Three reasons even the best event planners fail
Mary knows her clients consider her skills as an event planner excellent. Why, then, is her business still struggling to capture new customers? Here are three reasons even the most expert at event planning can fail to grow new business.
Are you all things to all people?
The first reason a person who is an expert at planning special events might not be attracting new business is that she has an “all things to all people” business plan. Rather than specializing in the type of events at which she excels, Mary may be afraid to say no to business outside her comfort zone.
In attempting to be all things to all people, she may actually be limiting her ability to grow. By marketing to too broad a customer base, she is actually diluting her message.
Mary’s latest advertising campaign offers full-service event planning, “any event, any size, we do it all.” A bride looking for a wedding planning specialist or a non-profit searching for someone expert at staging fundraisers may skip over her advertisement. Certain prospective customers need to know their specific type of event is her specialty.
Does that mean she must become an event planner for only one type of occasion?
Not necessarily, but if her advertising seems a bit desperate to capture any and all business, it may miss the mark with certain clients. A much better strategy is to find the unfilled niche in her area and target her marketing in that direction.
Do you have a professional appearance?
Another reason competent planners of special events struggle to maintain a client base is by failing to create a professional appearance for their businesses. Take, for example, Michelle who with a background in business as well as event planning and is a natural at organizing corporate events. She has had some success in that area, but still needs to fill her calendar to remain profitable.
Here’s why she might be failing to close proposals made to corporate clients. When Michelle left the corporate world, she also adopted a laid back style of language and dress. In her mind, the fact that she has proven skills for planning corporate events should speak for itself.
In reality his ‘business casual’ look is off-putting to corporate clients. They require reassurance that the person they’re going to entrust their company’s public image at events will take the job seriously. Michelle may need to put on a suit and brush up on her professional demeanor if she wants to sign more contracts with corporate clients.
When should you follow up?
There’s a third possible reason clients are not flocking to perfectly competent planners of special events. Simply put “they fail to follow up.” Sharon, our third hypothetical event planner, is actually receiving a great deal of response to her marketing campaigns. She should, if she signs contracts with half the people who contact her, be highly successful within a year.
That isn’t, however, what occurs. Once she has received the first email or phone message from someone interested in her services, it takes Sharon an average of four days to respond. She justifies the delay as simply being too busy with current event planning. In the prospective client’s mind, their business is not important enough for her to respond promptly.
It’s the unusual potential customer who will wait that long to hear back. Most of them have moved on to the next advertised event planner by the time Sharon calls. By failing to follow up promptly to inquiries about her services, Sharon is picking up a fraction of the business she could be doing.
Using a shotgun approach to marketing, projecting an unprofessional image or failing to respond promptly to potential clients are just three of the ways new event planners can stumble.
The question that must always be asked, whether planning advertising, preparing for a client meeting or scheduling follow-up calls, is “How will this make my business appear to potential customers?”
When the answer to that question is “Professional! Competent! Expert!” those efforts will have hit the mark. The person who takes the above lessons to heart and uses them to become the best event planner in her market will soon be reaping a harvest of new business.
Now I’d love to hear from you. In the comments below, let us know how you learn about business. Is it online, through local classes, videos or other tutorials? What’s the hardest part you’ve experienced, so far? As always, thanks for joining me each week, for commenting and for sharing!