How to make all of your staffers into sellers.

If you’ve ever done community theater, you know that the majority of the tickets are purchased by friends and family of the people on stage.

When I did community theater, we were actually given stacks of tickets, and told to sell them to our friends and family.

It was an instant audience.

The smartest community and high school theaters chose bigger shows, knowing that the more cast members in the show, the more peeps (and parents) in the house.

Well, just because you’ve climbed the ladder of professionalism all the way to Broadway, doesn’t mean this scenario ceases to exist.  Friends and family buy tickets to Broadway shows too, and those tickets are sold mostly by the cast and crews.  Unlike smaller theatrical productions, which only run for a handful of performances, Broadway shows exhaust the friends and family audience pretty quickly.

But . . .

What if we could take this natural pattern and use it to turn the casts and crews of our shows into our sales force?

This is a perfect example of what I call “Fan-The-Flame” marketing.  If you see something is working on its own, it’s your job to blow on it . . . and blow it up.

So, how can we make this concept burn hotter?  What about this . . .

What’s the most common question you get when you meet someone new?  “What do you do?”  Right?  Now imagine you’re an actor in a Broadway show.  You can bet that the person you just met is going to be pretty excited to talk to you.  And odds are, if you tried, you could probably convert a ticket sale to your show right there on the spot . . . if you had the right tools . . . and the right motivation.

What if your show or institution adopted a sales commission strategy for all their employees on a show by show basis.  I don’t care if you’re the marketing director, the concessionaire, an actor, or a parking attendant.  Sell a ticket?  Make $1, $5 or even as high as $10.

You make more money. Your employees make more money.  No risk.

Everyone is happy.

Might you lose a few bucks by paying commission on orders that your employees probably would have put in anyway?  Maybe . . . but I guarantee that’ll quickly pay that loss back back with the motivated personnel you just put out on the streets . . . at no additional cost to you (it’s commission only).

You won’t get 100% participation from your employees..  And most will sell just a few, because as much as everyone says they want to make more money, the truth is, many don’t want to do extra work.  But I’d bet you’ll find at least one person that sells like Crazy Eddie.

Your employees should already be the greatest brand ambassadors you have.

So why not turn every single one of them into the greatest sales people you have?

  • Very well put! Simple, and I’d assume VERY effective. Are you trying this out already on an existing show? Or is this more in the “hypothesis” phase?

  • Caroline says:

    I was going to ask the same question. You pose lots of innovative and interesting solutions and ideas. How many of them do you actually put into practice?

  • At some point or another, I try ’em all . . .

  • David Ingber says:

    I’ve used this idea on two shows. It worked the first time, and it didn’t work the second time. The difference: we were not paying the actors in the former, and we were paying the actors in the latter.
    In the first production, the actors were interested in just getting some money out of the deal. Even if it was a total of $10 (we paid $2.50 for every $10 ticket sold), there was a dignity to walking away from the night feeling like a professional actor. But when the actors were already making money from the production, they still invited their friends, but the motivation had been replaced. When the actors are paid, they feel like employees who are there to do the job for which they are already being compensated. When the actors are unpaid, many will embrace the entrepreneurial spirit with a “we’re all in this together” mentality that can be great for the production.

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