PODCASTS

Creative alternatives to lunch and learns and building relationships with architects

Creative alternatives to lunch and learns and building relationships with architects

Kip and Graham talk to Michael Lim about some practical and innovative methods to present and sell building products to create a high-quality presentation experience.



 

 

Podcast Participants:

Graham: Product Director Concora
Kip Rapp: CEO Concora
Michael Lim: Hybrid Sales and Marketing Specialist

 

Graham:

Hello folks and welcome to the Concora at corner, a podcast dedicated to bringing you interviews with folks working in the AAC and BPM industry. I’m one of your hosts, Graham Waldron, a director of product here at Concora. Today on the show we’re talking with Michael Lim. Michael drives commercial excellence for his company and a hybrid sales and marketing role for building products. Lunch and learn is a term that’s been thrown around for years. Have you been to a lunch and learn? What’d you think of it? Did you get some lunch catered to have conversations about a product line via PowerPoint, and then talk about how maybe you’re interested in the product and then call it a day, or where are you on the other end of that, where you hosted a lunch and learn in a similar fashion? Well, Michael here redefines the role lunch and learn should be in this interview and talks about how he transforms it into an interactive, practical, and beneficial experience for everyone involved.

I know we aren’t all out there doing trade shows or lunch and learns right now, but when they come back, I’d say Michael provides the perfect blueprint on how you should approach a lunch and learn or entertaining clients in person when you’re trying to sell them your building products. If that’s your line of work, it’s not the line of work you’re in. I think there’s still a lot to gain here from Michael’s high quality marketing and sales acumen. We hope you enjoyed today’s interview with Michael, but before we begin, here’s a quick word from our CEO Kip Rapp.

 

Kip:

I wanted to thank everyone again for listening to our podcast. And if you’re interested in knowing more about Concora, we help building product manufacturers get specified and purchase more by providing a great web experience that’s bolted onto your website. It makes it easy for your architects, engineers, and contractors to do business online with you. We sum it up as three things. It’s providing a good web experience, good content and good tools. And we have some great tools such as metals, sustainability, project showcases, or anything else needed by our design community to specify purchase products. We’d be more than happy to show you a quick demo and you can go to concora.com to learn more re case studies and see how other customers have grown sales with our partnership.

 

So, Hey, thanks, Michael, for joining our podcast. And again, it was a remember our last call that we had was probably a few weeks ago, and it’s really looking forward to gosh, your stories. And we had a really good discussion around how, in your experience, you were able to creatively work with architects. And I know that’s a big objective for a lot of our building material manufacturers and listeners, where they have a certain way of how obviously if they’re trying to get specked into a project and in that early design phase, then having relationships and practices to work with architects is important. And I know you mentioned you also have a lot of experience across the design community, not only architects and would love to share any of that. So yeah, if you don’t mind, Michael, if you can just introduce yourself to our listeners and who you are, what you do, what your company does, and we can go from there.

 

Michael Lim:

Yeah, thanks for having me. So I’m Michael I, and I drive commercial excellence programs and activities at a Swedish company that specializes in door and locks solution what we will also call access solutions. I’m originally from Singapore, but I’ve been working in leading outside of Singapore for the past 17 years. And I’ve just recently relocated back to Singapore after being in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Germany.

 

Kip:

Wow. So I’m sure that must’ve been good for you to go back to your home country.

 

Michael Lim:

Yes, it is. But it’s also a little bit strange. I mean my family expects me to know everything about Singapore but I’m actually very much like a tourist and lots of things have changed. I mean, I left Singapore during SARS and came back in in the midst of COVID-19. And so it’s a bit strange for me too.

 

Kip:

Yeah. I know, we talked a little about that, but I just kind of interested in the U.S. with COVID. It looks like we’re getting vaccinated well and I was talking to one of our colleagues and the 55 year older is now being vaccinated, but it’s certainly been a story and challenging, I guess, last year with building material companies on the residential side they’ve been doing well because of people staying at home and they want to fix up their house or go outside and all those things. So I imagine your company is doing well, but at least for Singapore is how’s it been going there with the COVID and is it been manageable?

