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One of the best ways to get more business is to hold your own networking event, as Integrated Transportation Services of Los Angeles did on July 26 to showcase its new fleet of Cadillac XTS sedans. President Jonna Sabroff (center) hosted a wine and cheese reception and jewelry display at her office while guests could mingle and network after viewing the vehicles in the parking lot.
It’s summer and considered this industry’s “off season” for corporate work. Meeting planners love a party and what better way to gain access to the group business than to clink glasses in a social setting. Here’s a marketing idea to consider that will boost leads for you in the meetings and events industry.
Look around your market for any and all types of business that are also keen on the meetings/events planner market. For example, make a list of the best facilities around, the best caterers, the best talent agencies, the best sound/lighting/audio visual companies, party rental companies and more. Work with synergistic companies that complement your chauffeured transportation business and get everyone you can to “sponsor” a networking party. Since this is YOUR IDEA, then naturally the event should be “hosted” by your company and “sponsored” by all the others you lined up. Make this the bash to remember.
Gary Bauer at Bauers Intelligent Transportation in San Francisco does this with flair at his Concierge Ball. Your event can range from a gourmet slider BBQ, to a wine tasting social with guitarist at a winery, to a theme party with a twist, or a city dine-around. The sky is the limit.
Also, you and your sponsors should encourage your top accounts to come. This way, the room is sure to be filled, your customers will be delighted by the gesture and they will put in a good word for you to the meetings and events planners that do not know you well.
Here are a few more tips to ensure that your event is a success:
- Make the event unique.
- Friday nights work best.
- Allow spouses or guests.
- Must have great food.
- Should have a creative ice breaker.
- You should have gifts or prizes. (Find a sponsor that sells promotional items)
- Consider attendance builders like drawings.
- Get the word out — obtain lists of meeting planners, event planners, conference planners and DMCs by leaning on trade associations.
Don’t forget this is a lead generator and that your No. 1 goal is get new business. You will want to use this party to attract new customers. That means your mission is to get a good turnout and then work the room!
On the subject of networking for business at an event, I’ve made a list of do’s and don’ts. If you are shy, an action plan is critical. If you are the smoothest cat around, these basics are still good to file away: