You probably know that when running an event business, it’s the professionals who follow up that win the work. But it’s possibly even more important than you think.
Make First Contact
Some event planners are so busy that they forget who they’ve reached out to. But a sure-fire way of making your business stand out in their minds is to get back to them promptly, even if you can’t help them. It doesn’t matter if you’re already booked for that night, or if something else makes you unavailable. Just let them know.
That connection has already been made for you, so don’t waste it. You never know who they might recommend you to, either. They also might still want you for a future event.
People expect instantaneous responses these days, thanks to instant messaging. Getting back to the event planner in the space of five minutes might sound crazy-fast, but that’s the sort of thing that’s going to get you the job. Don’t be afraid to jump in, as that puts you miles ahead of your competition.
Review Before Sending
It might seem like being ultra-responsive is more important than anything else. But take a moment to re-read your messages before you press send. Making sure you maintain a professional image is vital, and your messages are delivering that image to your potential customers, whether it’s professional or not.
Your customer may have received a dozen other options to choose from, or just found themselves busy with other things (planning events is often not their day job). Don’t be afraid to give them a polite call or email — just briefly let them know you’re looking forward to working with them and offer to answer their questions.
That extra point of contact could be the deciding factor for them. If nothing else, it lets them know you’re a professional. You could also use that message to let them know how to follow you on social media, or otherwise stay in touch.
Every time you get customer feedback it’s a chance to improve how you showcase your services to them — even if the feedback you received was “no response”, that could tell you that they either saw something they didn’t like on your profile, or didn’t see something they were looking for.
Check over the event brief and see if the customer asked for something you offer that wasn’t previously made clear on your profile. Your next lead might really appreciate seeing this.
Why not make a video of the top benefits of hiring your business? Attach that to every email response you send and it can only help you.
Prepare Yourself Before Calls
When you’re on the phone it’s easy to make mistakes. Ensure you’re well prepared before you contact the customer, and make a few notes to keep on hand. Make sure you have re-read their event brief, noted what you can and can’t do for them, set your prices, prepared a few questions for the customer, and put together a tailor-made portfolio you can email them immediately after the call, showing them similar events you’ve done before.
Continue the Relationship
Just as you would always ensure you contact the customer, even if you can’t do that particular event, you should always maintain contact after the event. The customer may not be an event planner full time, but they might hire you again in the future, or recommend you to their friends. It’s always worth being friendly and staying top of mind. Don’t forget, this is also a great time to connect on social media and ask for a review of your work.
If you want more great advice for venue managers and event suppliers, check out our series of posts on event business advice.