 

Michael Lim:

I think in the general scheme of things, I think Singapore government has been doing very a relatively good job. I mean, there was surge or spike in cases due to migrant workers living in dormitories, but all of them now have cleared and release from that quarantine period. So things are sort of back to normal. I mean adult, we are not allowed to be gathering in groups of more than eight, but so far I think seems to be under control. The new cases are predominantly import cases returning Singaporeans or residents from overseas. So I think things are pretty much under control. I mean, compared to the neighboring countries, I think we are quite lucky. We still can go out and socialize. The idea here is that if you can stay at home and work, you should, employers are encouraged to do that also.

 

Kip:

And are you in a vaccination program in the country, because I’m so sheltered in the U.S. I don’t know how other countries are doing that.

 

Michael Lim:

Yes. There is plan and it’s going to go for in terms of priorities. Obviously the frontline health care gets that first and then followed by the senior citizens and then thereafter.

 

Kip:

No, thanks for sharing that, Michael. So one thing I’m also curious about is your title is customer experience or customer excellence. So could you kind of give us a high level definition and mission of what that means for a company?

 

Michael Lim:

I guess the best way to explain that is try to think of it in terms of doing anything to improve the sales and marketing processes in a company that helps the company to get or achieve commercial accidents. And in particular, my role includes branding and marketing corporate communications, pricing, specifications, sales support, product marketing CRM recurring revenue, so on and so forth. And I think partly the reason is because our company mainly grew by acquisition.

 

So you can imagine a lot of companies that we acquired tends to be small, medium enterprise or family owned businesses. And then as they get integrated to be part of the group there are certain sales and marketing processes that needs to be aligned. And so that’s where we come in. There are also occasions whereby we need to develop strategies to help a certain market and that’s also where my team would come in and support.

 

Kip:

Oh, that’s great. Yeah. I know that’s quite happens at some of these companies where they’re acquiring the light.

 

Michael Lim:

Yeah. It’s a collaborative effort, right? So we don’t have all the answers, but we work closely with our partners in the market to develop the solutions are formulated strategies so that we can work together. And partly it’s also, if we would like to be able to improve, we need to be able to measure the performance and track the performance. So we need to have a common set of measurements across the entities in the markets.

 

Kip:

Yeah. And I know we didn’t talk about that in the prep, but I would think a fairly interesting topic and you can let me know if, how much you can share on that, but we’ll, I’ll run into a lot of companies and they’re either starting a new product line or they’re starting a new region or they’re acquiring company, and they want to ensure best practice. So what in your mind is that? So, as we talked before, my goal, it’s a collaborative effort and there’s certainly best practices that the region or the acquired company has. And then there’s also best practices that you have. And you talked about kind of a really nice way of measuring. So could you kind of walk us through maybe some of the more important things that get to a good place when either opening up a new region or a new company, new country, or a trying to incorporate an acquired company in your parent company?

 

Michael Lim:

I think maybe in the context. So if let’s say we are targeting architects to offer our solutions, there is really no reason for any sales entity to reinvent the wheel. Some other entities who might have really have something that works could easily share and say, “Hey, this is how we’re doing it and this is how we have progress have a look at it.” And you might find that certain things work so that I think doesn’t, but at least you don’t have to start from scratch and you could also adapt it quickly. And that’s basically the idea you don’t have to be feeling like you are doing this alone. You can leverage on the fact that this is a multinational company with presence in several markets.

 

They’ve gone through similar situations and challenges. They have figured out a way have a reference on that way and see how that could help without needing to think and start from scratch and then it’s also the speed is of the essence here.

