Client meetings with potential and current event planning clients are a key factor in gaining and retaining business for your company. How you treat your clients and the impression they take away from your interactions will no doubt impact their decision to work with you.
Treat your client meetings like a first date, be prepared to make an impression to ensure that you get a call back. To make the most of your client meetings try implementing the following 5 tips:
Change Your Client Outlook
Many event planners work from the idea that they are the best option for their client. For example, they believe they would be the most suitable wedding planner for a particular client with the best rates and an obvious choice. Whether this is true or not is beside the point. You need to change your outlook to focus on how this client can help your business. Is this the best client for you? Is the client’s budget worth your time or will it generate a profit for your company? Essentially, try to not only focus on selling yourself, but also getting to know your client.
First Impressions Matter
As much as we may not like it, people will often judge you based on your appearance when you first meet. This will be no different when meeting your event planning clients. As event planners, we are often busy and juggling multiple tasks, which can mean that trying to look chic may not be a priority. That being said, try to make an effort to look professional when meeting your clients, particularly new clients. Your first impression will be lasting and some clients will make a judgment about your ability based on your appearance – even if there are no correlations.
One trick I use is to keep a blazer in my office at all times. This is an easy way to make a casual outfit look professional, effortlessly.
Commit to Your Business Health
If your business is not in the best possible health you are not ready to date! What I mean by this is that your business materials and documents should all be prepared and ready for your clients. You will need to have a website where clients can look you up and find out more about your services and get a glimpse of events you have planned in the past. You will also need to have a brochure or welcome package that answers the most common questions potential clients will have. Most importantly you will need to have a contract that clients can sign if they wish to hire you.
When it comes to contracts I often urge event planners I work with to not use free standard templates found online. Don’t get me wrong, these templates are great for providing you with an example of what should be included in your contract, However, every business is different and should be treated as such. It is important to get your contract reviewed and customized by a legal professional to ensure that it meets your unique business needs. See below one of our favourite website for customized event or wedding planning contracts.
Take it Slow
Don’t rush into a client relationship even if you’re tempted to get started as soon as possible. Take the time to get to know your client and give them an opportunity to get to know you and your business. Allow your clients to ask questions if they are not clear on anything discussed, so when they do make the decision to hire you there are no doubts that they have made the right decision. As a planner, this is also your opportunity to ensure that this client is the right one for your business and that you have thoroughly explained all the terms of your agreement.
[bctt tweet=”Price your client relationships higher than your event budget @Event_U #eventprofs #meetingprofs”]
Don’t ever settle for less than what you deserve. It is a wonderful feeling to book new clients for your business, as this is also your source of income, however, if a client does not seem like the best option for your business it is best to not secure that event. A client relationship that suffers after a contract has been signed can end up costing your business more in the long-run.