A key to long-term success in almost any business is securing and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship with your client/customer. While with some clients this happens instantaneously, some do require more time and work on your part. Either way the good news is that once this relationship is established and the trust secured your client will want to not only want to continue working with you, but you will enjoy working with them as well.

Common Ground

One of the first things I try to do with a new client is find a common interest or hobby that we share. It’s always a great way to start conversations and can help build a bond beyond the day-to-day business. Remember to be sincere in this though. Just because the client is into skydiving does not mean you need to feign interest in it. Not only can people tell when you are being disingenuous, but what happens if they find out you are lying? You have then broken any trust that you had established and have very little chance of regaining it. Stick with what you know and perhaps you will find something that you truly do have in common. If not, remember that you do always have the event that you are working on as common ground. Stick to what you know and you can’t go wrong!

Communication

When things are not going as planned during an event I expect someone to make sure I am aware of this immediately so we can work together to make the necessary changes to get back on track. Nothing is worse than someone I am working with telling me that they can’t deliver something two hours before I need it, but knew it was most likely not going to happen hours earlier. There is a very high chance this company will not be getting a call back for more work. This is such a major mistake so many of us make. By ‘protecting’ ourselves and/or the client from bad news we create a bigger problem for everyone in the end. Call it communication or honesty or whatever you like, it is just plain good business to keep yourself and your client ahead of disaster. By doing this you are establishing and continuing to reinforce the trust in your relationship. Remember how your parents told you honesty is the best policy? It applies here as well. Of course avoiding this situation is obviously preferred, but sometimes things beyond our control happen and two heads are better than one when it comes to fixing it. Now how you communicate this to your client is a delicate matter and varies from client to client, but having a potential solution in hand already is highly recommended.

The Only Client

Treat every client as if they are the only one you have. This is hard, I know. We all work on several shows at the same time and sometimes it feels as if your head is going to explode because it is going in so many different directions. This is not your client’s fault or problem, so don’t tell them that you are so busy working on other shows that you can’t get to them. Not only did you just make your client feel like they are an imposition, but by this you are suggesting that perhaps you have way too much going on and can’t properly execute their show. Besides I am sure most of them already know this. We are all busy, but you can take a few minutes out of your day to make sure your client feels they have your full attention. Remember your client’s satisfaction is the key to getting additional and repeat business so make sure to treat them accordingly.

This all comes down to a few core things to remember. Be sincere, be honest, be proactive and be yourself. How can that go wrong?

Shannon

Shannon Anderson has been an active member in the event industry for over 15 years trying out every job she could from banquet server to Director of Events. Taking on challenges from the screens at the Sundance Film Festival, the exotic locations of destination weddings and the slightly scary convention centers in Cartagena, Columbia, she has been there, done that and made small children and clients happy.

Currently she can be found traveling the globe, providing an educational experience about her job in creative production and spreading her wisdom to anyone within earshot. As a person who spends equal time on two different continents she chronicles her explorations on her daily lifestyle blog for sanity and admiration.

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