Have you ever answered an RFP with the question “Does your meeting really need to be face-to-face?” Likely not and I don’t suggest you start unless you have a virtual meeting solution. However, the meeting planners on my team very rarely get asked from our supplier partners “What is the purpose of your event?” Don’t forget to ask your clients and prospects Why before replying to that RFP.
Far too often a planner will call a venue and the conversation goes straight into the mechanics or details of the meeting: dates, rooms & rates. As a result of this recession, all planners are expected to deliver a return on investment (ROI) on their events – you can bank on this. The definition of ROI could be any combination of qualitative and quantitative metrics; profit, revenue, exposure, impressions, learning/education, etc.
If you want to be a true partner in the event, you should understand Why the event is happening and what its objectives are. Why should you care? After all, you may book the business regardless and it’s not in your job description. But by understanding the event’s strategic objectives you can help the meeting planner manage and plan the event to ensure success. You may discover a new need and be able to up-sell them on additional services. A planner will never know your products and services as well as you do, nor will she understand what partnerships and depth of resources you have to contribute.
Let’s be honest, even though meeting planners are expected to deliver ROI they may not be able to articulate what it is. You may ask a planner “how would you define success for this event? and the answer might be: ‘the soup is hot, everything runs on time’or ‘it doesn’t rain.’ These are not definitions of success; they are expectations of a professional event. Take this as an opportunity to become a strategic partner and create a real definition of success.
The result? Your extra effort will make the planner look good to their organization, deepen your relationship with them, ensure that the event is successful, and exponentially increase your renewal metrics.
Try it for 30 days, what have you got to lose?