 

Kip:

Yeah. Because I kind of say what you’re saying is that you’re listening a lot to the companies you’re working with in that case. And they may already have something that works well, but then on the other hand, they may not. And in some ways I kind of think of it if you’re on a football team, right? And you have, you might have star players or from other teams, but there’s certainly a balance between them being creative and performing well, and then being plugged into the overall playbook and framework. So how do you tell the difference there?

 

Michael Lim:

Well, I mean, we can make the big assumption that auto markets are the same, but at least we’re selling similar products we’re offering similar services and we would also want to make sure that there’s certain level of consistency. So the idea here is you don’t have to go out and look for a consultancy to help you. You could really start by looking inside and there will definitely be people who are willing to share and explain how they did it for your reference. And you can then consider whether that’s something that is interesting, relevant, or practical to implement quickly. And you will never know unless you try, but now you are equipped with knowledge that at least it has worked in some other markets rather than to say not having it worked out at all or proven in other markets before.

 

Kip:

That’s great. So as you’re saying, you can provide a whole army of support and advisory consultancy to your companies for them to use and take to their discretion. And for me, I always kind of thought about good practices that have effectively good people and good processes that you can measure. So are there other things that you’re maybe a little more vocal or focused on, like from maybe a systems perspective because I’ve run into one of the, I think characteristics of a good business might be how they actually document things. Right? If they’re using, as you mentioned, CRM versus like email or something. So are there things like that, you would be a little more stronger and suggesting, or you would just be, as you pointed out a support arm where you can provide any level of advisory and consultancy to your business?

 

Michael Lim:

Yeah. There’s many possibility, right? For example how do you measure sales efficiency? Is it by the number of customers that you’ve seen or is it by the number of deals that they have from in, or is it by the value of the deals that they brought in? And there is a lot of possibility to learn from other markets whereby some might work and some might not. And the idea here is that at the end of the day, how do we compare and contrast who is doing a good job or better job? And if let’s say we’re looking for a room for improvement, how do we know that in the same similar context, what is the potential to grow even further? And there are contexts that you can compare and say, look, if you have X number of people in such a market, you should be able to do an X amount of sales. And that’s where you get a better sense rather than having nothing to compare or no element of benchmark at all.

 

Graham:

Yeah. Michael had seems like since you kind of have this marketing and sales hybrid role, does that make it easier to interface with your products department and what’s that relationship like?

 

Michael Lim:

It’s a metrics kind of a support, right? So when you have products that you need to launch obviously you need to know who to launch to, when, what are the core proposition or differentiator and how are you compared with the competitors? What are the kinds of questions that you’re going to get? And like I said, if let’s say this product has been launched as a pilot in some markets you could easily learn from that pilot launch and say, “Hey, we launched it in this market and this is what we found. We went back and did some modifications. Now we are more confident to roll this out at a wider implementation.” And of course this is an ongoing process, right? So you still can continue to learn and adapt as you go on, but at least there is some kind of a learning point where they, you that you had to work for some market that you have tried endless.

 

Graham:

So do you see a lot of differences? Like if you’re selling one product and one market, do you see a lot of differences across different markets when you do that?

 

Michael Lim:

Oh, definitely because the competitive landscapes are different. And in our line of work, the duty post might be different. The customer requirements might be different or the climate might be different. So depending on that, so yeah. So those elements are useful for us to take into consideration whenever we launched new products.

 

Graham:

So it sounds like there’s just a lot of preparation that goes into that then in terms of your research in different geographical locations and things like that, is there a lot of collaboration there across your team in terms of how you approach different marketplaces?

 

Michael Lim:

Yes. In fact, it starts with maybe product road-mapping and getting the markets to be involved right in the beginning on what kind of products they need what kind of product gaps they need to fill, how can we help them to make sure that they can grow even more who are they competing with? What are the pain points that they are facing today? So those elements or questions that we constantly ask would help us to test feedback into the product development team and consider things altogether.

