What a week! What started off fairly franticly has proved to be quite a productive 5 days in old event land, with a very satisfying conclusion, but it certainly hasn’t been easy.
We’re just under a week away from the first official event on the EWL Club 2017 event programme, and up until 5 hours ago I was still without an official venue (though negotiations were underway).
I’ll be honest the start of 2017 has proved to be a challenge in terms of finding venues. Yes, EWL is a not-for-profit, and yes, we look to partner with venues, that besides there really is no excuse for not displaying and offering courtesy to a fellow event professional, regardless of the budget or nature of the event.
“What do you mean by this Mrs Moon?” I hear you say.
Here’s the thing… I have over the past 3 weeks contacted 47 venues, and to this day I have had a response from 8.
That’s right 8, a 17% response rate, 83% considering me not even worthy of a reply, no acknowledgement, no “on your bike misses”, no “thanks but no thanks”.
That to me – bearing in mind I spent many years in venues before switching sides – is quite simply unacceptable.
What ever happened to being courteous, being polite and good honest customer service?
Do those 39 venues think I’ll be rushing to contact them again with more enquiries?
Do they think I’ll be rushing to send them enquiries when I return to my freelance role after maternity leave, with client requests?
Here’s the big one… do those 39 venues think that I’ll be rushing to recommend them to the countless event professionals and event planners that I talk and communicate with each week?
I think the answer here is a fairly obvious one.
You see that’s the power of networks, and that’s why I tell new eventprofs just starting out that it’s important to be courteous to everyone.
Now don’t get me wrong there are some you really don’t need to be courteous or polite to, like the bag ladies on the last day of Confex! You know the ones, they do the rounds with the big bags taking all the giveaways off your stand with glass of champagne in hand, whilst trying to avoid eye contact.
Ignore those guys if you want to, however…
There is still 99% of the Industry that you really shouldn’t burn your bridges with and discredit just because you think they may not be important enough to you. It may be the case right now, but that can change in an instant.
This wonderful industry of ours is too fluid, too competitive, it moves at too rapid a pace.
You can never be 100% sure about someone’s background and experience, who they’re connected to, who their mentors or mentees may be, but more importantly you can never be too sure what they will go on to do in the future, and that my friends is what may come back to bite you on the bum later.
Consider that as the new sales manager the boss has tasked you with getting that deal from the big corporate down the road, and your future depends on it?
You do the initial ground work and research, you call the big corporate very professionally and the receptionist is so taken with your great attitude, flattery and politeness – after all you want the deal – that she’s agreed to put you through when you ask to speak to the head of events or CMO, even though there’s a no name policy.
That same head of events or CMO, when they pick up their extension and you introduce yourself, remembers contacting you personally to send you an enquiry when they worked at ABC Ltd and you couldn’t even be bothered to respond to them.
Do you think you’ll get the deal? Now you may well do, eventually, but I’ll bet they’ll put you through your paces and make the process a damn site harder for you.
But “it doesn’t have to be like that” (I promise that’s the last 80s song reference).
Remember the next time that you receive an enquiry from a customer with a limited budget, or small numbers or an event that just isn’t right for you, it’s very simple, politely tell them so.
Respond so they don’t waste anymore time waiting for a response and can get on with finding someone who can help them.
You could even go one step further and point them in the right direction of a supplier or venue that may be able to accommodate their request. It takes 2 seconds, and they very well may remember you later down the line when they’re head of events at that big corporate you’re calling!
Food for thought?
Until next time #eventprofs…