Have you worked over forty hours/week at least once this month? Have you looked at or responded to emails on vacation and/or personal time? Do you ever lay awake at night running through your infinite to do list?
If you answered yes to any one of these questions, then you, like the majority of Americans, are likely overworked. I can’t think of a conversation in which a business associate or colleague described their workload as “just the right amount” or “enough time to catch a Netflix episode at my desk”. In the trade show industry in particular, the ebb and flow of our workload is directly affected by our event calendar.
Often times, our focus on clients who have an event not so near in the future takes a backseat to upcoming shows that require immediate attention. Starting the planning process on-time is crucial to ensuring an efficient, profitable event and a satisfied client. So what happens when you feel swamped and can’t find time to dedicate to these clients? There are several appropriate solutions, but telling a client you are so busy producing another event, is not one of them.
- It insinuates that your client is not of equal importance to you or your company as the current event at hand.
- It raises the question of whether or not your company is sufficiently staffed to handle the number of accounts per year they hold.
- It creates an uncertainty of what the future holds for continued business partnership together.
- It suggests a lack of commitment to your client and their event.
How to remedy the problem:
The best way to avoid this situation is to practice the artful skill of client management. Training your clients to adhere to your internal planning deadlines is imperative to collecting the information you need in a timely manner, which in turn allows you to efficiently manage the unexpected. Work with your client to compile a checklist inclusive of your important dates/times that must be met and their internal event deadlines. There will always be the last minute scramble with new information or the nature of the beast that is back to back events; learn to decipher when you can manage the process yourself and when it’s best to enlist the help of a colleague or assistant to begin answering questions and pressing forward on the planning process. You are amazing, and no one can replace you, but do your clients a service and pair them with the best possible (and temporary) replacement contact until things slow down. Trust me, they’ll thank you, and you’ll both be winners.