11 Ways to maximise your client entertaining

©Oneill Photographics
 
It's that time of year again when many of us are entertaining our clients or starting to think about our end of year hospitality. Client entertaining needs to be a part of every events business’s sales and marketing strategy – we are in the business of food, entertainment and parties after all! When you add it up – your time, the food, the tickets, the invitations, client entertaining can be a costly exercise. To make sure you get ROI on your client entertaining this event season, here are some simple tips to ensure you delight your clients and your boss! 

1. Set a budget

This should be set at the start of the financial year as part of your annual marketing budget and sales and marketing plan.

2. Develop a top clients report

A good sales person or business owner should be able to rattle off their top ten clients from memory. It may surprise you who is (and isn’t) spending money with you and reporting on top spenders should be a frequent exercise. Invite clients accordingly.

3. Book your restaurants or events early

Many fabulous Sydney and Melbourne restaurants offer set lunches over Christmas but these restaurants, function spaces and ticketed special events all sell out fairly quickly - book ahead!

4. Create a personalised, hand delivered invite

Make a fuss over your clients with some little extra touches.

5. Make it easy

Give your client clear instructions on how to get there and place a confirmation phone call the day prior to ensure they are clear on the details. Send cab vouchers / maps / anything to make their lives easier.

6. Break the ice

You may be entertaining people you have never met before or a large group of clients that may not know one another so it always helps to provide an ice breaker or two. For example; create a sweep stakes for your clients and ask them to all take a horse from the hat, then take your group to watch the race together.

7. Know your clients

Have a good review of your client's event history so you can be ahead of the game for any conversations that may arise on the day e.g. has there been any complaints that may pop up? Do they hold their Christmas party only every second year? Do you know any personal history such as their kids or husband’s name? Putting the time in to developing a strong CRM database always pays off and allows you to provide a highly personalised level of service. Check out your client's website for any company news that you can congratulate them on and show them your interest in their business.

8. Order the drinks

It is the norm for the host to order wines so brush up on your varieties! Ordering for your group will also mean that you can control your spend a bit better. 

9. Keep it classy

While it may be tempting to let your hair down during the busy season, client entertaining is not the place to blow off steam. A wine with lunch is perfectly acceptable (if you have permission) and remember to keep hydrated.

10. Leave them with a tangible

Organise a ‘take away’ for your client – a special gift to remind them of the event and of your brand for example a branded leather race book wallet for their day at the races or a gorgeous corsage created in your company colours.

11. Thank your client post event

A follow up phone call or a handwritten card are nice ways to thank your client for taking time out of their busy event season schedules. 

Conclusion

Client entertaining can create opportunities for your business by helping you strengthen relationships. Maximise your client entertaining by really getting to know your clients, spending time with each of them and noting your conversations and any action items in your CRM database when you return to your office.




Header image: © Oneill Photographics

Guest post by Lauren Lacava | Black & White Marketing

Lauren Lacava has over 18 years’ experience in sales, marketing and management and is the Fearless Leader of Black & White Marketing, a Melbourne-based consultancy and marketing agency that provides real advice and effective marketing solutions to help events businesses grow.