I’m constantly thinking about what kind of information I’d like to share with you on this blog. I think about what will be most helpful for you to read as well as for me to share, so I always ask myself one question: What would I have wanted to know when I was first starting out?
My team in 2002
Naturally, I thought I should start a blog series about the most important part of our business: how to make money in this industry. Yes, we are creatives and givers who truly enjoy the act of helping someone realize their dream, but we’re also all here to make a living and help ourselves reach our own dreams. This series will focus on the ins and outs of the Event Industry, with a particular emphasis on what you need to do to make the sale.
After being in business for so many years, I still consider the art of the sell a work in progress. Although there is no exact science to it, I am always reminded of one basic truth: ONE DOES NOT HAVE A BUSINESS WITHOUT CLIENTS. So, this is where I’d like to start. There are three very important things you need to know when it comes to clients and your business. Ask yourself:
1) Who is your clientele? Not all clients are right for you. When I first started, I was so full of myself to think that every job was right for me. This put me at a great disadvantage because I mostly appeared desperate.
It’s very important that you establish (even if it’s just in a very basic way) who your clientele is. There are tons of marketing plans out there you can follow and develop for your business, however I like keeping it really simple. If you can’t make money, they are not for you.
My team in 2009
2) How do you reach your clientele? Because your clients are such an important part of your business, this is one of the biggest questions you need to answer. Again, there are tons of ways to market and promote your business, but I can only tell you what worked for me when I first started.
I have never paid for advertising. However, being in a social industry, it was clear to me that the most effective way to get to my clients was through stories written in magazines, editorials, newspapers, etc. (Remember, these were the days before the very powerful tool we all have today for promotion called: THE INTERNET.)
I became a media whore. I called one magazine editor at least once a week for six months until she finally gave in and ran a story about my floral design. Once you get that first break in print, you are on your way. (We’ll discuss ways to promote yourself on the Internet in a future post.)
3) Who is the most important person in the world? The answer should always be: a potential client. You should always treat a potential client as if they were the most important person in the world. Most of the time when they call, they may actually be nervous reaching out to you.
That initial phone call or email you receive should be returned (with no exception) within the hour. Remember that they are often calling more than one vendor so they’ll feel most comfortable with the first person they reach. From this first phone call, you want to encourage a face to face meeting. Many times they want information over the phone, but it’s easier to establish a connection if you meet in person.
Next week we’ll discuss: HOW TO GET A NEW CLIENT. Do you have any specific questions about this you’d like me to cover? Let me know.