How to Create a Successful Client Partnership
Meeting planners spend significant time selecting the vendors or partners that will help them execute successful meetings and events. Once you are selected as one of these partners, it’s important to create a foundation for a positive working relationship with your client and other related stakeholders. To ensure you are successful at executing your part of a meeting or event, Event Transportation Systems (ETS) shares a number of tips from things we have learned along the way:
Clarify Client Expectations and Goals Up Front
To start things off on the right foot, understand exactly what is expected from your client. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions and be careful not to make assumptions. Find out how your client defines a successful meeting and then create a plan that aligns with those criteria. Having clarity in the beginning means you will encounter fewer hiccups and misunderstandings along the way.
Get to Know your Client
Do some research to gain a thorough understanding of your client and the business in which they operate. Find out your client’s pet peeves as well as some basic personal information so that you can create a meaningful connection. Meeting planners don’t just hire the best qualified in terms of skill set; they hire people who they like and who care about the things they care about. Maintain that personal connection throughout the relationship and always follow up with a thank you note and invitation for a post-conference meeting to discuss your performance and improvements for the next meeting.
If you discover any information that would or could have an impact on the meeting or event, reach out and discuss your observations and what steps you would suggest to address the issue. Position yourself as a partner and consultant. Your client will appreciate the personal attention, your attention to detail, as well as the added value.
Understand Your Client’s Communication Style
Ask questions about your client’s communication preferences. Do they prefer email or text, or do they prefer chatting by phone? Do they want to schedule regular meeting times to check on progress? Which times of day are best for contacting them? This information will benefit both parties in helping to keep information flowing and plans on track. Also, don’t give in to the urge to contact your client whenever you have a question. Wait until you have a few things on your plate for discussion and then reach out. Your client’s time is valuable and you don’t want to abuse it.
Get to Know the Other Partners in the Meeting Planning Equation
Numerous vendors and partners are always involved in meeting planning, so it is important to get to know the key players, especially the ones who might have an impact on your role at the meeting. Be sure your client introduces you to the key contacts, and that these partners are aware of anything that might also impact them.
Be Flexible, Transparent, and Make Back-up Plans
Schedules change, people get sick, and weather is unpredictable. Something unexpected will always happen, so take it in stride and handle it calmly and professionally. Most importantly, always have a back-up plan in place for everything you can think of that might go wrong. Be sure to communicate with your client immediately if an issue arises. Transparency is also critical. Your client will never be happy is they sense that you are trying to hide a mistake. Rather, own up to any error and explain how it will be resolved quickly and efficiently.
At Event Transportation Systems, we strive to create a five-star client experience each and every time That’s why we are asked back as the transportation company of choice time and time again. If you have a meeting, convention, conference or event coming up, please contact us. We’ll be glad to handle your ground transportation needs.