 

Kip:

Yeah. One thing when we were talking before as we alluded to earlier in the podcast is, we’ll have companies they want to get spectrally. They want to have better relationships with architects. I was talking to a gentleman, Michael, who this was Dean Horowitz at an earlier podcast, and he runs a magazine and he’s very well experienced in the industry and he’s talking about how millennial architects are younger architects, and second early to mid stage architects have a different way that they design and buy today. And there are things that important and so I know when we were talking you also had some really good points of views on how to break that initial barrier in having a relationship with an architect because a lot of people that I talk to they’ll get a list.

They’ll the by-product leads, they’ll do lunch and learns COVID is kind of tough, so they can’t really visit anymore, but they all have kind of varying common practices. And then you hear some very differentiated practices that I know when we were talking, you had some good experiences in either your current company or prior company. So, yeah, I would love to hear your thoughts on some of those as we discussed, there was one that you mentioned about sharing it was like with other building material companies.

 

Michael Lim:

Yeah. So typically building materials supply suppliers would approach architect firms and say, “Hey would you guys be interested in a lunch and learn session? I’m from so-and-so company and we’ll be happy to come in and share the latest information about our products.” And usually you would have to go through our in-house librarian or coordinator, but this is like pretty much a hit and miss kind of approach, right? Because who knows, maybe the architect firm might have really recently had a similar session from another building material supplier, and they say,

 

“No, thank you.” Or they do not have any projects on hand that would be relevant. And they say, “No, thank you.” Or you might get the wrong crowd at the lunch and learn. They could be people who just mainly coming in during lunchtime and hear about what you have to say.

Like, it might be a long while before they might even need. So how can you then engage and make sure that you get your time worth, really talking to architects on potential projects that they might have on hand. So one possibility is to think about creating an environment, whoever the architects can experience the product rather than a lunch and learn. And by the nature of what lunch and learn sounds like it’s basically an hour during their lunch break, whereby they have to leave their desk, come in for an hour, listen to what you have to say, but if they can experience your product in a much more comfortable casual setting it might leave a much more stronger impression on them. Say for example, you can organize a trial installation of your products in a nearby location and invite them to come in for evening drinks or finger foods, it’s very casual, it’s nearby.

They need to get a grab before they need to go back to the office again and become, they see how it works. They experience it and they have a much more lasting impression and the next time they need such a product or they need such a solution, they say, “Oh, I remember I was there. I saw how it works. Let me give them a call. Maybe we can not ask them to come in for a demonstration.” Oh I find that personally as much more impressionable and also it creates a very nice environment where people are more relaxed. They say, “Hey I don’t have a project on hand, but I do know of someone who might, let me connect you with that person.” What’s important is try to show the product in action, where they can experience it. It’s what I’m trying to say here.

 

Kip:

What you’re saying makes a lot of sense. And it’s a certainly seems intuitive and I think with the lunch and learns, it’s certainly, maybe everyone’s used to those and there’s continuing education credits. Maybe that’s one way to bribe them, I guess, that they eat lunch with you. And your way, certainly a lot more, let’s say intimate and empathetic. However, it certainly seems a more involved, right? Where you have to set up. Maybe it’s a little more expensive too. So any thoughts on that? Like if we have a building material company and they really want to be practical about this and say, “Hey Michael, that makes a lot of sense, but it sounds like it’s involved in cost a lot of money, right?”

 

Michael Lim:

This is a good question. Right? So you talk about how we can then also collaborate with other building materials, right? So in my past experience, I’ve actually collaborated with another building material supplier, and we jointly held the event whereby I would invite my list of architects and they will invite the list architect. And if the two do building material products fit in the same application, it’s actually even much more impactful. And you could almost imagine that for paying what you have paid, you are not only exposing to your existing lease of architect context, but you’re potentially also exposing yourself to new lease of architect context, which you might not have the chance to,

if you did it on your own, it also leaves a much more stronger impact of visual impact to the architect say, “Oh, okay, that’s how the different things come together.”

