When running any business there’s an old expression— “You’ve got to know your numbers.” Yet it is surprising that most business owners have little knowledge of what their key numbers or metrics are.
Baseball players have their Batting Average, investors have their ROI, Internet marketers have their Click Thru Rate and so on. Each industry has its own set of metrics and the speaking profession is no different.
So what are the metrics you need to look at as a speaker? There are several key numbers you must know and track from event to event to see how you are performing. These include:
- Number of Attendees
- Number of Buying Units
- Closing Percentage
Number of Attendees
This one is fairly obvious. How many people are in the room at the beginning of your presentation and how many are in the room at the conclusion? Don’t try to count them yourself. Enlist the aid of your assistant if you brought one or get the help of someone else you know and trust to do this for you. It
is important to get both the starting and ending counts. Don’t ever take the promoter’s word on the number of people in the room—double check it.
With a large crowd you may find it difficult to get an accurate count. If you get to the event early do a count of how many people the room is set up for. This figure may help you get a more accurate estimate if you are forced to go that route.
Number of Buying Units
While similar to the number of attendees, it is not the same thing. While a husband and wife attending together would be counted as two attendees in your numbers they would be counted only as one buying unit. Why? Because both are not likely to buy the same product at an event.
I was attending an event a few years ago that was aimed at the home school market. Parents were encouraged to bring their entire families to the event and there were nearly one hundred people in attendance. However, when you got down to figuring the number of fathers, mothers, sons and daughters in the audience you soon realized the one hundred people actually represented only about twenty buying units.
Determining the actual number of buying units in a room can be very challenging. In addition to family units you may also have business partners or a business owner and his assistant or even his entire team in the audience. All add to the trickiness of determining the actual number of buying units in the crowd.
You also have to factor in things such as the number of others speakers and their assistants who may be sitting in the room. Some may be hanging around after their presentation or coming into the room early to get the lay of the land and size up the crowd prior to their speaking slot. Although other speakers may occasionally buy another speaker’s product you typically wouldn’t consider them buying units when figuring your metrics.
Similarly, the event staff itself should not be counted among your buying units or number of attendees. They are there to assist the event promoter and could be doing anything from running microphones, manning a camera or audio board, passing out handouts or assisting at the sales table. Many are volunteers and if one of them happens to buy your product or service consider it an unexpected bonus.
If possible, see if the event promoter can provide you with a list of attendees prior to the event. Of course, there will always be additions and deletions to the attendees list when the event is actually held but a study of the attendee list in advance can help you determine the number of actual buying units as closely as possible.