Bringing Client Expectations Back Down to Earth
Social media is one of the most convenient sources of inspiration for clients, but also one of the biggest downfalls in terms of client expectations. Many clients will bring photos from styled shoots to event planners and professionals and insist on recreating the look at an economy cost.
They don’t realize that a complete, highly skilled team with resources assembled the design, often from the highest quality available products and services. Styled shoots often look like “DIY” performances, but they are hardly that. The cost and effort may be reasonable for one table, but not for 200 guests.
What can you do if you detect your clients have unreasonable expectations?
If your event clients present you with unreasonable client expectations, be honest from the start. Discuss the budget requirements as well as the logistics and processes required to build their dream event. Should the challenges appear insurmountable, consider offering more reasonable alternatives.
Under-Promise and Over-Deliver
Many planners will say yes to anything a client asks for, only to find out later that what they promised can’t be done for the price quoted or in the time allowed. Before you say yes to a new request, tell your client that you will look into options and get back to them. Then follow-up with your industry contacts to find out the real scoop. You will save yourself embarrassment and criticism if you come prepared with accurate answers.
Protect Your Reputation
Clients may blame their vendors if they can’t contract the products and services they want, and they can become irritated if you won’t back down. While it can be difficult, you need to educate your clients about how special event professionals work. Be sure to inform them how hard planners and vendors work to make dream events become reality.
Keep communication open and clear while ensuring that you have documented any situations where you tried to warn your clients that something couldn’t happen. In the unfortunate case where they are disappointed on the event day, you will be able to produce documentation to counter their concerns.
We live in an era where it is easy to find inspiration for what we want to do, but not always practical to emulate everything we see. Take the steps you need to keep client expectations reasonable and you will help them be more realistic and satisfied overall.
Kim Sayatovic is the Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Belladeux Event Design, a full service wedding and event design firm based in New Orleans, Louisiana.
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