Great news! You won a large contract for a corporation or association annual meeting. You and your team are very excited to be working with this client, but when the event is over, what can you do to remain in the forefront of the client's mind?
Try these 6 simple tips to keep them coming back to you, year after year, event after event.
Tip #1: Really Get to Know Your Client.
You know that age old adage, "We do business with people we know and like." How well do you know your client? Are you conversant with different levels of the team or does your business relationship rely on just one person? It is dangerous to build a long-term relationship with one person because that individual could retire, get fired, or quit. Get to know as many individuals on the management team as possible and keep those relationships going throughout the year.
Tip #2: Keep a Running File of Their Accomplishments.
Read trade publications and local and national newspapers your client might be mentioned in. Google their company often. Follow them on Twitter. Either mail or email them any mention of their company or key people in it. Enclose a business card with a brief note saying congratulations or great job. Everyone wants to have people take notice of their accomplishments, including your clients, and it helps keep your organization "top of mind".
Tip #3: Suggest Ways They can Make Their Event Better.
Maybe you noticed the registration area was really crowded and it took attendees a long time to check-in. You could suggest renting touch panel kiosks for self-service check in, thus freeing up staff to do other things. Perhaps attendees were having a hard time juggling their binders and the session locations were confusing. Suggest they rent iPads and put all the event materials on the system with a map that includes GPS. Whenever you present these suggestions, make certain to have the cost/benefit analysis completed.
Tip #4: Ask for More Business.
Chances are if your client is holding an annual meeting, they are also holding several smaller meetings. If you feel they are very happy with the work you have completed for them, don't be shy in asking for more business.
Tip #5: Be a Team Player.
Try to solve whatever issue is at hand. Good communication skills rest on coming up with good alternatives, not finger pointing or blame shifting. Something is bound to go awry at the event, so jump in and see how you can help.
Tip #6: Always be Ethical.
It doesn't matter if you do all the items above with ease, but if you lie or misrepresent your offerings, you can kiss that business good-bye. Part of developing long-term business relationships rest in the development of trust. Be honest, even if it means you lose a job. Clients will remember your integrity, above all things.
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