So you want to host an event for your business and a client. The aim is to have some fun, talk some business, get to know each other some more. This is a smart business decision, no doubt about! But be careful about how you proceed.
Remember: losing clients is one of the worst things that can happen to your business. For one, you’re not going to get very good feedback in the future. It hardly helps your reputation. But it’s also a lot more cost-effective to retain your current clients than it is to scout for new ones. So don’t be afraid to go the extra mile to impress them!
Here are some quick tips that will help you pull off the event without a hitch. Or, at least, with as few hitches as possible.
Remember the purpose of the event
The first paragraph of this article covered some pretty common goals when it comes to corporate events. But many business owners will want to focus on one aspect over another. When you’re planning an event, make sure you know the precise goals of the event. How do you want to come across? What message do you want to send? Do you want the conversation to lean more towards business or pleasure? Everything about this event will affect these goals.
How are your clients getting there?
Wherever you’re hosting the event, make sure your client knows exactly how to get there. Don’t just assume because you’re in a popular city that they know how to navigate the local transport. Send them some quick, concise instructions on how to get there. For best results, you could even arrange for some private transport to bring them directly to the venue!
Have fun - but don’t be afraid to cut to the chase
So you want things to be casual, relaxed, fun. This is important, of course. Some humor and lightheartedness are vital in building strong bridges between you and a client. But if you need to talk shop, then just cut to the chase. People have a tendency to sugarcoat things at these events. If you need to talk business at this event, then get it done!
Don’t leave them feeling hungry
The word “sugarcoat” has just reminded me of something very important. You’ve got to make sure the client gets fed! How you go about this will, of course, depend on the venue. If you’re holding it at a bar or a restaurant, then you can get food served by the staff. (On your dime, of course. Sorry!) If you’re holding it somewhere else, like at the office, then look into office catering. Both fun and business talk are stifled by rumbling stomachs.
Keep in contact
Make sure you get in touch with them the next day to make sure they had a good time. You want to make sure you keep up the mix of friendly and business vibes. The best way to do this is to keep in frequent contact soon after the event. Hopefully, it will be the beginning of a beautiful friendship!
Lina Martinez has her B.S. in journalism and is a contributor to our politics, life and money pages. She once admitted over drinks to singing "Careless Whisper" in the shower. We are still trying to get her to sing it at karaoke.