Educate Yourself and Your Clients
It is critical that companies not only continue to educate themselves about the industry they are in, but that they are both learning about their clients and teaching their clients. Moving into 2011, commit to attending at least two educational events specific to your industry, reading publications focused on your industry, and keeping up to speed on trends in your industry. Additionally, immerse yourself in the culture of your niche and its people—they have a lot to teach you.
Ask yourself, what are some of the idiosyncrasies unique to your area? When you educate yourself on issues important to the people you hope to do business with, you win over clients. And when you speak with authority on your industry as you are building these relationships, you seal the deal.
Don’t Be Afraid to Say “No”
It’s easy to be tempted to take on work that is not a fit for your company but seems financially rewarding. For 2011, analyze what your core business is and who your core clients are.
Many people might also be watching you to see if you have been tested and proven successful before they choose you—are you picking the right clients so you can shine appropriately? Not all business is good business, so make sure you are comfortable turning down business that does not fit your mission and core capabilities.
As a result, your client base will be solid, which will be reflected in your reputation.
To grow in any industry, you must be confident in your expertise and have the nerve to tell a client that his ideas may not produce the most successful results. Some clients will have a theme in mind for an event and after looking at all of the demographics, objectives, and logistics of the event, it turns out that his ideas or suggestions are all wrong. We help clients understand that, and give them an event that truly accomplishes their goals.
Once you are confident that your ideas and creativity will produce the results your clients envision, you can begin to create that sense of expectation from a client that you understand what works and what doesn’t for his specific situation.
Times are changing and we must change accordingly; we are an experiential society influenced by technology and all of the wonders it brings. In order to succeed, your work must be exemplary. When your goal is to create an experience every time you come in contact with a client, growth follows, especially because not every company can create and deliver a truly outstanding client experience.
Stand in your client’s shoes for a moment—What will he appreciate? What is he hearing? How can I avoid wasting his money? When creating an experience, identify what the most effective solution is for the client’s situation; you want to be able to offer a complete picture that makes sense to the individual and industry you are working with.
Know Your Competition
In the meetings industry, most clients have to get several bids for an event or large group transportation; knowing the competition and how you stack up against it is essential to growing. We have well-established, quality competitors, and they push us to be better, more creative, and on our game.
I may be going away from conventional wisdom to say this, but give your competitors a pat on the back. Ours is a small industry and having allies over enemies shows that we support the growth of our entire industry and not just our own businesses. We maintain that we can’t be all things to all people, so if we lose a piece of business, maybe we weren’t the right fit; we believe that another opportunity is sure to follow. Grow right, grow wisely.
Michelle Yurcak is a Destination Management Certified Professional and president of Premium Event Services, a Ypsilanti, MI-based DMC. She can be reached at [email protected] or (734) 528-1455.