The Client Gym
It’s a time of year where as an industry, event management and venue finding agencies across the land are busy with client enquiries, tenders and proposals. We work our socks off to source the right venues, negotiate on price and hope that Christmas will come early as a confirmation magically arrives in our inbox from a possible client.
At Clearwater Events, we know that the client hand is a big hand, an important hand and their choice to use us or not directly effects us, our profit and our growth. As such, our event management team works to the principal of sweat equity; you get out, what you put in. If you go to the gym, you don’t get fit overnight, it takes time, hard work and dedication. This is very much the same when building possible client relationships; embracing the fact that it takes time and effort to develop a trust, which makes a client, want to work with you.
The cost of building potential client relationships can be huge financially, but also in actual time. It’s a cost worth investing in, as the client hand is ultimately the hand that feeds you. Reflecting on my blog last month, ‘The Curse of the Free Lunch’, suppliers follow the same principal, working hard with event management venue finding agencies to build relationships in an effort to win our trust and loyalty. But, there are times where this effort can be manipulated…..
Personally, I don’t believe in gismos or straplines. I also shudder at the thought of heavy-handed sales techniques, promising the world but seldom delivering what’s in the sales presentation. For me, and the team at Clearwater Events, I believe that clients buy people. It’s the ability to come to the table with a bag full of skills and the confidence to say, how can I help you?
These last months, the client gym has been very busy. You have the body builder event agencies flexing their muscles and promising the world. They certainly have a meaty presentation. You have others, like Clearwater Events who are lean, fit and sweat a lot. But, don’t feel the need to show off or build muscle.
The muscle option is always enticing, but is it the option that provides long lasting and valued return on investment? Ultimately, to keep the muscle takes effort, time and money often at the long-term expense of the client’s actual requirements. Look at the rush to purchase those celebrity fitness DVD’s in January. Full of promise, question how many of those airbrushed, spandex clad celebrities look like the image on their DVD cover and the effort it has taken to create that ‘image’ (a certain ex East Enders actress springs to mind).
I question how you can provide a solution when you don’t necessarily know the problem. And, I believe that sweat equity in the client gym comes from working hard in understanding the needs of the client. And from understanding need, creating a solution that fits perfectly. Call it a personal fitness plan. Coming in full of muscle and assuming that’s what is needed really doesn’t impress.
For 2014, I shall be elbowing and pushing past the Muscle Mary’s very hard in the queue to renew my gym membership. Spandex, sweat and muscles are never a flattering combination. The perfect Christmas present would be for the Clearwater phone to ring with a magical client confirmation. Until then, my advice would be to keep away from the celebrity DVD’s, spandex and over promises. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!