And they can envision or visualize it much better. Say for example, you work for a lighting company that offers a lighting in the office environment. There are a lot of other building materials in an office environment that you can consider to collaborate with. For example, office manager, and imagine having a trial installation or having your products shown together with office furniture. That’s actually a great example whereby people come in, in the evening for some drinks and finger food and they say, “Oh, okay, I see how this lighting and this office finisher works together” than to say, “This is our latest office finisher.” Try to imagine it in an office environment, or “This is our latest office lighting.” Try to imagine that you are knowing in an office environment is this getting half the job done? It’s a very simple approach, but it’s actually very easy to, to miss this opportunity. And I can’t imagine why not many people are doing it like that.

 

Kip:

Yeah. And that’s cool. So, cause I’m trying to imagine this myself as a layman, right? Because I’d say, okay, I’m a lighting company and I know some really good either flooring companies or furniture companies or other companies. And so I work with them and then we set it up in a location and I can imagine in your experience, is that a hotel or a warehouse, or where would you kind of set this up or do these folks already have like a place to do this?

 

Michael Lim:

Well, it depends on where your pool of target architects are and if you know that they are all around in a similar area or they’re not too far away. When I say not too far away, it’s a short drive or a one or two subway station away, but preferably walking distance there’s a lot of venue options. You could choose a hotel, lobby not those big hotels, but maybe a boutique hotels whereby you know it’s more exclusive. I can imagine also a museum; I’ve done one in a museum before. I’ve done in an exhibition space. Also I’ve done convention area. That’s also possible. It was an old train station in Melbourne if I remember.

 

Yeah. So there’s a lot of possibility whereby it’s a little bit off-site and people get excited about it, but you can also imagine venues that are maybe famous for architecture. So you could have your venue set up in a very quintessential kind of whole building and all, but you bring in your products in story there, and then they can experience an evening of the products there open space. It’s a very nice environment whereby, how should I say, impactful visual. Okay? To see that in, in behind the backdrop of this buildings and architect’s architectures something to think about there.

 

Kip:

Oh, that’s great. Yeah. I liked that last part with the architectural setting some famous place, because I’m sure architects would love to go there and see what that is and then network aspect sounds pretty cool too, where they can go there and relax and talk to other people. I guess, similar to, if we’re setting up for a trade show, it’s kind of the same logistics you bring in your kind of set and then you work with another company and they bring their set and you kind of have this kind of amniotic, or if that’s a word kind of design and collaboration for the setup.

 

Michael Lim:

Yeah. And the thing here is that this is created in such a way that it’s very exclusive by invitation, right? So it gives a feeling that whoever gets the invitation feels like they’re being recognized that they’re the so-and-so in the industry that, therefore they get the invitation. And it’s important to make sure that this invitations personally extended so that we know they are then welcome on the day itself. And there is a gate to really, you know bring them through the installations, the products and to understand what they think. Because then that’s the opportunity for the follow-up afterwards. Usually the key word is when someone say, “Hey, I really like what I’m seeing here. Can you and your guys fixing an appointment to come into my firm to tell me more?”

And that’s where you know that, okay, that’s great. I’ve got my job done. No, but even if that’s not happening, you will still get the idea that people are coming together. They networking their experiences. You must make sure that they have the opportunity to experience the product. And after that, it says networking. And as I think the word here that I’m looking for is experiential in must experience it. It’s not enough to put it on the table in a typical meeting room and say, “This is the product.” And let’s look at the PowerPoint for the specs that doesn’t work here.

 

Graham:

Yeah. Michael, it sounds like you approach each client differently in terms of their needs. So what kind of research goes into your process?

