I Love Client Meetings and Here's Why
I just love client meetings.
I love getting to meet people for the first time and getting to know them, their story, their hopes for their event.
I love to understand the dynamic of the family, the couple, the company, the event planner and what they're all about.
Yesterday my amazing MC Brian and I met with a prospective client for a Bat Mitzvah. Upon first introductions the child was incredibly shy, almost to the point of being unable to speak. Mom was also being very reserved.
I'd say that's not the norm for us, but this client found her way to us accidentally. She called for the photo booth, and thought one of her friends had referred her. But after speaking on the phone about who we are and what we were about, i.e. not just interested in producing a great event, interested in unifying everyone into a true 10 day of their lives, the client wanted to set a meeting.
Brian and I had a 30 minute ride to the meeting site, and I was descibing to him the way I go about meeting with clients, some of the ways I've found that really help to get us on the same page. Brian listened very intently.
After looking over the venue we sat in the lobby and began to chat. I asked the daughter Emma (name changed), what would make this the most spectacular party ever for you? She barely was able to breathe, let alone speak, so mom chimed in...."she more into games than dancing". After a few more minutes of conversation that I felt really didn't bring us together, I excused myself and let Brian take over.
I went out to my car and brought in 2 of the Ultimate Games Master games I happen to have with me and returned. They were a little more involved in the conversation but still no headway though the walls of the family.
So I asked Emma if she'd like to try out one of our Ultimate Games Masters games thinking since she loves games and would prefer these to dancing that she'd jump at the chance. She didn't. She froze in her chair. With gentle coaxing we were finally able to get her up and Brian showed her the 7 Level Ninja Warrior Drop Stick game from the UGM collection.
He was very kind and descriptive with her but didn't engage her the way we would if were at a party. So after he showed her what she had to do, and she tried it once, and I noticed she still wasn't engaged, I said, "Okay now (to mom) let me show you how we'd do this at a party..." And I began to engage with Hannah in a fun, humorous, bantering way, and she began to smile, and laugh, she barely went after the stick the first few times, and I said ah, you expect the stick to reverse gravity and leap back into your hand" in which she started laughing harder.
I looked over and mom was smiling. The frozen expression on her face was gone and in it's place was a look of enjoyment and warmth. We had made a connection.
After this we showed them one more of our games, but the whole rest of the meeting went quite differently from here. Hannah opened up and started telling us about her twin brothers dancing at another party, how she doesn't understand entrances where the Bat Mitzvah Girl walks over to the edge of the wall then comes back in with the dancers..."what is that?"
We got to see just how perceptive and intelligent she was, and she became alive for us, as did mom. By the end of the meeting we had surely connected to this half of the family.
Brian afterward was really amazed. He said every single thing you were just telling me on the ride over was illustrated perfectly right there. I can see now exactly what you were saying.
I thought how wonderful that hour and a half was. The challenge was definite. The solution was risky, but the reward was incredible. The opportunity to change what was clearly not in anyone's interest to a mutually beneficial space. The creation of mutual interest and alliance...
At a special event like a Bat Mitzvah or a wedding, or a corporate event, that's often the same sequence of events that takes place.
How often are you in meetings where its by rote? Where you sense people don't really want to be there or are uncomfortable, and they just play out that way until there done?
Or does someone strong arm the situarion and command, or use fear, or pressure to attempt to get everyone to the same place?
There is always a key to unlock the door of apathy, disinterest, stress and fear, and we've discovered it usually cannot be done by words alone, or by sales pitch alone. It takes listening, caring and the desire to really risk engaging with another person in order to connect in a significant way.
And if you think about it, the risk to connect in a meaningful way far exceeds not doing so. You either stay where you were and chalk it up to not meant to be, or you make a difference in someone's life.
In this case not only did we make a connection and difference in the client and her child, it also made an indelible impression on my MC Brian, and truth be told, I left feeling elated because I considered the possibility of not being able to get through, seeing the obstacle was as significant as it was playing out to be.
Even at the end when we were leaving Emma receded once a bit when saying goodbye...her shyness once again slingshotted her back to her comfort zone. But mom had changed. She was open and warm, and we could definitely feel a vibe of friendliness.
There have been times when we've been hugged at client meetings upon making our way out because of the earnestness and fun of the connection we made.
We don't know if we'll get this job, we'll keep you posted, but it was just wonderful to have that experience. The great thing to leave on is If we can create that kind of comfortability and tranformation in her child at an initial meeting I have to believe the client is imagining what we could do at an actual event where that's exactly what we do.
Remember you are Extraordinary,
Michael Sage Schindler