Thinking of hosting a conference or convention to solicit customers or clients? It can be a great opportunity to improve your standing with them. The best principle to use in forming the idea for your event is to focus on showing your current and potential clients and customers that you genuinely care about hosting a nice event for them.
Good business practices in general reveal your level of caring and concern for your customers, but when those clients, customers, colleagues, or other connections are with you for an event, you have a particularly acute opportunity to cater very carefully to their interests and goals. It’s a chance to show them you are interested in what they are like and what kind of person they are.
Unfortunately, it’s also a chance to ruin a good relationship. Here are some ways to favor the former over the latter:
Keep The Event Sleek & Efficient.
If you’re hosting an event such as a trade show, you have things set up all through a large venue. Your guests will need to manage their time carefully in order to see everything they want to see and still have time for a meal, hotel check-in, or meetings of their own. They cannot effectively set up their own schedule if yours is in flux, so you have three key steps to take.
First, make sure you have explicitly stated the exact schedule of your events. Second, ensure that participants will know where to find those events. And finally, use a mobile event app to manage the event and keep participants abreast of changes in the roster of speakers, sequence of sessions, or other deviations from what was originally announced. This will bring an end to countless last-minute announcements, sign movements, and worst of all, apologies.
Get Features They Will Want.
Remember, your goal in hosting an event isn’t simply to get them to register and show up so that you can sling goods and services at them. You want things that will capture their interest so that they will engage. After all, if your visitors find the event boring, they won’t stick around to buy, donate, apply, or sell anything. Activities, speakers, displays, and vendors should all appeal to their particular interests, which means that not only must you work to get those features incorporated into the schedule, but you must also do the groundwork to know which features they’ll want.
The attractions your event includes are a key component of why they are coming in the first place. So make sure that promised participants are there, and be prepared to move quickly into improvisation mode to compensate if factors beyond your control rattle your plans. Then communicate with your guests, as noted above. And if you book it from gavel to gavel with things that you should know they won’t like, you’ve done far more damage to the relationship than if you hadn’t invited them to begin with.
Make The Event Last.
That doesn’t mean the day’s duration, because in fact that measurement should be kept modest and sustainable. Instead, think of what will make the event last in the minds of the participants.
What speakers got a good reaction? Could some of that person’s points be a central element of your follow-up communication with your guests? Consider a letter a few weeks later: “I am sure that you, like everyone at the summit, are still hearing Dr. Jacobs’ admonition to ‘raise other boats with your rising tide.'” Chances are, they’ll remember the speech, and if not, you’ve just reminded them. Just make sure those words were truly uttered, and that the letter’s recipient was present at the time.