Conceptualicious!  by SHARE TODAY

Do you believe that maxi magic can be found in mini details? That lively storytelling can transform a slightly dull location into a must-see destination? Read on to find tips and tricks that have helped me make the sale, delight my clients and win the game.

Q: But sharing your carefully-designed, one-of-a-kind event secrets with other industry pros – isn’t that like giving your baby away?

A: We believe sharing is the new business mantra. Our industry is changing fast and sharing best cases with global colleagues is an emerging win-win trend. So, that’s where I’ll start today – sharing some personal bests with you.

A Little Imagination

Put yourself in a presentation setting – let’s say a regular office in a corporate highrise. Your concept is well-designed, your pitch well-rehearsed. Now it’s showtime! You step to the front of the room and your enthusiasm starts to flow. After just a few minutes, the magic moment comes: a whispered “ahaa” or “wow” from your client. The contract will be yours. What are the keys to this kind of success? I offer you five suggestions to keep your clients saying “Yes!”

1.  Put yourself in the client’s shoes. Know what communication style fits them best.

The case: Destination Prague, a 2-day celebration of my client’s 5-year jubilee for over 4000 guests.

Sales audience: Board of Directors

Challenge: Only one day to present our concept and the pitch had to be made during a 10-hour sightseeing visit.

Background:  Knowing that CEO types usually scan documents instead of reading them, we creating a custom stripbook featuring black and white drawings with highlights in red, the company color. No words at all!

Results: They visualized the program instantly and we had the contract.

 2.   Assess your client’s priorities: is buying power most important? 

When Cash is King, you know what to do: wheel and deal to get the job done.

3.   Never hesitate to present an out-of-the-box idea.

My client was a dynamic young managing director of a temp agency run by women. He looked interested when we presented our Valencia, Athens and Rome destinations but triggered my imagination when he said: “But what if we want the real X-factor?” The creative moment was there. I love Marrakech and knew it could fill the bill. My Morocco contacts at the time were superb, so I invented a fairy tale event on the spot: set-up a tent camp for his 450 all-woman team – a magical party under the stars just outside the walled city of Marrakech in the Palmeraie. The idea brought stars to his eyes! (Whole story? Click here)

4.   Use your business and personal networks wherever possible.

The client was about to reach an impossible goal and wanted an event that symbolized achieving the American Dream. A colleague had recently heard Chip Conley, nicknamed “California’s Wonderboy” for his wildly succesful chain of hotels and restaurants, give a keynote.  We asked our colleague to provide an introduction, and invited Chip to play a role in our concept. He agreed: wrote a personal letter of invitation, personally welcomed the group to his newly-opened Hotel Vitale in San Francisco, and shared his own American Dream success story.

5.    You only make a first impression once, make it count!

Never forget that we sell dreams. When presenting your Wonderland concept, don’t use a word document – not enough pixie dust! Inspire your client with a moodboard filled with glamorous images or a custom mini-magazine showcasing your big idea.