Firms intending to host festive client events as part of their marketing strategy this year will shortly be turning their thoughts to venue choices, canapés selections and whether or not the budget will stretch to a glass of champagne or cava?!
But hold those thoughts and take a step back; before spending the firm’s precious budget on a selection of hot and cold vol-au-vents, there are some key points to consider and follow:
- What is the purpose of the event? Client entertaining has its place within any serious marketing plan, provided it is well thought out and targets the ‘right’ clients/contacts. Hours can be wasted arguing over which type of client is ‘right’. Questions such as “why is the employment team inviting xyz company, they don’t give this department any work?!” Decide at the start of the year, during your planning meetings, what is the purpose of the event and who the ‘right’ client/contact is that you are targeting this year, so that when the time arrives you can simply press ‘go’ and watch your plans fall into place.
- Be the host. Ok so it’s the day of the event now you need to run through your check list:
- Your badge is ready (if being used. I suggest all staff don a badge regardless of how well known a person might be!)
- You’ve arranged to finish your work early and to arrive at the venue in plenty of time to assist with the meet and greet.
- You’re going to collect your junior colleague on the way as you’ve promised to introduce them to some of your clients as you realise how intimidating it can be walking into a room full of strangers.
- You’ve had a good read through the guest list and you know which guests you would like to speak to. You are ready to go.
- You’ve got a small supply of business cards at the ready.
- Final pointers. You are almost there, just keep these in mind and the event will be a great success for the firm and its guests:
- Don’t stand with your colleagues. Circulate and make sure your guests are having a great time.
- Checking glasses are topped up and plates are full is a great icebreaker
- Keep the conversation light and ask interesting questions about your guests, looking for opportunities to make introductions between guests where appropriate.
- In addition to any social media activities, take the time the following morning to immediately thank your clients/contacts for attending.
Following these pointers will definitely guarantee that your Christmas event runs smoothly and profitably. Having the right client target and ensuring that you know exactly who is going to be attending, will mean that you waste no time in talking to the right people. Making sure that you personally thank people for attending and following up with any specific areas that you talked about will show that you really think about each client as an individual and will keep that relationship alive.
All in all, have a fantastic Christmas event and enjoy the experience, if you are then you know your client’s most certainly will be.