As independent meeting planners in the Meeting and Events Industry, we need to change the way we are asking questions to our clients and shift from logistics to developing a strategic partner relationship with our clientele.
Instead of asking the how, what, where and when questions first, we need to ask the why questions first!
Of course, it is critical to ask the logistic questions like, how many people are coming to the event, what type of property would you like to have the meeting at, how many rooms will be needed and are there any particular diets required, etc.
These types of questions need to come after we have discovered the reasons why our clients want to have a face-to-face meeting.
Focus on the Why first! Then How!
Over the past 20 years, I have discovered that most of the companies I work with, shared one or more of the following challenges: aligning people, implementing strategy, motivating staff, transforming learning into behavior, training, energizing sales, creating cohesion, increasing brand awareness or activating it, engaging with and/or retaining customers and increasingly engage on innovation and generating ideas.
My experience is that in the process of working on any of the above challenges, down the road, there was always a face-to-face event of some kind: a sales meeting, product launch, an advisory board, trade show, conference, or an incentive trip, etc.
This is why when you learn about your client’s objectives and align yourselves with their corporate strategy first, the event takes on a new meaning and you position yourself as a strategic partner.
To position yourself as an innovative event business planner and differentiate your company from the competition, focus on asking your client these questions first:
- What are your organization’s objectives for next year?
- What is the strategy you want to put in place to meet these objectives?
- Why is your organization investing time and money into bringing people face-to-face?
- What do you expect to accomplish from a face-to-face event?
- What do you want your attendees to remember or act upon after attending this event?
- What do you want them to think about after the meeting?
Don’t get me wrong, logistics are critical – but logistics questions should not be asked until you completely understand what your client’s company objectives and strategies are.
Just try it!
Change the approach and use these six questions above!
I have more questions for you that I was systematically using during a prospect or client visit (connect with me on LinkedIn and let me know if you want them) but at least, try the six ones above and witness how your conversations will be entirely different.
Imagine being called much earlier into the planning process,
Imagine being asked your opinion more often,
Imagine an entirely new relationship with your customers, one where you are trusted as a strategic partner, not just as someone doing great logistics anymore!
Imagine yourself using this strategy during your next meeting opportunity?
What are you going to do?
Let me know in the comments below.