 

Michael Lim:

Well, you can always look at if the particular architect firms have historically done projects that are aligned with your products positioning and how they pick projects. That’s one way, the way is, would your products help them to be able to stand out amongst the other architect firms competing for a project to put it simply, why would the architect firm or the architect choose to use your product? If it’s something that anyone can just find easily, it must have something that’s aligned that they say, “Hey, I really like your product. It really adds value to my project. It’s what I’m looking for.” And I can then show my value as an architect firm, to the owner why we choose or specify your product. If there is no arguments put forth for the architect firm to say, why they pick your product, then really you don’t have a differentiator. You need to give the architect firms or the architects, or this reason why they want to pick you. It could be aesthetic. It could be because it goes in seamlessly with what they are looking for. Things like that.

 

Graham:

In terms of cultivating this process were there any sort of stumbling blocks or times when you potentially misfire maybe earlier in your career that helped lessons you learned to make sure that your process is as Bulletproof as possible?

 

Michael Lim:

Yeah. I could think of one. For example, you could easily just offer products whereby they could find easily off the shelf somewhere. Right? But then what’s the value of you sitting in front of the architect being there face to face in a consultation, that’s no value. They could easily go to your website, just read about it, right? So the fact that you are sitting in front of them, you need to understand what is the key thing that they want to achieve in that particular project. What is the kind of products that you can offer that helps them to really stand out versus other architect firms in their design? What is the core element that they were very particular about that you need to help them to protect the design integrity? Those are the things that to think about.

 

To put things into context if I could go back to the example of lighting, typically architects hates to put holes in the ceiling. So if you were to offer them lightings, that needs to have holes everywhere, they say, “Look, this hasn’t helped my design. Have I have this beautiful design interior? And then with your lighting, I have to start making holes everywhere. Can you give me something that is more integrated, more seamless fuse? Like it’s part of art together.” That’s a different level of selling, right? Then you say, “Okay, I understand now you have this design requirement. Here are some other products possibility that you can consider that doesn’t create a lot of holes in the ceiling.”

 

Kip:

Yeah. That’s a good example. I holes in the ceiling is not exactly what you would think of as aesthetic design. To your point though, Michael in order to know the differentiation to that particular architect that I think of a one to two ways is that either you already know some of that off the bat, like your go-to like the holes in the ceiling, for example, and you may be kind of listening and fishing for the ones that are important for that architect. But then on the other way, I kind of hear from folks that there are specific design problems that they may have for a particular project. And that requires time to know. So are you then through that relationship in that kind of setting, figuring that out or.

 

Michael Lim:

I think it all depends with the person that you’re interacting with. I personally, being involved in meetings with architects, whereby they’re not interested in the product, they are interested in the effect of the product. I’ve also been in meetings with architects whereby you have a sample on the meeting table, your beautiful sample, right? And he’s interested in what goes behind the sample and ask you to dismantle it so that he gets to see what’s inside, the lesson learned here is that if you are willing to dismantle right in front of him and show him, what’s inside shows that you are very confident to putting it back together, that you know your stuff, then you say, “Sorry, this is not something that I can open and just show you, you know? And he feels that if you’re not confident, how can he be completed in of your product?

So it really depends on who you’re talking to. And checking with colleagues who have interacted with this person before helps checking the CRM on some notes will help account a question to prep yourself before going in and making sure that you have the right people with you at the meeting to answer the question. The last thing that you want is to say, “I’m sorry, I can give you the answer. I’m sorry. I’ve come back to you.” And I mean maybe once or twice, it’s fine, but by the third or fourth time, he feels that you’re not prepared. Then you’re just wasting his time all the time.

