The best event planners ask their clients why they are hosting an event. They also put resources in place that make that goal happen. It’s about more than site selection, menu, event program or any of the other of the hundreds of other decisions that make an event successful. I’m talking results. Put simply: Why is your client putting on the event in the first place? What do they want to happen as a result of all the blood, sweat, and tears you’ll be pouring into this?
As the founder of a global sales and sales training agency, my team gets flown in by event hosts and planners in a range of industries for one reason: To have conversations that generate action, sales, or whatever next step the event host envisions. So I speak from direct experience when I say that without a clear understanding of the outcome your client wants, it’s dangerously easy to create an event that looks great, but fails to create meaningful, measurable and strategic business results.
Let’s not beat around the bush: Your professional reputation is at stake, and possibly your client’s revenue or engagement targets, too. The last thing you want is for your client to leave their own event feeling like it was a failure. Thankfully, this scenario is completely avoidable. You simply need, in the words of Stephen Covey, author of the bestseller “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” to “begin with the end in mind.” Be sure your client is clear on their desired strategic outcome for their event—and then do everything in your power to help them achieve it.
Your client’s desired result is almost always tied to some type of monetary goal, even if there is not a direct invitation to purchase at the event. Maybe they want to hit a certain membership enrollment goal. Maybe they have a target number of people they want to indicate interest in taking a next step after the event is over. Maybe they want to increase community size, or change hearts and minds, or increase connection, or yes, even sell a product or service. Make it your business to have your client clearly articulate their event goal, so that you can design a memorable, engaging event guest experience where every detail and every decision drives towards it.
Helpful questions to ask your client include:
- What do you want to happen as a result of this event?
- Are you looking to hit certain targets for sales, community growth, or lead?
- What action would you like guests to take as a result of attending this event?
- How do you want guests lives to change as a result of your event?
- How do you want guests to feel?
- What is the next step for guests once the event is over?
Asking these questions will spark a conversation so you can more fully understand the overarching event goals. It can also give you valuable insight into additional resources and support needed to achieve those goals.
As I tell our clients, it’s not the role of event hosts or planners to hire, train, and manage a coordinated team of professionals responsible for having enrollment conversations with guests at the back of the room. It’s often not their role to intelligently staff a resource or merchandise table, either. Nor is it their role to monitor the energy level of a room, watching body language and listening to hallway conversations for how guests are responding to an invitation, sales pitch, or offer (or to advise how to make real time adjustments to their message or program so they stay on track to their goals).
However, these are the exact roles my team fulfills for event planners, event hosts and speakers, day in and day out.
So as a trusted advisor to your client, make sure you know their larger goals for doing their event in the first place. You’ll not only help them focus, you’ll be one step closer to an extremely satisfied customer.