What Does TrivWorks’ “Dream Client” Look Like?

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Years ago, I wrote a blog post entitled “5 Companies Trivia Team Building Activities Won’t Work For.” It was a little bit risky to do, but I felt good about it. In fact, it actually got quite a robust response, and I even landed a gig from it! I followed that up more recently with a few similarly-themed articles:

You’re probably reading this right now and wondering: why does he spend so much time writing articles about why people SHOULDN’T retain his services? I must confess, upon first glance it does seem a little bit…unorthodox. But there’s a method to my madness, if you will – read on!

It’s not that I’m trying to dissuade would-be customers such as yourself from buying – far from it. Rather, the point of articles such as these is to help clarify just who my RIGHT customer is, and who it isn’t. Like you, I have a limited amount of time during the workday, and need to accomplish a LOT in that limited window (follow this link for another article on how I typically spend my workday). Also like you, between servicing existing clients, finding news ones, administration, and just everyday life stuff, I need to make the most efficient and practical use of what limited time I DO have. Bringing the right clients to my door is where I need to focus my attention; however, I’ve learned over the years that just as important is guiding those who aren’t really a good match for my services to more appropriate vendors, to save both their time and mine.

Longtime readers of this blog will know that my preferred analogy here is cars. This is ironic, since I really don’t care all that much about cars, let alone know anything about them; however, I spent about two weeks after college working a temp job as a receptionist at a BMW dealership, and I think that’s where I zeroed in on this as my perfect go-to comparison.

The analogy is as follows: I own a car dealership (I’ve promoted myself from receptionist to owner, as you can see – a perk of having a blog!). Mine is not just any car dealership, but rather a high-end sports car dealership – let’s make it easy, and call them BMW’s. As the owner of a BMW dealership, my product is a high-quality, precision-made performance vehicle. I have many different models and packages, however they are all within what would be considered the higher-end or “luxury” market.

One “luxury” I have as well in owning a BMW dealership is brand recognition. Virtually everyone has heard of BMWs, and likewise they know that the name is synonymous with high quality and performance vehicles.

It’s also synonymous with “not cheap.”

Potential customers who walk into my store, they most likely know what they’re getting into. They realize before they step foot inside the place that this is a store which sells expensive cars – excellent cars, gorgeous cars, but pricey cars. There will be very little sticker shock for those who have taken time out of their day to drive over to my dealership, come in side, look around, and ask for a test drive. Why? Because they know what to expect, and have mentally prepared themselves accordingly.

Let’s refer to these prospects as my “preferred customers.”

As a dealer, it is my job to match my customer with the best fit for his or her needs, interests, and budget. I truly want this customer to be happy, so that they may come back again the next time they need a car – or perhaps recommend me to others who are in the market for a similar set of wheels. I have many premium options I can add to the mix, but I’m not looking really to “up-sell” this client; I really just want them to find the RIGHT purchase within my product line, and be EXTREMELY happy with that choice.

Now, let’s “change gears” here for a moment (sorry – puns are a reflex).

Imagine instead of a “preferred” customer, I have someone else walk into my store. This person has never in their entire life seen or heard of a BMW; knows nothing about its reputation, the quality of the performance, the power, handling, time & effort required to manufacture, or even the experience of riding in one, let alone driving one. They’re just looking for “a car” – or have been told to “go out and find a car” by someone else.

This prospect blows a low whistle as they look around my shop, taking in at all that sleek glistening metal & glass. They ask me to come over and tell them about this car and that car, which I dutifully do. We kick the tires, go for a test drive, and then come over to my desk to talk pricing.

I tell him.

His jaw drops.

“But…the used dealership across the street isn’t anywhere NEAR that much! Why are your prices so expensive? Isn’t it just a CAR?”

I’ve had some variation of the above conversation countless times in the nearly ten years I’ve been producing corporate trivia events. If I’ve learned one thing in that time, it is this: there is zero percent probability that this customer will walk out of my “store” the proud owner of a shiny new car. Why? Because he or she hasn’t been properly informed about the kind “store” I’m running; basically, they’re not my customer.

There’s a lot of cheap trivia vendors out there. A LOT. You’ve got bar trivia companies popping up all over the place, who even though they primarily service bars and restaurants, they’d be tickled pink to host trivia for a company or private party, barely charging you a thing in the process. You’ve also got the local guy down the street at your favorite watering hole, who’d no doubt jump at the chance to come over and quiz your colleagues virtually for free. And let’s not forget all of the trivia apps out there, promising your group a fun team building experience which you don’t even NEED a host for.

