We are all fighting harder for customers than ever before. Our competition is intense and our clients expect more value and greater results. It is more important than ever to ensure you and your business have strong relationships with your clients and customers. Every interaction with them must be strategic and deliberate.
I wanted to share some of my thoughts on some trends I have seen over the past 15 years (and more so recently) on why many companies end up wasting money invested in client activities such as client engagement or entertainment, incentives, rewards and more. My five reasons are below:
1. Buying tickets to an event first and then trying to fill it with clients
I see this on a daily basis where businesses make the investment to entertain clients, reward staff and incentivise to help deliver growing revenues and better relationships. It seems like a good idea to buy a corporate box at the footy, a big marquee at the races or the many other major sporting events we are lucky to have in Australia. Bigger is better! Not any more....
Many key investment decisions (i.e. what to do / buy) are made first before doing anything else. I often hear "The MD loves AFL so we are going to do that" or "most people like the races". Once that decision is made (and often large sums of money invested) it is now your job to fill it with clients that make a difference to your business or your investment goes to waste.
The same problem occurs - the invitations go out and many are politely declined. Many are accepted, but some still handed to other people to go in their place (which defeats the purpose of the invitation to start with). The intention was great, but in the end, it wasn't as impactful as it should or could have been.
I am often hearing that companies are not getting the right people at the right events, or they are simply not connecting well enough with their clients or customers. As a business investing in its client relationships, it is critical to get the right clients and the right people attending your events. Without this happening, you are wasting your valuable time and money.
2. Not knowing what your clients actually like
It is amazing how many businesses do not know who their clients actually are - who are the decision makers or influencers? What do they like? Do they have kids? What is their passion? What type of personality are they? These seem like simple questions, however not enough thought, process and structure goes into these considerations.
Today's world is a 1-on-1 game, you must reach your client or customer on a personal level to reach maximum engagement and connect them with you and your business. A one size fits all model does not work and to compound this, if you do not have strong relationships and understand your customer, your point of difference then becomes price and service only. You need to have all three of these in your favour.
Companies that do this well treat their customers carefully and with consideration on every level.
When client entertainment and events are viewed as an "expense" only, your business is in trouble. It is often the tug of war between sales teams and finance teams: how can investing in clients be justified?
It is quite simple. Ensure a system and process that clearly outlines your objectives with your current and prospective clients and measurement of ROI. Our 4-step system provides the basis of this, however many businesses simply acquire inventory and invite clients with only a "feel good" meter to go by. In today's world this is not acceptable.
Some ROI's cannot be measured for years in the future and that's ok - just ensure your system allows you to monitor and measure.
4. Doing the same thing each year
Surprisingly I have come across a lot of companies that stick with the same client entertainment program each year, while having zero awareness of what their clients feel about this. Not only is this lazy, it also means you are treating all of your clients the same.
If this is you or your business please remember this - people today are time poor, value their spare time away from work and want exciting and memorable experiences that mean something to them. Do not treat them like a number and do what is easiest or most convenient for you and your business.
It might not sound like it, but it's a guaranteed way to distance yourself from your important clients which could have negative future impact.
5. The all staff email goes out, we have empty seats and need to use them!
First in best dressed! Free tickets!...
If your company does this, it is without a doubt whatever you have bought is not working (see reason 1 above).... Sometimes this is a really nice gesture, but again, a "get in first message" does not value your staff. I understand these need to be utilised, but it's not what they are purchased for 99% of the time.
In summary, you need to be understanding your client base before anything else - this dictates what activities you should be undertaking to develop better business relationships and align this with your objectives.
Does any of this happen at your company?
TIXSTAR has a 4-step process that maximises your investment in client based activities - focusing on understanding your customers, driving revenue through relationships, delivering efficiencies and savings and measuring ROI for better future decisions.
There are some amazing experiences out there in 2018 for you to engage your clients and build stronger, more profitable relationships for you and your business.
TIXSTAR is the destination for premium sports + entertainment experiences, working with over 150 rights holders and authorised providers. We help deliver experiences for any occasion to corporates for client entertainment and engagement, incentives, rewards, loyalty and staff or client gifting. Our team is experienced in how to maximise client and business relationships and ensuring experiences and events become a key part of sales and marketing activities.
Jordan Leask is Co-Founder & CEO of TIXSTAR and has worked in senior commercial roles for a number of rights holders in the past 15 years including Essendon Football Club & Etihad Stadium amongst others.