Doesn’t it feel great to get a call or email from an unsolicited couple sent to you by a fellow planner who is unavailable? Not only does it mean potential business, but it’s also a nice show of confidence from an industry insider. Here’s how to make the most of it.
1. Be prompt
Answer the query as soon as you can. Not only does it show that you’re on top of your game, but it also puts your best foot forward right at the start of the relationship with this would-be client. Remember, they wanted your fellow planner/colleague, not you, so you do have something to prove, here.
2. Be selective
Be aware of any landmines in this prospective contract. Make sure you get all the details and look out for potential issues that another planner may have chosen to pass on.
But more importantly, you and your business have your own personality and style. It may not match your fellow planner’s and that’s who this potential client approached first. Listen carefully to what they want and be realistic about whether you can meet their particular expectations, or not. And it’s ok if the answer is “not”. Different doesn’t mean better or worse.
3. Be clear
Once you’ve assessed your business style versus the clients’ needs, just be honest with them, and explain exactly what they’re going to get. Yes, you would normally do that anyway, but when you get a referral from another planner, do it even more consciously. Make sure that they understand your services through your explanation, not only through that of your nice fellow planner, who probably had wonderful things to say about you. Disappointment happens when expectations don’t match reality.
4. Be professional
Advise your colleague right away that the potential client has gotten in touch.
Treat your referral with kit gloves. You definitely want the planner to be rewarded for her or his generosity, not disappointed by it. You want them to say: “Wow, I’m so glad that SoAndSo was professional with someone I referred them to. I can now trust them, and do it again.” Don’t forget that they are taking a chance on you, and staking their professional credibility on the treatment you’re going to give their contact.
Never, ever, in a million years, say anything that isn’t positive about your fellow planner. Even if the opportunity presents itself. Even if the client asks for your opinion. And, yes, even if you’re baited. Always opt for the positive twist. If you’re stuck, turn it towards what you know and control. For example, you can say: “I’m not sure how others do it, but this is what I do…” Do not fall into the trap of bad-talking others in your industry. Stay positive, because anything below neutrality makes you sound untrustworthy. Besides, you’re classier than that!
5. Be Grateful
Think of it: Out of all of the planners that this person could have thought of, they acted in your favour. That’s a real measure of trust between professionals and if you don’t say thank you, you don’t deserve that kind of trust. Why not send a thank you note to the planner, at the least? Maybe even a card or some chocolates. It doesn’t have to dig into your overhead, but gratitude is the saving grace of industry relations.
Remember: What’s good for me is good for the industry, and what’s good for the industry is good for me.
Happy December, and may 2016 find you with health, success and joy!
After serving Parliament and working in publishing, Dalal now takes on, at different capacities, full-scale event logistics projects such as:
- Internal corporate working events: Annual General Meetings, workshops, team-building activities, etc
- Corporate and social events (Ottawa Life Magazine, The Handmade Bride, Ottawa Fight and Fitness, Private clients)
- Wedding Coordination, Planning and Execution
- Logistics support for wedding vendors: Needs and feasibility assessments, analysis and risk assessment, creating inventory lists for each multi-wedding week, preparing briefing documents for performers, providing logistics advice, on-site assistance (setup, troubleshooting, takedown)
- Community Events (Lunch Beat Gatineau, Ottawa Lawyers Feed the Hungry, Canada’s Democracy Week 2013, and Canada’s Democracy Week 2014)