The single most important element of my work is one that will never be featured in the news, will never earn me some prestigious industry award and yet, it is more important to my existence and contributes to my 15 year business success and reputation more than anything else: it is the work that really matters: it is investing in humanity and relationships with everyone with whom I come into contact: clients, event partners and more. Even more than this, but quite simply, it is paying attention and being present.
These simple acts of paying attention over time is what I call “investment time”. You may not
see results from it monetarily (or otherwise) immediately (and honestly, monetary gain shouldn’t be your primary goal anyway), but they do spell out long-term business over time. I have developed a faithful and loyal devotion to my brand because of their allegiance to me and my “investment” in them. People “buy” people, not just a product or service.
To invest in people, one has to pay attention and genuinely love the process. Here are some of my secrets that are part of my core value system as an individual that spill over into my work style and brand:
1.The 3 C’s : Caring ,Commitment & Communication: Not only being on time, but being early for every commitment (appointments, planning sessions, actual events); My commitment is not just to the client, but to every event partner working the event, and I consider myself an Ambassador to all; Communication is love. 90% of an event’s success is determined by the communication that goes on before the event day is actually implemented.
2. Behind the Scenes: While much of what I do will never even be noticed by the client, I am working tirelessly doing literally hundreds of things for which I’m not technically contracted to do, but are the “right” thing to do. Example: my contract ends at midnight but the venue manager (a new employee) is paranoid about something that has nothing to do with my services but with which I can help in being a part of a solution for her? I stay and do it. That’s investment time and money in my reputation and building relationships. I am fiercely committed to integrity, one of the top items being that I never accept kick-backs from vendors for sending business their way. The best vendor for the client’s budget, event vision and personal style is referred based on that alone, not which vendor will give me the greatest perk or monetary kick back for referring them.
3. Honoring Other’s Work Styles: office hours, methods of communication (email vs. phone) vary for everyone, and triply so in the events industry, where our “weekends” are often Monday and Tuesday or something similar. While I personally prefer email and texting for most brief business communications, and often with long-distance clients and time differences, email is preferable for all, there are still some who prefer (and work better) with a phone call as the regular communication preference. If it’s not totally clear, I will ask them, “What is your preferred communication style preference?” If I know someone does not begin their workday until 11am, I will make sure that I don’t call them before that time.
4. Getting Personal: Personal touches (handwritten thank yous, birthdays, gifts that say I “get” them and not just that I “got” them a gift) stand out in this electronic age. As I develop the relationship, I take note of their loves, hates and what speaks to them and their spirit. If someone has a death in the family, is going through a life issue, I find an appropriate way to reach out to them in a way that would speak to them to help support and heal.
5. Fearless Generosity & Investing in the Events Community: I am not afraid to be a mentor and to be a go-giver. With the exception of my copyrighted materials and concepts, I am happy to share my journey and items I’ve found of use over the years to get me where I am today. I am not afraid of someone else “stealing” this helpful information because the reality is, no one could ever take it and become “me”, which is what makes my brand unique from all the others, just as the others have their own uniqueness that I could never duplicate. Assisting event partners with consulting on their own events and business whenever I can is a privilege and I’m always happy to invest my time in those who support me. It all comes back to me.
But all of these top “secrets” of mine above are not done with any hidden agenda. Rather, they are done because of who I am . The relationships that are built because of this are a wonderful side benefit and I cannot deny that yes, they have contributed to the longevity of my business in this community.