Earning your stripes and becoming a credible event management agency is a little like the chicken and the egg story. You need clients to showcase your event management skills, yet to showcase your event management skills you need clients. And, when you think you have cracked this conundrum, you have to ask, where do I actually get my clients from?At Clearwater Events, our biggest focus is in identifying new clients and aligning briefs to our event management services. Now that we have earned our stripes, we face this second conundrum of how?
I think the days of taking prospective clients out, wining and dining or helping them get a free hotel room for a mini break in the hope of an event management enquiry is most certainly old hat. Firstly, I don’t have the expense budget and secondly, quite often these types of prospect clients are only after one thing, your free lunch! I don’t like carrots, so carrot-dangling really doesn’t push my buttons.
As much as event management companies have cottoned onto this, our industry is just as bad in expecting a free lunch (or worse) with our suppliers. There seems to be an expectation of ‘something for nothing’ in the hope that we will confirm business.
Within event management, suppliers such as hotels, DMCs and rep companies get a tough deal. Quite often, our industry expects suppliers to pick up the tab at parties and award dinners, expect there to be a constant flow of wine (and not the cheap stuff) and are quite happy to take a fam trip without much more than a thank you, let alone business, all in the spirit of education.
Clearwater Events wants to grow as an event management agency. Our suppliers want to grow their event management portfolio. So, why not work together in capturing this business, rather than dangling all these carrots?
Right now, I see the power of partnership as a key tool. For Clearwater Events to increase their event management presence, we need to partner with suppliers. We are all chasing the same client, albeit in a different way, so it makes sense that we switch off our protective firewall and let our suppliers in on the act. The power of collaboration is powerful as when delivered well, it can help provide a well-rounded portfolio of event management solutions that offer real client value.
Partnership and collaboration can take on many guises and I am not talking about preferred supplier agreements here. For Clearwater Events, partnership actually means working together to an aligned strategy that’s built on trust and integrity. I have moved on from worrying about a hotel stealing my sales lead, as they wont! My focus is on working in partnership to convert that lead into an event management sale and in turn identifying leads together that we can prospect together.
It might seem far fetched to some of you die-hards out there, but If ultimately we are all working to the same goal and aiming to reach out to the same client, we just need to consider a new way of working as an industry, together….