In every business, I’ve been part of we've hosted an open night, where we’ve invited our professional and non-professional referrers, and long-term A-type patients. It a great way to build trust and raving fans.
Now if you haven’t heard me use the terms professional and non-professional referrers before I’d suggest you listen to my podcasts episodes released on the 17th and 24 May 2018.
But to give you a quick overview:
A Professional Referrer: Is someone within your industry. For example, in the health industry a Physiotherapist is a professional referrer to a Podiatrist, in the financial sector an Accountant is a professional referrer to a Financial Planner, and in the building industry, a Plumber is a professional referrer to an Electrician.
A Non-Professional Referrer: Is someone outside your industry but potentially could refer people to your business. This referral source is often neglected. As an example, a Hairdresser is a non-professional referrer to a Plumber, Podiatrist or Accountant, but how often have you reached out to connect with your local hairdressers, other than the one you visit yourself.
Simple Or Complex
An open night in your business can be as simple or as complicated as you want, meaning it can be low-cost, moderate or expensive, that's really up to you, but what’s important is you have a compelling reason why you want to invite people for an open night.
It may want to:
- Show off some new equipment or technology
- Introduce them to a new product line
- Have them meet critical people in your team
- Or it could be a combo of all of the above
What If Are You A New Business?
Now if you’re a new business you may not yet have any professional or non-professional referrers yet, well so you would think, but if you listened to Episode 92 – Market Early & Create A Buzz you should have made contact with a lot of potential referrers during your setup phase leading up to your opening day.
With a new business though you would be throwing more of an opening party than an open night and therefore there will be more people, and the expense will go up accordingly.
Open Night Tips
When you do have an open night, here are a few tips to make it a success:
- Limit the number of people you invite (6 - 10 people). This may seem low, but there are good reasons for this.
- You are able to spend more time with each person that attends.
- Smaller numbers won’t feel like a party; therefore catering is much easier and less expensive. All you’ll need is a couple of bottles of wine, a few beers and a nice platter.
- The night will also be much shorter because you can share your message much faster.
- Make sure you put the time on your invitation (6-7pm).
- Holding it mid-week also indicates it is not a party. Friday nights are a little different.
- An important thing to keep in mind with smaller numbers is to make sure the referrers compliment each other and are not competitors, or conflict in any way.
- Putting Physiotherapists and Chiropractors in the same room is not usually a good idea.
- If one of your referral sources has a large team, consider inviting that business and keep the open night exclusive for them.
- Make sure you plan ahead and involve your team. You want the critical members of your team at each open night.
Improve As You Go
Having smaller open night means you can run them more often and therefore allows you time to tweak and improve how the night runs until it runs like clockwork.
Celebrate Major Milestones
So, what I’ve just explained has to do with throwing a low-cost open night, but if you have a major milestone worth celebrating, like a renovation or extension, moved into new premises or celebrating a work anniversary, you should go bigger and invite far more than ten people and make it a real celebration.
In fact, I think you should celebrate every work anniversary and you should make a big deal of it.
$1500 Was a Great Investment
The last one I threw for my podiatry business, we had 50 people attend, and we booked a caterer. When we added up the final bill, including booze and food, we were pleasantly surprised it only came to $1500.
$1500 may sound like a lot to some businesses, but if you stop and think about it, how much are you prepared to invest in improving your relationship with a good referrer or A-Type patient/customer?
$1500 divided by 50 people is only $30 per head, so I think that is a worthwhile investment.
Social Media Exposure
We also took over 150 photos on the night and generated an endless amount of coverage on our social media pages and also the social media pages of our guests, which was priceless.
So in summary, start connecting with your professional and non-professional referrers by holding opening nights in your business, and also don't be afraid to invite long-term customers, patients and friends because there's nothing better than having raving fans to help share your message to the masses.
If you like this episode, you will enjoy:
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☆☆☆☆☆ Thank you so much for the great info and inspiring podcasts. You have helped me so much with my career and family life. Last year I chose to have an abundant 2018 ....guess what? I did. This year I have chosen to have a peaceful 2019 ....guess what? I will. Keep up the great work ...have the 2019 you want. Cheers Ian Lenehan ( Pod UK ) Great Britain · 01/04/19
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