Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Tickets, Tickets, I've Got Tickets!

One of the lifeblood networking tools of a business law firm is tickets--season seats at everything worth seeing within the region of an office. Great relationships are born from creating great experiences for clients and referral resources--good seats at fun events are always well remembered. While it is not my favorite thing to be the keeper of the tickets, especially during a playoff for a local team, the reward is well worth the effort for the attorneys and myself. Here are a few tips on managing tickets, allocation, and other things that come with the territory.
  • While most firms do include ticket costs in their business development budgets be sure to notify users of the cost of the seats they occupy on any given day (something I am about to implement). Letting individuals know the true cost to the firm for their outing serves as a great reminder for moving relationships forward.
  • Create policies about how, when and whom can use the tickets, then stick to them. A defined, fair, playing field will negate most politically motivated allocation disagreements.
  • Never (if possible) let a seat go empty. At my firm if a partner can't use the seats on any particular day I offer the tickets up to associates, then to either my Rolodex of important business development resources or to firm staff. Providing a great experience at any level, internal or external, will be rewarding to the firm.
  • Package your tickets when they are handed out. At my firm I have ordered special plastic holders and lanyards (when appropriate) emblazoned with the firm logo. People appreciate all things more that arrive in a "special" package.
  • Don't make tickets available for allocation too early. At my firm tickets are made available for any month 10 days before the offered month (May tickets are made available on April 21, etc.). Putting the tickets on the market too early will result in lots of cancellations, or tickets going unused after being spoken for without confirmed guests.
  • Keep a spreadsheet of which person received tickets and who they invited as their guest.
  • Promote, promote, promote! I send out messages about ticket availability that not only state tickets are available, but also promote the event(s). I figure that if I can't get my people excited about going how will they get their invitees stoked.
  • Don't sweat it if tickets actually go unused. It happens. If you have done your diligence promoting availability then, O.K., job well done. At my firm the cost of season seats to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is in the low five figures (for incredible seats by the way). For that sum we will create a great experience for 300+ clients and referral resources. Believe me, it will pay for itself and then some!