Monday, June 22, 2009

The Power of Referral

This Thursday night's presentation by Joe Ehrmann just sold out within the last hour.

Joe who?

I had never heard of Joe Ehrmann... and my guess is that at least half of the sold-out audience hasn't heard of him, either. (This is unsubstantiated - just my feeling)

So why did they shell out twelve bucks and give up a Thursday evening to see him? Because Kirk Ferentz and Nate Kaeding told them to.

This event is backed by Kirk and Nate, as a fundraiser for the Children's Hospital of Iowa. For the last week, in all the papers, there's been talk of this event and the fact that Kirk and Nate are bringing him to the Englert.

Joe Ehrmann is a motivational speaker - a former football player who had a rough life, turned himself around, and now shares his story to inspire others who may be in a rough spot in their lives. I'm sure Joe will give a great presentation, the people who come will likely leave inspired, and the Children's Hospital will see the benefit in terms of dollars and cents. All in all, hard to argue that this is a solid event.

But had we (the Englert) booked Joe Ehrmann ourselves - without the support of Kirk Ferentz and Nate Kaeding - I doubt we'd even be halfway sold out right now. Same Joe Ehrmann, different result. The reason? The power of opinion leaders. Think Oprah's book club. Or a celebrity wearing a certain designer's gown to the Oscars. In this town, Kirk and Nate are celebrities - and when they talk, people listen.

The power of opinion leaders to influence the success of an event or business is huge, and should never be overlooked. The challenge for us is to find those opinion leaders for every event we have, so that when they talk - people will listen.

Congrats to everyone involved with this Thursday's event!

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