Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Face To Face Meetings Why So Important

It's not shocking why it's so important to have those face to face meetings.  Time investment.  Money investment.  Marketing investment. Advertising investment. Staff investment. 

While so much of the wedding & event business is conducted over the telephone and internet, it is widely understood that in being part of a wedding-the bride wants that one-on-one relationship, so that you can help create the 'wedding of her dreams.'  In planning an event-a client wants the connection of 'preferred vendors,' so that the event will stand out to all as 'the party of the century.'  We also believe that 'face-to face' meetings are essential with top vendors-in a networking event-- with whom you want to work with.   Face-to-face meetings are essential for long-term 'business relationships.'

Research has found that 40% of sales prospects are converted to new customers when you meet face-to-face in a 'visit.'  This is more than just an introduction, or the exchange of business cards, or a promise that you’ll get in touch with each other after you meet on the phone, internet contact or at an event.   It can be said that in networking and meeting with a 'possible partner,' will help you with your business growth and potential as well.

At an event, such as the national Bridal Business Academy -meaningful meetings that take place during the 'Champagne Soriee,' in the evening, can guarantee  engagement and satisfaction between the wedding & event planners and those in the industry who want to connect with them.    

A great way to help create valuable connection at this event is by bringing pre-scheduled meetings into the mix.  (We encourage you to do this with brides that attend an event as well! In our 'Bridal Expo at the Disneyland Hotel,' we used to give out 'pre-event lists of those who were going to attending,' so that the vendors could start 'marketing and creating 'visits' with those attendees, prior to the Expo.)

Here are the some DOs and DON'Ts of these face-to-face visits when you are 'Networking' with others professionals in the industry:

1. DO have a specific goal.
Always have a goal like: "obtain specific information about the other person" rather than something vague like "build a better relationship."

2. DO have a written agenda.
Create a one-page agenda showing three to five items or questions you'd like to discuss.  An agenda puts others at ease because it sets a natural time limit on the visit.

3. DON'T be showy.
You want to showcase 'your expertise,' so that you can understand how you can work together to create the dream wedding or event, but don't go over the top.

4. DO check your appearance first.
You need to look the part of being an expert in your field.  However, if you are a 'easy-going' disc jokey--tennis shoes and a Hawaiian-styled shirt may work.

5. DON'T arrive late.
Arriving late tells others that you don't care about what they bring to the table.  Always arrive at least 15 minutes ahead of time.

6. DON'T be too business-like.
While a little pre-visit chit-chat is socially necessary, try to be the one who brings the conversation back to business, so that you can 'get things done.'

7. DON'T be too friendly.
Rather than pretending to be a long-lost friend, be authentic about who you are and approach your new 'partner' with a sense of curiosity, to make sure that you can work together.

8. DON'T talk too much.
Initial 'get to know you visits,' are all about relationship building and gathering information, which you can't do if your mouth is moving.

9. DON'T listen too much.
If you don't add at least something of value to the conversation, your new contact will think you don't have anything to bring to the table.
10. DON'T argue with each other.
If your new 'contact,'  doesn't agree with an important point that you believe in, arguing will only set that opinion in concrete. Instead, ask him/her why they hold that opinion; then listen.
11. DON'T discuss politics.
If your new contact insists upon talking about politics, segue the discussion by asking: "In what ways do you see the current situation affecting your business?"

12. DO have business acumen.
When you meet, they expect you to understand their business model, their customers and how both fit into the event & wedding industry. Do your research before the meeting.

13. DO remember customer names.
What could be more embarrassing than actually forgetting whom you're talking with? Write down the names of everyone in the room with a small table diagram.

14. DON'T be unprofessional.
Anything you say or do that's even vaguely unprofessional will be common knowledge throughout the organization within two hours.

15. DON'T be rude to anybody.
A friend gave a dirty look to a guy who was smoking in the lobby bathroom of a huge office building. He then went to a client meeting. Guess who the client was.

16. DO turn off your phone.
How could ANY call or text be more important than a real live person you are meeting with? Turn your phone off or put it on vibrate and stick it in your briefcase.

17. DON'T let the meeting meander.
If you let the conversation wander, you're showing them that you don't have the focus necessary to get the job done plus you want to make sure they have the focus needed.

18. DON'T overstay your welcome.
Remember, you have hundreds of other things that you (or they) could be doing, so set a time limit for the visit.

19. DON'T fail to follow-up.
Keep notes of the commitments you made and schedule the follow-ups in your calendar immediately after the visit.

There are so many things you can do with a 'new partner,' from 'co-marketing' to 'co-branding,' so as a wedding & event professional, we encourage you to think outside the box. For more information on locations of the BridalBusinessAcademy.com click on the name or call 805-852-5384