Picture this; you have successfully completed your second program with a new client. You were able to manage all airport arrivals and departures for a 500 guest manifest including 10 VIPs, incorporate the company’s brand into each event, arrange and execute offsite activities and all within your client’s budget! This must guarantee you a spot on their preferred supplier list and the opportunity to receive future RFPs, right? Not quite.
Today a meeting planner can easily perform a Google search to find all of their event needs from the venue to the VIP gift baskets. As a supplier, you want to retain your current clients and not lose them to a random supplier that may be found through a quick internet search by your client.
Suppliers work really hard to acquire new clients and to get an opportunity to be recognized as a preferred supplier. But once you are on the “list” your work shouldn’t stop there. Retaining relationships with current clients is a key attribute of a successful company in the meeting and event industry.
Here are 5 ways to engage with your current clients:
- In Person Meetings. This might be obvious but doesn’t happen as often as you may think. Now, it might not be realistic for you to meet in person with your client due to distance, time or financial resources. But if your client is only 20 miles or just a few hours away make the time to schedule an in person meeting. Skype is also a great tool to use if you can’t always make an in person meeting.
- Tweet, Post, #, Like. Social media is here to stay! Interacting over social media is a great way to keep your company relevant in an ever-changing industry and shows your clients that your company is accessible through other forms of communication, not just email or the telephone.
- Introduce Yourself to the Newbies. As a veteran in the hospitality industry, I can tell you from firsthand experience that employee turnover is quite high. Send a quick email to introduce yourself to the new person or the next time you are in the office make a point to ask if there are any new team members.
- Join the Club. The meeting and events industry has a plethora of industry related clubs or associations you can join such as Meeting Professionals International, SITE or International Special Events Society just to name a few. These associations are always putting on networking events. Joining an association would be a great opportunity to learn industry trends, meet up with your current clients and potentially connect with new clients.
- Where’s the Love? You are thankful for your current clients so show them the love and start a rewards program! A rewards program can be as simple as giving a spa day to a client or as elaborate as planning an all-inclusive weekend of fun in Chicago for your client and a guest. Meeting and events professionals can open the door to an array of incentives and gift ideas for your clients so be creative! By showing your current clients that you appreciate their business and value your partnership can send you to the head of the pack.
Remember, just because you scored the program last year doesn’t automatically guarantee you the business for next year. Engaging with your clients can keep you on top of mind when your clients are planning their next program.
How will you engage with your current clients today?
image credit: roland