To use my car analogy, customers who would find the above options appealing are in the “budget” market; they are seeking to make a decision based on price, and that’s about it. They’re not interested in reputation, quality, performance or any of that stuff. Does this vehicle have four tires? Can it achieve highway speed? Does it have working breaks? Then it’ll do.

They are the “budget client.”

I have to be honest here. If you’re a “budget client” and you find your way into my shop, then you’re wasting your time from the moment you’ve stepped foot inside because A) I don’t have anything to sell you in your price range, and B) there’s no way I will “up-sell” you to one of my products. It’s just not going to happen, that’s the reality of the situation. I can spot it from a mile away, too; when people minimally fill out my contact form, tell me they’re “just compiling ideas” or ask me about my cheapest offerings right in the initial inquiry, I know I’m dealing with a “budget client.”

Here’s the thing: I love what I do, and genuinely believe in my product. I know that the team trivia experience works as both event entertainment and group bonding, and as a service provider I want to bring it to as many in-need clients as I possibly can. However, I’m also running a business. For me, the highest-value clients are those who know exactly what I have to offer – a premium-quality, high-performance experience which takes significant time and effort to produce – and are in the market for precisely what I sell. These are my “preferred” clients, and the ones whom my services are really geared towards.

While I do offer several lower-tiered products – specifically, my minimally-customized TrivWorks Express brand for clients in New York City and Southern California, and my brand-new TrivWorks DIY product – these represent my “budget” offerings. If one of these works for somebody with a limited spend, great! That’s why I developed them. The thing is, it still requires time and effort on my end to service “budget clients” – maybe not as much as my “preferred” clients, but it’s still time out of my day I need to:

  • Respond to the inquiry
  • Develop the proposal
  • Draft a contract
  • Arrange an emcee/other staff
  • Draw appropriate questions from my database
  • Email/correspond with client & staff
  • Troubleshoot/put out fires
  • Recap with everybody afterwards

You can see how “budget clients” can still wind up consuming a great deal of time on my end, even though the service I am providing is a stripped-down version of my core product. As such, I am understandably not as enthused about servicing these types of clients as I am my “preferred” clients. Is it possible that these lower-tiered clients may someday convert to “preferred,” and become consumers of my fully-customized events – even hire one of my high-end “Special Talent” emcees? In theory, yes; in practice, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it actually happen – and don’t expect to.

So who exactly is my “dream client,” as the title of this post asks? I love it when a prospect comes into my “shop” knowing exactly what they’re looking for, which is: exactly what I provide! There’s no need for me to “sell” them on my services, to have to explain the benefits of trivia team building, or the value of my unique interactive game shows for corporate events. Either they’ve already been to pub quiz nights and love it, or perhaps even attended one of my events previously as a guest. The point is, I don’t have to explain what I do and why it’s awesome – they already get it.

The client of my dreams is also as enthusiastic about the prospect of bringing me in as I am. There’s no hesitation, no concern, no “can I see some more videos” or “can you provide some additional references” when I’ve already done so. He or she has seen my prestigious client roster, glowing testimonials, impressive press coverage, celebrity partnerships and everything else I have to offer, and decided I can indeed be trusted to deliver an amazing experience for them as well.

This perfect client also trusts that I know what I’m doing, and is going to be hands-off. They’re not going to micromanage every little thing, or drastically alter my proven formats, call me every ten minutes, or insist on reviewing and approving every single trivia question I write, or decision I make.

My dream client also goes with the flow, and is flexible and understanding when forces beyond my control impact the event in any way. He or she appreciates my efforts to provide exemplary customer service every step of the way, from the initial inquiry right through to the event recap, and treats me with the same level of courtesy, professionalism and respect which I show them.

Finally, my dream client’s audience is an absolute BLAST. They are fully-engaged, attuned and participatory in the trivia contest from beginning to end; they laugh when they’re supposed to laugh, cheer when they’re supposed to cheer, and do both loudly and robustly. They can’t wait for the next round of questions, and are whipped into a total frenzy by the time the event concludes. They leave saying this was the best event they’ve ever been to, and sincerely mean it.

I’ll say it again, really do love what I do; as such, I deeply appreciate any client who brings me aboard, allowing me to perform this incredibly specialized and unique corporate event entertainment. But when it’s a client who has all of the above traits to boot, I’m truly in heaven – it really makes everything worth it!

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