Client events can be a terrific way to foster relationships, attract referrals, and build your business at the same time. An event provides a perfect atmosphere for you to engage with clients, patients and prospects in a more meaningful, comfortable, and fun way.
When I worked in the hotel industry, we would host these events annually. They were big. Lavish in food, drink, decorations, and prizes! Our clients loved them. On the night of the event, our hotel would be packed with guests, and if the Fire Marshall would have walked in, we would have been in serious trouble! A lot of hard work and months of planning went in to these client appreciation parties but it was well worth it. We had the opportunity to show off what we did well, and be with our clients in a more relaxing, exciting, and non-selling way. After the event, we would receive all kinds of phone calls and thank you cards and many of those calls resulted in more business!
I realize many of you are not in the hotel business with access to a venue, chef-prepared fabulous food and the staffing to handle all the set up and service the guests, but you can still have your own highly successful client or patient events if you consider these useful event secrets.
Events not only reinforce the bond with your current clients and patients, but can also be a source of new clients and patients. Allow your clients to bring a guest or two to the event. Typically those guests will be of the same demographic as your client. These prospects should be very valuable to you because by allowing your client to invite them, they are sending the message to their friend that they value your expertise, they trust you and they are willing to let them get to know you.
Events offer the opportunity for your staff to get to know your clients and patients too. Get your staff involved in helping with the details. They play a variety of important roles in your business and when your team can bond with your clients that makes the relationship you have them even stronger.
Your event doesn’t have to be lavish like the hotel events I described above. Hosting an informative luncheon in a smaller group setting may work just as well. It really depends on what your business is as to what kind of events will work best for you. The important thing is to keep them congruent with your business and provide an atmosphere that is open, reassuring and low-key for your guests. In the end, you want your clients feeling good about you and talking to others about your events and how valuable, or fun, or entertaining they are.
You really don’t need a specific reason to have an event; simple appreciation will do. What’s most important is providing an atmosphere where your guests can enjoy and relax and get to know you better.
Following up is a critical step to any event. Be sure to send a thank you note or make a phone call to your clients. Better yet, take photos at the event and send their photo with a handwritten note. Everyone loves to see themselves in pictures. Don’t miss this opportunity to reach out to your clients or patients once again on this personal level. This will set you apart from the competition and keep you in the forefront of their mind.