 

Kip:

No, that’s a great point. And I do appreciate, because there’s definitely a lot of similarities to just good marketing and selling, which is be prepared, be confident. And yeah, there’s certainly, maybe some questions you can’t answer, but if there’s too many things, it’s like, why are you talking to me because you don’t know your product, right? And obviously then you don’t know what I need. And I think that’s a very good parallel. And when you go back to that really nice example you had with the very kind of elegant exclusive setting to invite architects, are you shooting for the more, the better as far as companies, or is there kind of a more intimate setting where you won’t have, you certainly can’t have like 300 people there I would imagine, but I’m sure there’s some thought to that intimate and personal means that-

 

Michael Lim:

So this is all pre COVID, right? So in the past, there are a few things that you can consider, right? First of all, the size of the venue for safety you don’t want it to be overcrowded. There is also this element of the fact that they may not all come at the same time. So you need to think about say, if you send a 100 invitation chances that you might get 150 turning up over a period of three hours in the evening. You have to be prepared that what happens if there is a moment in time where by 150 all are in the same space. There’s a way to do that is that you could say in your invitation, there is a presentation or a speech or a demonstration whereby they know that the beginning part of the evening is just networking.

And then there is a third time whereby they need to come and hear that if they miss that, okay, then the rest is the same. They can come either earlier or later, it doesn’t matter. So I’ve seen cases whereby we say, “We’re going to be here from 6:00 to 10:00, but 7:30 is where we’re going to share the latest result or the design trends or demonstration.” And that’s where people try to really come like 5, 10 minutes before they’re going to be all there. And that’s where your spike in insecurity is going to tell you say, “Hey, we have too many people inside is really stuffy. Can we be careful for fire exit” and things like that. You have to be prepared. And I mentioned that if you send out a 100 invitation, why is it 150?

Because it’s so exclusive, there are kinds of people feel very happy and excited to say, “Can I bring a guest? Can I bring a friend?” And usually they are the best multiplier or ambassador to say, “Hey, I got invited to this event. I would like to bring you along.” They become your voice and they will do everything to make sure that your guests have a great time too, because they are now the one who invited them. So that’s actually working to our favor. If you run enough of such events, you realize that a lot of people tend to be the people that they know each other in the industry. So it becomes like a reunion for them where on a normal day, they wouldn’t even have the chance to meet. And then I say, “Oh, good to see you.”

 

And you know, “We met the last event” and things, and then you see people really, really happy and sort of like a reunion. And we know each other, we used to work together and all that kind of stuff. And it’s kind of nice to that. People are happy and finding joy in your event whereby they get to meet old friends, which they would even have the chance to, if not for your event. So those are the things that you can consider, but usually towards the end, like around 9:00, after 9:00 things get a little bit quiet. You might have a few people leaving earlier. Usually maybe they need to catch a train or they have an early night, early day the next day, or in some cases they say, “I’m sorry, I have to go back to the office to rush some work.” There are also cases like this.

 

Kip:

Yeah. I really liked that reunion side of what you said. And I can see that even in my life, it’s, it’s really hard to catch up with people outside of your normal work and family, and to be kind of encouraged by an event where you hit multiple stones of either catching up and networking and learning. And it’s not a kind of a drab lunch and learn, I guess, in that sense where it’s exclusive and you feel appreciated. So I think a lot of that makes a lot of sense. And from a budget range what would you recommend for a listener that wants to do something like that? Is there a range that you can recommend?

 

Michael Lim:

It depends on the venue. It depends on the rounds of food that you want to provide and also the alcohol or the cocktail or the drinks. Usually, you could maybe budget around a maximum four drinks and four rounds of finger food. And we have the option to add more finger food later on if you have more guests and they are really hungry. But I have also encountered a case whereby I have my sales team colleagues around. And we usually say be prepared to bring your guests out or your architects contacts out if they have seen the demonstration they’re still hanging around and the venue is getting really crowded.

Why not take the opportunity to invite them for dinner area nearby have a followup discussion and I’m sure they will really appreciate that rather than just continue to stay there and usually must remember, there’s no sitting options standing around networking high cable. So why not take the opportunity to say, “Hey guys, can I have the pleasure to invite you guys to a dinner nearby? I know of a restaurant.” And have that discussion follow up discussion there.

