One very important lesson that every planner should learn “It’s not about you”!
It’s about our clients and how we can help them create a beautiful event, take the stress out of an overwhelming time in their life, or simply bring their vision to reality.
So who are YOU? Hopefully very happy and excited to read about what I have to say. But in all seriousness the answer is simple. You are a Special Events Professional constantly looking to raise the bar in his/her field and do the absolute best you can to make your clients happy.
While some planners may struggle, it is crucial and necessary to understand the client (or prospect). Who are they? Maybe they are Brides and Grooms who have been planning the wedding of their (her) dreams and now they meet you? They are possibly nervous and overworked? I have had the honor of working for women looking to host a 40th birthday for themselves or sons looking to thank their mom and dad on their 50th wedding anniversary. God bless them.
No matter who they are, I think it’s important that you make them feel that you are fortunate enough to do what you love and make a living because of having the opportunity to work for them. So here is what we can do for them and what I call “The Golden Rules”:
Listen: Truly listen. This does not mean hearing them speak as you patiently wait for them to finish so that you can explain ‘how things really are’. Sometimes I ask clients if it distracts them if I write during the meeting. I take notes. Copious notes. And want to remember everything important. So if they are talking, I am listening and they will know.
Imagine… there is a video camera behind your desk and your boss is watching. Maybe even your grandma too. Would they be impressed with how you do your job? How you speak? Are you being the best person you can be? Aim High. That’s what my grandfather always said.
Think, as if the event is YOUR event. And that you are fortunate enough to have experience and knowledge to make the client happy and it’s because of YOU.
Be Kind: It’s a personal relationship and must be one in which you and your client are both comfortable. Leave a wonderful impression at every moment! The gratification is exhilarating!
Be Open and Honest: Some people want to be lied to, most do NOT. Unfortunately, at times you may need to deliver information that is not easy for them to receive. Be gentle with your words, but honesty is always the best policy. Ahh, my mom would be so proud!
Communicate: When you do not have the time to deliver what was promised, send an email, make a phone call and let the client know that you are working on the project and preparing the deliverables. Worst case scenario is that they are disappointed. Keeping in touch is important. Write a simple email: “Just wanted to touch base and let you know I am working on your request. It took slightly longer than expected and it is my priority to get it to you by Wednesday’. Remember: Under-promise-Over-deliver! Never the opposite.
Gratitude: Saying thank you is extremely important and should be separated from any other correspondence. It is essential to let your clients know how happy you were to assist in their planning and that you were honored to be chosen to do so. Keep in touch and bring on the referrals!