Event planning tips: Pitching to a client without breaking into a cold sweat

Before any event can come to fruition, you need to be able to present yourself and your company to clients in a persuasive, professional manner. This is easier said than done.

Pitching to a client is nerve wracking – regardless of your event planning experience. After all, the stakes are high when it comes to corporate events and it’s up to you to make sure that these are in your favour. It’s no secret that, to make it as a successful event planner, you need to be confident in your abilities and have the confidence to demonstrate this to potential clients. Before you break out the Rescue Remedy, read through our top seven tips for pitching to a client, without the nerves.

Do your homework

If you’re not familiar with your client then there’s little chance that you’ll be able to convince them of your expertise. Just as you would prepare for a job interview, do your research. Familiarise yourself with the client in question, and equip yourself with the necessary information. Not only does this make it that much easier to plan a presentation that’s in line with their company ethos and identity but being aware of what to expect goes a long way in instilling confidence in your own abilities.

First impressions last

Before you’ve even opened your mouth, you’re making an impression. Make sure it’s a professional one. No matter how talented or experienced you are, the way you present yourself plays a huge part in the client’s decision to hire you. An event planner who’s meticulously groomed and well-dressed is far more likely to get the job than one who’s sloppily put together.

Always stick to the brief

Clients compile a brief for a reason. No matter how creative or exciting your diversion from a brief may be, your client wants to know two things: if you’re able to do what’s required, and your plan for going about the task.

While thinking laterally is a must as an event planner, when presenting to clients make sure that your presentation is matched to the brief. As excited as you may be by a sudden brainwave you have while presenting, resist the temptation to veer off track, keeping your pitch short, sharp and to the point.

Use a ‘pyramid’ shaped pitch

The best pitches are composed of layers – a beginning, a middle, and an end. Each stage is just as important as the next, and when seamlessly weaved together they form a convincing case.

Think of the start of your pitch as laying the foundation of what’s to come – this is where you can talk about your credentials and experience in the industry. The middle part of the presentation forms the ‘meat and potatoes’ of a pitch. This is where you talk about the actual brief, and the ways in which you’d go about planning and managing the event in question.

Once you’ve demonstrated your proposed plans, it’s vital that you end off with a (brief) recap of your presentation. This plays the important role of reinforcing what you’ve just said, and helps the client to fully grasp your presentation.

Just as crucial to the layout of your pitch, is the language you use. By talking in terms of ‘we’, instead of ‘you’ and ‘I’, you’re placing your client as part of your team. Speaking as a cooperative goes a long way in solidifying your position as an event planner who views teamwork as a crucial part of the event process.

Cover your bases

Always arrive early – it’s far better to have to wait for the client than have them wait for you. This will ensure that you have adequate time to set up your presentation, familiarise yourself with the equipment and make sure that your projector or laptop is working. In addition, always have your presentation on a memory stick as a back-up. As prepared as you may be, technical glitches can and will happen.

Practice makes perfect

As we emphasised earlier, being prepared can make or break the pitch. Rehearse your presentation before hand – practice the pronunciation of your client’s name and prepare answers to any questions they might have to avoid being put on the spot. Clients can easily pick up on someone who’s trying to ‘wing it’ – the aim is to get to the point where you don’t even have to look at the screen. This also allows you to make eye contact with your clients, turning your presentation into an interactive, personal pitch instead of a stilted lecture.

Don’t hog the limelight

As in life, an event planner can’t be all things to all people. Instead, position yourself within a team of capable people. Not only does this make you look more credible to the client, it also enforces your ability to deliver. Your team may consist of a creative director, a technical expert, a health and safety officer, etc – depending on the event in question.

If you’d like to ensure that you’re able to offer clients the most professional service, find out about our RSVP and event planning software here.

Image Credit: Pinoria

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