Events can be a valuable way of winning business and keeping business. Your event can become a way of fixing your company image in the mind of your customers. By attending your event your customers develop a bond with your company that goes beyond an individual deal. Your event should be part of the process of establishing a long term relationship with your customers.
1. The invitations are vital. They must be sent out in plenty of time so that your prospective virtual roundtables guests can arrange their diaries. This means that your planning must be done well in advance of the event so that you can specify what kind of event your guests are being invited to attend.
2. Make sure you have listed everyone who is relevant. Perhaps there are customers with whom you have not done business recently an invitation may remind them of your company. Any one who has done business with your company and is left off the list will quite rightly feel offended. People working in a similar area of business tend to talk to one another and you cannot afford to have negative things being said about your company.
3. Where possible send an invitation to a named individual. That will make them feel special and show that you have knowledge of their company and its needs. If you don’t actually know someone check them out on the company website. If the person you used to know has since left then the company website should tell you who has replaced them.
Always extend the invitation to partners. The neutral term is vital these days and will not cause offense. Having partners around always widens the conversation and is useful at business events because common bonds can be found in non-business related activities.
4. Make sure the theme of the event is relevant to your customers. There are some general themes that are relevant to everyone. A party is after all a party. But some themes have more impact in particular industries.
If there is some new government legislation then a seminar addressed by experts and followed by dinner may be a good way of bringing the guests along to the event. Your guests will feel that the event meets a definite need they have to understand the new legislation that affects their industry or line of business.
A day themed on the subject of environmental questions as they relate to your industry may appeal to your customers. This is an increasingly important area. You could begin with breakfast, followed by morning seminars, then lunch and more seminars before dinner.
The social aspect of such events will give your guests opportunity to ask informal questions and build up useful connections. They may meet just the person to handle their recycling issues.
5. Chose an attractive venue for the event. A local hotel may be fine but something more interesting may attract more people. Perhaps a zoo or ancient property would be an added attraction. These business events must be something to talk about if they are to generate interest. A seminar and meal in a chain hotel is simply not different enough to be different. There are so many business events organized in this way that your’s may look like a clone of all the others.
6. Make your events different from others. They must stand out from the competition. Look at what other companies are doing. Their websites will tell you what events they are organizing. If something catches your eye then see if you can reproduce it with a few changes that reflect your company.