Your effort to keep open lines of communication is vital

One thing that I continue to learn over and over again is that communication is key to any successful relationship. I need to be able to talk to my staff or my client, they need to have the ability to talk to me and we all need to talk to each other.

I have been very mindful of the way that I communicate and how I am received to ensure that my message is clear. We hold monthly meetings with our core sales team to discuss pipelines, strategies, networking opportunities and opportunities to better serve our clients.

It’s important to keep the rest of the staff in the loop, however, as the lack of communication can also send a message. So we have quarterly meetings as a group, which provide a great opportunity to push team-building activities and system training and keep everyone engaged with our mission.

When you take the time to make expectations clear to the team, it creates a higher level of understanding that translates to the customer through great service and a can-do attitude from the staff.

The following is a simple, yet effective approach to ensure your message is received:

■  Tell them what you’re going to tell them.
■  Tell them.
■  Tell them what you told them.

Communicating with a prospective client requires similar principles, but a slightly different approach. I often reference our website, which has information on what we do, how we do it and what we expect of the client in order to achieve a positive end result. Websites can be a useful tool to ensure information that might have been missed in live conversation still gets conveyed.

When a prospective client comes in for an appointment, we learn about them and the expectations they have for their event. The dialogue continues as we provide more information about our services, how we operate and what they can expect of us. Once they decide to move forward, it’s important to review all the details to ensure everyone is on the same page.

At that point, executing to the contract becomes a simple process where you do what you said you would do and when possible, do a little more. Doing a little more can be something as simple as sending a birthday card to let the customer know that they are special and not just another number in the pipeline.

Then it comes back to your team as you make the effort to show your appreciation for their hard work. I have annual coaching sessions with team members to make sure that I’m engaged with their goals and objectives. If there is something that a team member is trying to accomplish, I want to help them.

It’s all truly a work in process and I definitely do not have it all figured out.

But what I have realized is that happy customers send more customers and happy team members find more customers. Good luck!

Covesa K. Gragg is owner of Covesa Kelly Events