Sometimes, you’re on a roll, and you think things are going well, and then – bam. Reality hits and jerks a knot in your tail. As a corporate event planner specializing in New York events, you probably know this roller coaster all too well. Trends and preferences shift suddenly, and before you know it, you’re behind the eight ball. Maybe it’s your sales technique that seems to be working really well when all of sudden, corporate clients stop responding and leads stop coming into your funnel.
Instead of waiting for those hard knocks to come, you could give yourself a more regular dose of reality and truth. It might not sting as bad when you’re taking your medicine routinely, too. What we mean is, sit down with your data, your analytics, and processes every so often. Check to see what’s working and what’s not working. From your event planning process to your marketing efforts, there will always be room for improvement, especially if you’re growing. And sometimes, it’s the hard truths you need to face to incite real change. Today, we’ll share some of those nuggets that might sting a little, but that can have a significant impact on your event planning success.
You Need to Build Strategic Relationships with Your Corporate Event Clients
Every corporate event client you engage with has the potential to be a long-term client. But they won’t stick with you if you’re not putting in the time and effort to develop the relationship. And the contact person you work with this year might not be the same person who handles events next year. So, you need to build strategic partnerships with every person you encounter in your planning efforts. It’s those relationship-building steps you take now that will ensure you get all of that client’s event planning business in the years to come.
Be Realistic About the Budget
Here’s another hard truth – get real and stay real about the event planning budget. No matter how revolutionary your idea is (and we’re sure it’s spectacular,) if it’s not in the budget, don’t overextend yourself. Now, the alternative solution is to sell your corporate client on investing more in your big idea. But it’s not uncommon for planners to take a small hit here or there, thinking they’re preserving the client relationship. If that’s you, stop. You’re only setting the stage to discount what you have to offer.
No Matter How Good You Are, Stick with Your Agenda
Veteran event planners will get so good at their job that they sometimes forgo a few organizational steps and reminders in their agenda and process. Unfortunately, even the best of the best can overlook a detail sometimes. The most successful New York event planners will tell you to stick with your process, including list-making, note-taking, and reminder-setting. It may feel like second nature to you to know precisely what to do next. But it’s better to have your outlined agenda every time and not need it than it is to event plan based on muscle memory.
Never Stop Asking Questions
When you ask a question, it conveys to the other party that you’re unsure. And that sentiment can be uncomfortable, especially if you’re trying to sell your abilities to a new client. You don’t want to appear incompetent by asking the “wrong” questions. But don’t let that discomfort dissuade you from asking anyway. Always be asking for clarification when you’re not 100% certain of what the client has in mind. And if you need to, rephrase your questions as restatements and affirmations. Your corporate event clients will appreciate your follow-through in understanding every detail, creating a strong foundation of trust from which you can build that strategic partnership.
Infuse As Much Technology As Possible
There are tech innovations and event planning apps you should be using for every engagement. Don’t presume the technology will replace your creative ingenuity, either. On the contrary, these digital solutions and tools are must-haves in streamlining how much time and money you spend on various tasks. You can also be tapping into some of these innovations to improve and expand your corporate event planning offerings, like with virtual or hybrid events. Don’t be intimidated, which is easy because there are so many different resources out there. Instead, sit down with your traditional process and look for different tech options you can adopt that help streamline each of those tasks. There are improvements you could be leveraging with scheduling, ticket management, vendor scheduling, payment management, and post-event feedback.
Hail Mary Passes Won’t Make Heroes
When you’re planning a corporate event or any event for that matter, you do your best to iron out every detail to ensure nothing goes awry. But one piece of corporate event advice you should live by is to remember to always build a contingency plan. You won’t always be able to anticipate issues that might arise. And you don’t want to rely on a last-minute “Hail Mary” pass to pull off a successful engagement. Instead, be methodical with your planning and have backups on stand-by for everything, including venue, menu selections, entertainment, and audiovisual equipment.
Always Get Post Event Feedback
When the corporate event is over, and you kick off your shoes to relax, remember that your job is not yet complete. Corporate event planning continues well beyond the date of the engagement. Now your post-event to-do list should come into play. This list will outline your follow-up steps with your client to get feedback. Now’s the time to coordinate post-event surveys, too. Don’t let more than a week pass before you connect with your client, either. You’ll want top-of-mind opinions about everything from attendance to food. Even if you never do business with this particular event planning again, the data and analytics will only help you get better.
Ask for Next Year’s Event
Part of building those strategic partnerships with your corporate event clients involves asking for the next event. When you’re discussing the feedback from this engagement, inquire about plans for other upcoming events. Throw your hat in the ring for the next event on the schedule, even if it’s only the following year’s same event.
Consider some of this corporate event planning advice, and keep up the daunting work! Don’t forget, too, you can learn more insights about improving your business model from the best of the best at the upcoming Event Planner Expo 2022! Be sure to get your tickets, so you don’t miss the opportunity to get advice from the most prominent influencers in the events industry!