A common worry for budding event planning professionals is how to land your first big event planning client when you have little or no experience to draw on.
Landing Your First Big Client
Client anatomy is a term thrown around the event planning industry. It is a tag utilized to describe your ideal client's personality, likes, and dislikes to create a profile.
After identifying your ideal clientele, you should develop a strategy that will provide proof your services will surpass your competition. This profile serves as a blueprint for the types of clients you focus your marketing strategy on.
Once you have identified your ideal client's profile, you should begin targeting them with your advertising and your presence where you can best find them.
Winning Ways to Land Your First Big Event Planning Client
You should be confident in yourself and your abilities, even if you have no professional experience as an event coordinator. If you’ve planned events for friends and family, then focus on these as positive examples of your skills, and also look at your skills in other areas; can you apply these to the business of event planning?
If you are a parent, you already have many of the skills necessary to be an event planner. You have spent large amounts of time planning events, vacations, budgeting, and negotiating. These skills are your strengths and can show potential clients exactly what you can bring to the table.
Getting the Meeting
It’s no good being confident that potential clients will hire you on sight unless you get the opportunity to meet with them in the first place. Communication is essential with respect to landing your first big event planning client. To book the first meeting you need to let them know exactly how they’ll benefit from your services.
The timeless motto ‘Show, don’t tell’ is important here. Your potential client should know straight away what’s in it for them. If they’re left thinking ‘So what?’, you’ve missed the mark. Check out the following examples.
- Bad example: Although I’m just starting out as a professional event planner, I have a passion for event planning and I’m focused, creative and easy to work with. I’d love to meet up and share some of my thoughts about how I’d organize your event.
- Good example: I have planned and coordinated more than 10 family vacations, five family reunions for 300 hundred people, and two weddings. I know all the vendors and venue owners in town personally through my interactions. Here are some pictures and videos of the events I have planned. I have a number of ideas that will make your event a success. If you like what you see, I can meet you on Friday at one or three. Which would be best for you?
The second example describes your experiences, offers proof and connections others might not have, and gives them the choice of meeting you at one of two times to make them feel as if it was their choice.
The First Meeting
Once you have a meeting arranged it’s essential to make a great first impression. There is nothing wrong with asking them if it's ok to call the day before and confirm your appointment. You solve many reoccurring issues with this action—people forget appointments, you can identify the day before if the client won't make the appointment, and you can identify whether the client is serious about the appointment.
Be prompt, come prepared with any questions you have, and make sure you act professionally. Make sure you are well informed when you set the appointment so that you can show up with some ideas in mind.
Personality is an important factor in landing your first big event planning client; if they don’t like you as a person, they’re unlikely to want to use your services. If you’re having a horrible day before meeting them, put a big smile on your face and be enthusiastic and friendly.
If you don’t feel that they’re a good fit for your personality or your niche, it is ok to not offer your services. You might be anxious to land your first big event planning client, but you want it to be the right one so that you are set up for success. A client relationship is no different from any other relationship, the right one is worth waiting for.