Tips for Independent Meetings Planners to Grow Their Business
Eric Rozenberg is an acquisition entrepreneur, speaker, podcaster, two-time Amazon bestselling author and consultant for ALHI’s Strategic Consulting Services. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies and produced award-winning sales meetings, incentive trips, product launches and conferences in more than 50 countries across diverse industries. His podcast, The Business of Meetings, is the first in the meeting and event industry dedicated to business owners. His first book, Meeting at C-Level, was written to address the “why” of a meeting. His second book, Before It’s Too Late, A Love Letter to My Daughters and America, is a story of grit, perseverance and courage, and describes why and how he and his wife brought their daughters to America. He is a member of the Entrepreneurs Organization and the Strategic Forum, and is on the board of trustees of the Demoucelle Parkinson Foundation in Belgium. He also was the first European to serve as chair of the International Board of Directors for Meeting Professionals International.
Eric Rozenberg, Acquisition Entrepreneur & ALHI Consultant
Before anything else, you, the independent meeting planner, are a business owner and as such, there are various interconnected parts you need to focus on—strategy, sales, marketing, financials, team management and recruiting, mental health, action plans, and accountability to name a few. As you have six months left in 2023, the most critical point of emphasis that will have the greatest impact on your long-term success is building an effective pipeline.
The First Step
First and foremost, make a list of all the people you have interacted with in the last five years—examples include current and past customers, vendors, former colleagues at previous organizations and people with whom you have volunteered such as PTO, religious organizations, sports clubs, etc.
Choose a CRM (customer relationship management tool) that works for you, and if you don’t have one yet, start with an Excel/Google sheet. Write down every interaction you will have with your list.
Know What to Say
Prepare your script, practice it, deliver it and continuously improve it. Start by reaching out to your list and remember that “done is better than perfect,” so start.
Try to find the common link between you and them. It has never been so easy to learn some insights on your customers and prospects. From LinkedIn to all the social media platforms, there is a lot you can learn about anyone.
Play the long-term game: as much as you want to get more business as soon as possible, you would never ring my doorbell, enter my living room and start talking to me uninvited. So why would you do it on LinkedIn? I too often see a newly accepted connection trying to shove their sales pitch down my throat with a Calendly link to book a time with them so that “we can explore ways to partner with each other and learn about our respective businesses.”
Instead, thank your prospect for accepting the connection, research everything you can find online about them, learn about their company, send them an article that you believe could help them in their business (yes, send it by snail mail with a written word), comment on their post, look at the common point to engage with them and, above all, don’t talk about you, but show them that it is all about them.
Last, but certainly not least, block a minimum of an hour per day in your calendar to increase and nurture your pipeline. Be systematic about it. No excuse. You can easily reach out to four people per day, that’s 20 people per week, that’s 80 people per month.
If you start today, you can reach about 500 people before the end of 2023 and my guess is that your business will be positively transformed.