A confession: When I started my event planning business I tried to sell to everyone and their mother. I was eager to begin booking clients. If you were hosting an event you needed to have me as your event planner. I started hustling like my life depended on it and something very interesting happened…I booked zero clients.
I was absolutely baffled by this! What the…?
What was I doing wrong?
Why wasn’t I booking clients?
Why didn’t anyone want to book my event planning service?
Does this mean that I sucked at event planning?
The demon called Doubt began creeping into my mind and I started to second guess my decision to start an event planning business.
Then one day while at a conference I had organized, one of the speakers opened her speech by welcoming everyone and then publicly thanking me for my work on the event. She went on to add:
Jody-Ann…the arrangements, the food, the rooms, the hospitality, the packages – everything that you made possible – to be quite frank was perfect.
This was not the first time I had heard someone comment on how impeccably organized and flawless my conferences were (not to toot my own horn!). But it was not until this very moment that the light bulb came on. If I had a knack for organizing these large-scale learning events, why wasn’t I offering this service in my event planning business?
It was here that I discovered my niche in corporate event planning and the type of customers that I needed to be targeting. Guess what? they were not the customers hosting birthday parties and baby showers! Once I discovered this everything changed and I began booking clients like wildfire.
What makes the difference between success and failure—and the reason you are not booking clients? Here it is…
The Biggest Reason you are not booking clients: Misunderstanding the whole concept of “target client.”
To truly understand the people who will be booking your event planning services, the first step is to stop asking your friends what they think of your business idea. Your friends are just that, FRIENDS. They will not necessarily tell you when you have a bad business idea or that your service is not needed. Instead, the conversation will go a little something like this:
You: I’m starting an event planning business [cute smiley face and head bobble]
Friend: That is so awesome!! Event planning rocks!
Here are my concerns with this, your friends, as amazing as they are, don’t actually know if your business idea will suck or not. Unless you and all your friends live on a Caribbean island and you are the only person selling fresh water and sunblock – they are not your target clients.
[bctt tweet=”Your target clients are the people who will actually be buying what you are selling.” username=”event_u”]
These are the people you need to find and discover what they are looking to buy. Maybe your friends think being a birthday party planner is the best idea in the world and the coolest business on the planet, but if everyone else in your city (aka the paying clients) are hosting weddings every month, then chances are you might need to be in the wedding planning business.
Now I’m NOT saying to get rid of your friends or that they are awful people who secretly wishes to see you fail. What I would like you to do instead is be critical of their feedback, since it will be coming from a good place rather than a logical one. Instead of asking “Do you think it is a good idea to start an event planning business?”. Try asking something more specific such as: “Would you book me to plan your wedding?” and “If so, how much would you be willing to pay me for planning it?”.