Learn to stick to a budget
Learning to stick to a budget early in your career will help you significantly with every single event. Budgets and clients will come in all shapes and sizes. It will benefit you to learn how to be flexible and how to keep track of the money your client is spending on their event. Maintaining their budget will help you develop a stronger relationship with the client.
Some of your budgets will be very tight, and other clients may have a lot of wiggle room in the money they spend. As the planner, it will come down to you to have everything mapped out and tracked. Becoming well accustomed with different tools and software programs will help you with this part of the event planning process.
Get to know your client
In corporate event planning, it’s important to get to know your client professionally first, then socially. For example, if speaking to a new client about their corporate meeting, schedule your consultation with them in a boardroom. First, you want to build confidence in your abilities as a corporate event planner by showing the client you can be professional. You want to exude that image and confidence.
After that, you can take them out for a drink or to a more social environment. Once your client feels confident with you as their planner, they will most likely relax. They may even feel more comfortable coming up with ideas and suggestions for their event. Once you learn more about your client’s personality, you might be able to start anticipating certain worries of theirs throughout the event planning process. You’ll also learn how to best approach them in any situations that may arise.
Develop good relationships with your suppliers
As an event planner you will rely heavily on the suppliers you hire on behalf of your client to fulfil certain needs, such as a production crew for lighting and sound. It’s very important to develop good relationships with these vendors, and to treat them well. One way you can do that is to keep your crew well fed, watered, and comfortable. This way they’re able to work better on the event you are leading. Keep in mind the hours they’re working on this event – they may need something heartier to keep them charged through the long hours they’re putting in for your client.
Another way to maintain these good relationships with your suppliers is with safe payments. Let your suppliers know they can rely on you, just as you rely on them, by following their payment policies. The sooner you get paid by your client, the sooner you can pay your providers. Some won’t show up to work without payment, and some will accept payment after the event. Out of respect and integrity, pay your suppliers on time!
Think on your feet, be resourceful
Once you’ve gained your client’s trust by getting to know them and showing them your skills as a professional, you’ll need to maintain that confidence. You can do this by anticipating their worries, and any situations and scenarios that could come up during the event itself. It’s impossible to predict everything, but you can have certain backup plans in place for what you do anticipate. In the event something does come up, as it most likely will (because life is unpredictable), tell your client, “I’ll take care of it.” If you need to, tell your client you’ll fix it and find a quiet space to think about how to solve the issue.
Thinking quickly to solve problems will come with experience. Once you’ve worked many events, you’ll start to see patterns and be able to read your clients to anticipate what scenarios may happen. There is one thing you aren’t able to stop, and that’s weather. You can have plans in place for inclement weather, but you can politely explain to your client that the weather is simply out of your control.