Archive for May, 2011

14 Important Traits Clients Look For in Meeting Planners

May 24th, 2011

In all relationships TCBR003593RUST is the most important element to having and maintaining open communication.  So many companies out there can be vendors, suppliers and meeting professionals, but to become a trusted advisor to your clients is an invaluable and immeasurable level of achievement. Once attained, this will be one of the most important attribute to carry. Beyond knowing, liking and trusting there are other traits that are critical in an independent meeting planner relationship. See if any of these are on your list and if there are any I have missed:

  • Planners are most valuable when they help clients identify specific meeting goals and then recommend strategies and tactics to achieve them. Clients appreciate meeting planners that have the ability to think and act strategically.
  • Meeting planners must handle the pressure with a smile and manage contingency plans seamlessly.
  • Great meeting planners must have the ability to create and manage the budget. This relates to both revenue and expense lines.
  • Organization is a critical trait for meeting planners. As the liaison between the venue and the client it makes all the difference in the success when the planner can make swift decisions and keep it all together.
  • Cost driven creativity is invaluable and can more than pay for the relationship! Knowing where to go to for the best values in all components of your meeting and utilizing their long-term relationships saves time, money and stress while adding a lot of extra sizzle. 
  • Excellent meeting planners understand the client’s vision and deliver with an extra “wow” factor.
  •  Look for an upbeat person who does not “lose it” under pressure. When it is show time you need to be watching all angles.
  • Find a planner who is able to make decisions on the fly and is a good negotiator.
  • Check to be sure your planner is easily reached by phone and email.
  • An excellent meeting planner is able to execute flawlessly details of a plan with very broad direction. Good judgment on when to bother the client with changes to the event, and when to just execute.
  •  Planners must be on time, on target and on budget ready to execute Plan A, B and if necessary Plan C.  
  • Integrity and the ability to present clients with various options highlighting cost-effective solutions without compromising quality/results.
  • Transparency in pricing the contracted services is vital. Planners may be paid commission, some do mark ups, some work on flat fees, some charge by the hour, week or project and any combination of these.
It is not critical that this trusted adviser be an employee of your organization. They tend to thrive on the excitement of variety so you don’t pay them when you don’t need them. Typically cost is offset through savings of time, stress and just knowing when and what is negotiable. They are seasoned in the questions to ask that are not spelled out, which can save grief if surprises get in the way. Can you think of other traits you would need in this relationship?