent the focus for the community. Really successful events embrace this and emphasise their complete value to exhibitors and visitors alike.

Post Covid the challenge is how do we refresh our thinking about a pre-existing events or exhibitions?  How can we ensure we create new ideas and themes for our events?

We are surprised at how many organisers forget to ‘Map’ back to the value of the show to the Customer – not what the show does but WHY is adds value for the Customer? So, we remind the event organiser to consider the value proposition of the event. Thinking about the pains and gains that the customer has and ensuring the event delivers gain creators and pain relievers to really resonate with the customer and provide strong value.

Through these techniques, we aim to help event organisers to build a clear vision/mission for their event and develop a strong community and a compelling story for both exhibitors and visitors alike.

What should we expect on the Event Sales course?

Paul : We’ll be examining all the skills and techniques that make up our unique sales styles and sharpening our application of them. This includes how to create trust at the start of the sales call plus how to use questions to define prospects’ needs and reinforce our professional credibility. We’ll also be updating our approach to delivering value propositions by fine-tuning the feature-benefit model. And we’ll be looking at how to use visualisation to close the sale and how to maintain momentum throughout the sales process. Finally, we’ll be agreeing detailed action plans to support the application of our personal learning in the workplace

What in your view constitutes a Great Event?
We think that great events deliver impact. This impact is often best aligned to a mission, a purpose or what Simon Sinek famously calls a why. Of course, events like Live Aid are famous for that but the principle we think is applicable event to a trade show in any type of market. We think the value of this is twofold. You get to serve a market, solve a problem for that market, but also you then get the value of motivating people around a cause that has genuine value for the community.

Why is re-launching events difficult in your view?
Innovation of any kind isn’t easy. You may have a great idea that may have a chance of becoming a valuable event, most people will actually find this inconvenient. The fact is that the marketing manager or director responsible for events will have made a plan for the year and your event may not going to be in it now.  Your customer might also be nervous of returning to using exhibitions as a major marketing tool.

So getting ‘buy in’ and commitment for the event is going to be harder than ever, and often you will need to inspire senior people to get behind the idea of supporting it again. There are various ways of doing this, which we cover in our workshop, but doing your due diligence, engaging with the market, and really understanding your market is so important. Often events fail we think because the organiser doesn’t really connect very well with the market – therefore the result is limited as the energy, trust and brand isn’t right.

What do you cover in your workshop for organisers?

Frazer : We tackle the hard facts of re-launching. We talk about the fact it requires energy and commitment and that you will have to get used to more opposition for your event idea as opposed to support. Even if you have the coolest concept for an event, most people will not support it initially. This can be quite deflating! It is this who can weather these tonight periods, keep going, adapting, storytelling and persisting to that reach the point where you open the doors. It is a real journey launching, one of many ups and downs, and managing your energy and your emotional state is as important as managing your P & L!

Paul: On the Event Sales course we cover – Opening the sales call, defining the needs and wants of your prospects, managing the sales conversation and matching benefits. We also look at managing objections and closing. We also touch on building trust, which I know Frazer also covers and we share ways in which you can really excite your prospect. Overall it’s a great session with loads of value and new ideas.

More than ever more , we need to think about our messaging and story for our shows – this Autumn, FM Future will deliver two training courses for Event organisers as part of the UFI accredited professional qualification and you will earn 4 hours toward UFI Certified Professional (UCP).

Event Refresh will take place on 21 September and 20 October.
Event Sales will take place on 22 September  and 21 October.