Simple Steps to Find and Approach Event Clients
Today we’re going to be talking about how to find and approach event planning clients.
There are a couple of ways that you can reach out to or even find new event clients. You might have to get a little out of your comfort zone and there are a number of places that you can go to get past the fear of approaching clients or potential clients – like Toastmasters.
Toastmasters is around the world and they are in many locations, so you’ll have to check locally to see if you have a local Toastmasters or an equivalent to it, but they will help you with public speaking and they focus more on speaking in front of an audience. It’s also a great way to network and get comfortable about speaking about what it is that you are passionate about and what it is that you do, so you can use Toastmasters as a great platform to practice before you actually speak to the event clients that you want to work with.
Simple Steps to Find and Approach Event Clients
Another great place to get some experience is through your own community and it doesn’t matter where you live, you can get involved in your community and not only is it a great way to pay it forward and build your skills, but you can also get to know so many people in your community and it’s a great way to get referrals. So, let’s say for example, you are working at children’s festivals in your community and there are many people in those types of community events that unfold and so you just put yourself out there and you meet different people. You meet people who are attending, you meet the organizers of the event and you let them know what it is you are up to, what is your event planning business about, what your event planning service’s is about. If you are an independent event planner and just talking about it, getting out there and just getting in the habit of speaking about your own services.
Then you also want to tap into Your Own Network: this is the easiest way to get experience right off the bat, is to tap into your own network. This could be friends and family, co-workers, somewhere where you volunteer. There are a number of places where you can tap into your own network.
Partnering with other businesses: this can be a great way to take your skills and blend them with somebody else’s and then offer your businesses or your skill-sets together as a group. You can do this with one other company or two or three other companies, so you kind of form this cohort and it’s a great way for you to expand your network so that you are reaching more people but it also shows that you’ve got a network of people and suppliers who are backing you. So, whether it’s florists or caterers, it could be musicians, for example, that you’ve worked with. Forming other business relationships and partnering with those business will also help you reach other clients, find other client and then approach other clients.
One thing that I actually want to share – and I just noticed this recently is that one of our community members, Addie Graham Kramer, who is the owner of The Event Company in South Dakota is a guest on the local news network and she talks about what’s happening around town. She’s not necessarily talking about her events but all the activities and all the different events that are going around town. I love this because it’s getting her name out there, it’s not being pushy at all, she’s not necessarily talking about her own events unless they’re public events, but because they introduce her and mentioning her company name.
Why not start your own “what’s going on around town” show? You can use Facebook Live like I’m using here, which is super easy to use. All you need is your phone. You can even do it on YouTube or you can do the combo, so if you are doing a Facebook Live, you do it, then you download it, and then you put it up onto YouTube. What a great way to start getting your name out, and if you’ll like video then it’s perfect! If you don’t, you might just have to get used to it, I certainly wasn’t into video until I started doing it over and over again. It’s never perfect…I’m constantly tripping over my words, as you can tell, but you get out there, be yourself and you put your name out there. Kudos to Addie!
This is an easy way to get in front of clients and maybe people that you wouldn’t normally because they can find you through Facebook or through YouTube and it’s a great way to really start to build a relationship with people and have people reach out to you instead of you always going out to them.
You have to get outside of your comfort zone when you’re starting and you might have to think outside the box a as well.
Look at other industries and look at what other people are doing. You don’t have to focus on Event Planners, and what Event Planners are doing, you can look at other industries and see what’s working in those industries and then apply it to your services.
Here is a few tips when you are going to meet with clients —
Use an Agenda. This is a really great way to prep yourself and if you put an agenda together a couple of days before, then you can methodically think of everything that might come up during your meeting — like things that you need to talk about during the meeting. This will help you prepare some questions for your clients.
Now, when you’re preparing an agenda, I recommend that you do it a few days before you send it in an email to your client and say “Hey, here is the proposed agenda, if there is anything that you’d like to change or add to it, then let me know and I’d be happy to discuss it at out meeting.” State the time and the date and the location so makes it really easy and acts as a meeting reminder for your clients so they know exactly what’s going on.
This helps you formulate questions, so if you’re going through your agenda and nothing is really obvious then start to think, or just do Google search on other questions to ask perspective clients so that you can get to know them. This could be anything about the event and how to approach their event, it would also be something a little more personal in terms of ‘getting to know them’ like what kind of things they like, When people tell you about themselves, it gives you clues about things that you can do to make their event that much nicer, or that much more personal for them, so asking questions is really important.
Then equally – if not more important – is making sure that you listen to the answer. This is a really good communication skill to get into the habit of. Most people struggle with it because they are formulating the answer in their head before they are actually listening, so make sure that you listen to what they are saying and for me, what I would do is …because if I go into a meeting and I’m trying to write everything down but I can’t really listen to what the client is saying, so I either take a tape recorder and let them know that I’m going to record the meeting or alternatively I will bring a staff member or even an intern with me to take notes while I’m having the conversation and that was my preferred method or is my preferred method because it’s more personal and also because that other person that I’m bringing with me picks up on things I may have missed.
A couple of other things I would highly recommend that you do before you go into your meeting is; make sure that you research the client and/or their business if they have one. So, get to know what your client is about, you can look on Facebook and see their personal profile and a lot of the times people will have their setting open so you can kind of see “do they like to travel, are they into books, what kind of music do they like, what do they like to do in their free time?” So, you can kind of get a sense of what it is they like, so you can do that at Facebook, you can do that at Pinterest, Instagram, so many other social media networks, even LinkedIn could give you a good idea of what it is that they do, what they like, and if it’s a more professional setting then LinkedIn is definitely a great source of information for you.
Finally, last but not least; Just be Yourself.
You might have some heart palpitations and your head might be going in so many different directions because you want to make sure that you get everything right and you want to be perfect, but I can guarantee you, it’s not going to be perfect and that is okay, it’s totally fine.
So, just be yourself, dress as you normally would, be professional, but don’t try and be somebody else. sSpeak like you normally would as well because it’s so much easier if you’re being yourself versus trying to be somebody else.
I would love to hear from you in the comment box below.
What have you found that has worked well for you when trying to find and approach event clients.