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The word ‘sell’ has a pretty bad reputation. Selling your soul, selling out, sales. Yet we only ever really talk about it disparagingly when it’s insincere or when we feel taken advantage of.

“Sales” and “marketing” are just more formalised ways of displaying your value to other people in a clear way so they can make an informed choice about whether to open a relationship with you – like becoming an audience member at your show.

We don’t like insincerity either and  we definitely don’t want people to spend money with us if they don’t genuinely want to – and we assume you don’t either, so, how do you go about getting a full house of people who love what you do?

 

Outline Your Value

You probably already know the value of your work – otherwise, why would you do it?

However, you need to talk about specific values which meet the needs of the specific person you’re talking to (aka Stakeholders).

There’s a really simple, really powerful way of understanding your value and it goes like this:

Features => Benefits => Value

They are three very different ways of talking about your work, and you need to know when to use each.

A Feature is the nuts and bolts of what you offer

The Benefit is how this helps someone

The Value is why this is important

(you can also think of value as The Benefit of The Benefit.)

So, let’s look at several different features of Miss Glory PearlThe Naked Stand Up

Feature
Miss Glory Pearl is live on stage
She’s naked
She’s a woman
It’s a one woman, stand up show

Just a note here, there are LOADS of features for every show, for the sake of brevity we’re just going to focus on these four. If you have trouble defining your features, just tweet us @ThisIsGobo and we’ll be happy to help. 

Right, here’s where it gets messy. You’ve got to step into the shoes of your venue programmer. A Buyer Persona can help you do this.

Feature Benefit
Miss Glory Pearl is live on stage You get to see a skilled performer. Her brand of stand-up leaves a audiences feeling safe, amused, intrigued, thoughtful and compassionate toward themselves.
She’s naked You get permission to look at a naked body and we don’t see many naked bodies in the flesh, really.
She’s a woman It’s important to support female performers
It’s a one woman, stand up show It has low resource requirements:

1: This show can be put on in a tiny venue or a large stage without looking the wrong size for the space.

2: It can also be presented in non-theatre spaces

3: It has a quick set up a strike time.

4: There’s only one person

Let’s look at the value now:

Feature Benefit Value
Miss Glory Pearl is live on stage You get to see a skilled performer. Her brand of stand-up leaves a audiences feeling safe, amused, intrigued, thoughtful and compassionate toward themselves. Her skills, training, and inimitable personality are loved by people throughout the UK and this is the only way you can see her unique style of performance.
She’s naked You get permission to look at a naked body and we don’t see many naked bodies in the flesh, really. In a world where we see a lot of fantasy nudity on film, television, the internet, adverts and in porn, we may only see the actual naked bodies of ourselves and our lovers. Being allowed to look at a naked body and to hear someone’s musing on their own body helps us to feel less critical of others’ bodies – and our own.
She’s a woman It’s important to support female performers Diversity is important as what we see represented in the arts are how we sub/consciously see the world, it is vital to have more women on stage when there’s still a 2:1 ratio of men to women within theatre and only 38% of actors employed are women."
It’s a one woman, stand up show It has low resource requirements:

1: This show can be put on in a tiny venue or a large stage without looking the wrong size for the space.

2: It can also be presented in non-theatre spaces

3: It has a quick set up a strike time.

4: There’s only one person

1 and 2. It’s versatility means it can be presented in virtually any space

3. Other shows can easily be billed before and after it

4. Compared with an 18 piece ballet with full set, it’ll be cheaper to present

4. It will be quicker and easier to schedule and organise.

Value is different for everyone

As you can see, there are very different messages here which will appeal to a wide range of people who value different things. An audience member isn’t really going to care that it can be presented with limited resources, but a programme manager will because it affects which auditoria it will get programmed to.

In casual conversations or in planned marketing messaging you need to know what to highlight. People who’re on Miss Glory Pearl’s mailing list will (hopefully) jump at Value Proposition #1 because it means something to them. Someone who’s never heard of her before will find that particular value proposition worthless (so try #2). A feminist magazine can get behind why female performers need to be promoted and may be more likely to grant editorial, but you won’t get an RT from @AntiFemComics.  

When to Stick to Benefits and Features?

There are definitely times you want to talk about the benefits and features – for example, if you need to explain why booking Miss Glory Pearl provides value because it may not be immediately obvious.

Another time is when you don’t know what someone values. For example if you happen to get into conversation with a programme manager and you don’t know their venue, then you have no idea if putting on a show with few strike needs is important to them, or whether they’ve got lots of tiny spaces to fill, or whether they’re looking for an easy-to-present show because they’ve got a one night gap to fill only 2 months away. By assuming you know what they value, you may be discounting the show in their minds by highlighting the wrong asset. Saying, ‘It’s a one woman show with low resource requirements’ on the other hand, allows them to position your show as the perfect solution to whatever challenge is at the back of their minds.

When you do know what a person values, you want to do as much of the evaluation process for them as you can. In the case of a feminist magazine saying, ‘She’s a woman’ is going to get you through the door, but not much further. Explaining the value of her as a theatrical performer in an industry dominated by men (give citations) with a show that challenges how we feel and think about our bodies – now there’s your hook.

You know when you’ve found your value because you can’t say 

So What?

any more. It’s easy to get stuck in a benefit loop as there can be many benefits for one feature.

You know when you’ve got a value because you can add

So you better:

at the end with the action you want them to take and it makes sense.

Apply it to the examples above. You can justifiably say ‘So what’ to every feature and benefit listed there. You can’t really do it with the Value Propositions.

Test out ‘So you better with requests such as ‘buy a ticket’, ‘book the show’, ‘interview me’ and you’ll know you’ve got value when you can create a grammatically sensible sentence.

Unless you’re awful at grammar.

 

And as you’ll be saving oodles of time by using gobo when tourbooking, you can spend that time researching what the programme manager at each venue values – meaning your success rate shoots up 🙂 Try it free for 7 days

Further Reading:

 

Oh and by the way‘Because I’m awesome’ is a feature!

Image by Bill Mackellar

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