One of the first things I often want to know from my consulting clients is how they get business. In other words, how does your business go from nothing to a lead to the final sale?
It's one of the biggest challenges when you first start a business because often you want to spend time doing what you love. For most event planners, I'm sure it's the time you spend with the clients planning, designing and running the event. Finding the clients may not rank high on your list of loves.
So how do you increase the number of clients you work with?
I'll share three tips to start with:
Develop marketing materials and ensure everyone in your warm network knows you are in business.
One of the easiest places to land clients is with people who already know you. Have you told everyone in your friends and family circle that you are an event planner? Hmmm... think about EVERYONE on your list. Are there some people that you haven't spoken with in some time? For example, someone on your holiday greeting card list that you only speak to once a year? I'm sure there is someone that you haven't shared it with.
So start today and do a postcard mailing campaign and share the news with everyone you know.
Important tip: Be sure not to go crazy and share your service materials too many times though within this group. A one time mailing is a good start!
Be willing to share your materials with everyone you encounter
I found that carrying a postcard of my services was a great way to remind me to share my offerings with everyone I encountered. Sure, you can probably remember this when you are attending a networking event. But what about from day to day? Do you encounter people in stores, visiting friends houses, or other events? Of course you do!
Make sure you have information available to share with them.
Important tip: When you first meet someone you don't want to be a hard salesperson. So leave them with the materials and let them follow-up with you if they are interested. You don't want to harrass them too many times - did you read it yet? Do you know anyone? Any events you recommend?
It's a numbers game
Yes, finding new clients and landing sales is a numbers game. And the more people you speak with - the better. You will need to be willing to talk with a lot of people and be comfortable with the word "No".
But that's fine! That's just putting you one step closer to your "yes".
So be willing to talk with lots of people. If you remember the joy you have from event planning and think about all of the ways that you help your clients - it will seem less like sales and more like the start of a great relationship which is exactly how business development works best!
So get started with one or all of these tips today to find new clients. Let me know what successes and challenges you have!