 

Kip:

Yeah. I know maybe it’s hard to translate, but in the U.S. you know, I’m thinking with the budget, is it tens of thousands, thousands, right? That kind of thought when they’re preparing these types of things. Because I know if you go to a trade show, you put out either could be tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands depending on the size of your food and how much-

 

Michael Lim:

I think the main cost is the venue rather than the FMB because you need to be a day earlier to be there to set up. And sometimes the venue is back to back book, back to back that you have to immediately move out that night, the very night by midnight for the new venue to be set up the next day. So in my experience, the venue is the biggest part. The FMB is less. So I can’t really have a good estimation because it depends on the size and also the number of guests that you really want to invite.

 

Kip:

Yeah. Because I really think with COVID and certainly it appears trade shows are… I talked to a lot of people that aren’t in budget, so if they have budget to spend, and once COVID is over and people can talk, that might be a little more of a novel way to meet and create relationships with architects and designers and so forth. So I think thank you for sharing that. And I guess one or two last questions before we wrap up, Michael, is this something that also works with engineers and specifiers and other parts of the design community?

 

Michael Lim:

I think on some level it does, but in my limited interactions with engineers it might not be a good impression to give that they’re going to an evening whereby they don’t get to see anything related to engineering. It’s more important that they get to see the thing that action. So maybe a visit to a live project that is operational would be much more meaningful. The funny story, I was in Macau in the Macau Tower where you can actually do bungee jumping and we booked the event space downstairs and we had like a conference or seminar. And we invited all the maintenance manager of all the hotels in Macau. And you must remember Macau is in last Vegas, all the hotels are there, right? So the maintenance officers are there, engineering and maintain this officers are there.

The reason why we couldn’t do it in any hotel for our event is because they would have been seen as competitor. If you had your event in say one particular hotel or the maintenance manager and director or engineer department, they wouldn’t come in because they will be in a uniform because it’s working hours during the daytime. And they say, “Oh, we can’t really go to that hotel because, your competitor.” So you have to find a venue that is neutral, right? So that’s why we went with the Macau Tower. And it’s a function room where these guys, when they come is they know each other, right?

Because they are all from the same industry, but then you create an environment where it’s not so uncomfortable. And that’s what I’m trying to say, is their working hours. They come during doing, becoming during their day and they need to go to a place whereby they can say, “I’m going there because I’m learning something. I’m seeing something.” Rather than you know a night off evening entertainment and things like that. Where less of an inspiration, but more of a practical need. It’s I think it’s much more the point of considerations here.

 

Kip:

Okay. Well, good. Well now thanks for sharing that and appreciate your time, Michael it’s certainly, gosh, been very nuanced with certainly the examples that you gave with the offsite type of creative way of being able to work with architects. And definitely, hopefully our listeners can take that and there was a lot of great parallels in there from the selling and the marketing, what you do in the commercial excellence aspects of what you do and helping your either acquired companies or new businesses to set up another country. So thank you for sharing that too. And if anyone needs to get in touch with you or have any questions, how could they do that, Michael?

 

Michael Lim:

They can find me on LinkedIn. So it’s LinkedIn and then it’s my name, Lim Michael. So it’s LIM MICHAEL.

 

Kip:

Well, awesome. Well, thanks again Michael for your time. And I know it’s late there in Singapore and I appreciate it a lot.

 

Michael Lim:

Thank you for having me. And I enjoyed the chat.

 

Graham:

All right, folks that wraps us up for today’s show. So you can find our podcast on Apple podcast, Spotify and SoundCloud by searching for the Concora corner. And if you’d like to, we’d love a rating and a short review if you listened on Apple, any feedback is appreciated on any of our shows that are coming out and just the show in general, or if you just want to say hello. You can find out more about Concora and our services at www.concora.com. We’re on Facebook at facebook.com/concoraLLC. We are on Twitter @concora, and you can find us on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/company/concora. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

 

 

Search All Articles

Share This Article

Be Our Guest Podcast Speaker

podcast Speaker

Recent Podcast

Want to grow your commercial sales with us? Click on Book A Demo Today!